On Saturday the University of Miami football team held their annual Canes Fest for fans to meet and greet their usually helmeted heroes up close and personal without their standard head gear on.
This year the event was held at the beautifully designed and air conditioned BankUnited Center which is just down the street from the Hecht Athletic Center on the lovely UM campus in Coral Gables.
The only problem with the 2012 CanesFest is that it may have been the worst event of it's type ever held. The event was advertised by UM as being from 4-7 PM. However when we arrived promptly at 4 PM there were already several hundred people in the line for player autographs.
What was even more surprising for the die-hard fans waiting in line is that there were no players made available until after 5 PM.
Now I am as big a fan as any Miami Hurricane supporter Including our friend "CaneFreak" that we meet at all of these events. But even if you were the first person to arrive at the event and had managed to be at the front of the line you were obligated to wait in line for at least an hour doing nothing.
If you had the unlucky misfortune of arriving when the event was actually scheduled to start then you had a two hour wait in front of you before you met your first player. That is completely ridiculous and totally unacceptable.
I took one look at the line when I walked into the BUC and quickly decided it was not for me as I had a three hour drive back to the Orlando area ahead of me after leaving the event at 6 PM.
So I wandered about and decided to meet some of the coaches and media types that were wandering around the cavernous basketball stadium.
And I was really glad that I did.
I met and talked extensively to UM Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch who was there with his family having a great time enjoying many of the activities for young children. Coach Fisch is an approachable, intelligent and easy going guy who took time to answer a few of my questions.
Canespace: So among the freshman WR group who is likely to red-shirt?
Fisch: "Well actually we don't spend a lot of time thinking about that. That's the sort of thing that takes care of itself. If the players demonstrate that they are ready to play they will play. And if they aren't ready then they will red-shirt. We don't make decisions ahead of time on who will or will not play or red-shirt, the players really decide that themselves. It is based on their knowledge of the playbook and their performance in practice and the scrimmages."
Canespace: Can you tell me about one Freshman WR that is "likely" to play?
Fisch: "Malcolm Lewis is probably one of them that is going to play."
I also had the opportunity to talk to UM Tight Ends Coach and National Recruiting Coordinator Brennan Carroll. Coach Carroll is your typical young, out-going and fun-loving dude who really enjoys meeting people in the crowd.
He spent his time telling me in detail me about every member of the 2013 recruiting class at UM that is now, between verbals and silents, almost full. As he went down the list of all of the players who are committed to UM for next year I couldn't believe my ears about the talent headed to Coral Gables.
Just kidding! Of course he cannot even begin to comment on any players who may or may not want to be Hurricanes. But our real conversation went a little something like this:
Canespace: Hey coach what's up?
Carroll: "Just glad you are all here."
Canespace: Love your tweets on new recruits that say: "Welcome to The U!"
Carroll: "What's your Twitter account?"
Carroll: "I'll hook U up with an #FF @86Cane!"
I also had a chance to meet with UM offensive Line Coach Art Kehoe who told me who the most impressive offensive and defensive linemen were so far this Fall. Unfortunately I was sworn to secrecy and cannot tell U anything he told me. I guess that next year you will just have to go on your own and find out the REAL info on the Canes.
Other than that the experience was only moderatley interesting. We met the cheerleaders, talked to the fans and hung around as long as we could before hitting the long road back to Orlando.
Then we left, without a single autograph, after driving 3 hours just to get there. I really think UM should change the format for next year.