Before Miami could recapture its past glory, the Hurricanes first had to watch it slip away. Which brings us to
Sharpe is an ex-Miami cornerback with zipper scars on both knees and a cameo in Hurricanes football history he would just as soon do without. Reflective and good-natured, he makes a habit of referring to the most infamous call in the annals of Miami athletics as "the act." As in: "A lot of my teammates and a lot of fans -- not just Miami fans but football fans, period -- have told me they feel I did not commit the act. So that's been a big relief."
The eyes of the college football world will be on Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium on Saturday, to see if the 2-0, ninth-ranked Hurricanes are all that; if
While they may yet get there under third-year coach
After a timeout, the Bucks came out in a five-wide formation, with 6-foot-2
At the snap of the ball, Sharpe "set down the jam."
It is around this time that field judge
I've heard the call savaged, I've heard it defended. Watching it again, my initial response was confirmed: it's weak. Extremely weak. I'm with
The Buckeyes scored two plays later, then won the game in the second OT. Sharpe was crushed, but his teammates and coaches had his back. "I remember [defensive backs coach]
That call, that moment, serves as a handy high-water mark for an era of Hurricane dominance. It also set in motion a gradual decline that culminated in the catastrophic 2006 season, which saw the 'Canes drop six games and make national headlines by engaging in a helmet-swinging, crutch-wielding, all-out brawl with Florida International.
Sharpe's fortunes mirrored the team's. After blowing out his left knee against Tennessee late in his sophomore season, he returned for 2004. But the knee hurt so badly he was finished for the year after just two games. During a 7-on-7 workout the following July, he tore the ACL in his
After an NCAA-sanctioned sixth-season at Miami, Sharpe was running practice 40s a week before the 2008 NFL combine when he pulled a quadriceps. He couldn't run, and wasn't drafted. He signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons, who waived him (8/30/08), re-signed him to the practice squad (8/31/08), then
"It's been a roller-coaster," said Sharpe, not discouraged in the slightest, "but I'm still here."
He's still there because he's smart, and a battler, and because
Part of me will be pulling for the U this weekend, because Shannon's getting it done the right way, and because this sport is a more interesting proposition when the 'Canes are in full swagger.
But I'm pulling harder for an uncomplaining practice squad corner who's due to catch a break.