Georgia Tech vs. Miami
When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium
TV, radio: ESPN (Charter channel 32), 1240-AM
Web site: www.ramblinwreck.com
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Only the most ardent Miami fan probably knows who Bobby Revilla is. He won’t score a touchdown, do any coaching or make any tackles, but he’s an especially popular and important member of the Hurricanes’ staff this week.
Revilla is the Hurricanes’ equipment manager.
That’s right: He’s the keeper of the cold-weather gear.
Gloves, hats, jackets, leggings, you name it, Revilla’s got it, and some Miami players will want to dig deeply into his supply over the coming days. When No. 23 Miami visits Georgia Tech on Thursday night for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown, some forecasts suggest the kickoff temperature in Atlanta might be in the 30s — and for those who live in tropical South Florida, that’s c-c-c-cold.
"I’m a Florida boy," quarterback Robert Marve said, "so I’ll probably wear something (extra)."
Despite the forecast, players say the weather won’t be a distraction.
"As soon as you get into the game, that stuff starts going away," Miami linebacker Glenn Cook said. "You can’t really fight nature."
But the Hurricanes will try.
Hand warmers, feet warmers, turtlenecks, parkas, they’ll all be stuffed onto the truck that’ll drive Miami’s equipment up to Atlanta this week. Gatorade doesn’t make a hot cocoa flavor, but if it did, there’s a sense someone on the Miami sideline would be sipping that, too.
"It’s something that you get adjusted to, and the big guys don’t care," offensive lineman A.J. Trump said. "I won’t be wearing sleeves on Thursday night. It’s in the back of our mind, but we’re feeling good about it. We just want to win so bad. It could be negative-30, and we’ll still go up there and play our hearts out."
Miami (7-3, 4-2) has won five straight games overall and a win Thursday night would put the Hurricanes on the brink of capturing their first ACC Coastal Division title. A loss, and those championship hopes would take a huge hit, so there’s far more to worry about this week than weather.
"Once we get out there and get our blood pumping a little bit, it’ll be football again," Marve said. "I hope it’s not going to be an issue. When you first walk outside, you’re going to be cold, but when thousands of people will be yelling at you, it’ll just be a football game again."
History suggests cold weather isn’t exactly a huge deterrent for Miami, even though most everyone on the roster is from warm climates and South Florida stays balmy for all but a few days each year.
The Hurricanes won the MPC Computers Bowl on a 28-degree night in Boise, Idaho two years ago — most players who were on that Miami team had never seen snow before that trip — and faced the cold plenty when in the Big East.
"Everything was numb," Cook said when asked what he remembered about playing in the cold of Boise. "Toes, feet. After the first two drives, I didn’t feel my feet."
While there’s no chance of snowfall in Atlanta on Thursday, goosebumps, might be fairly prevalent on the Miami sideline.
Several Hurricanes shivered quite a bit last month during their game at Duke — when the second-half temperature was a less-than-wintry 57 degrees.
"Just part of the game," Miami left tackle Jason Fox said. "You’ve got to deal with it."
When temperatures drop into the 60s, it becomes a big story, simply because South Floridians aren’t used to anything other than hot, hot, hot.
Some local newscasts sent crews out to various Miami hotspots Monday night, talking to visitors and residents who were donning fur coats and leather jackets to shield themselves from the "freezing" temperatures, even though the mercury level was about 30 degrees above the actual freezing point.
"I think I might redshirt this game," joked quarterback Jacory Harris, a Miami native.
And although most football teams might revel in a see-your-breath-frosty night, the Hurricanes have no way to prepare for what Mother Nature will throw their way.
Besides, Miami coach Randy Shannon points out, a cold football is easier to handle that a rainslicked one.
"When the game is cold, it’s just football weather," said Shannon, who’s been known to feel chilly when a room is nicely air conditioned — so it’s a safe bet he’ll be wearing multiple layers Thursday night. "You just play and you just keep going."