Miami Hurricanes linebacker Shaquille Quarterman talks about the first appearance of the "Turnover Chain."
I haven't been tempted in recent years to write the cliché Miami-is-back column, because in recent years Miami hasn't even resembled a second-cousin of those fun, loud, irreverent teams that once ruled college football.
But Miami looked back Saturday.
And, by "looked," I'm talking expressly about a gold chain the size of a radial tire lassoed around the neck of cornerback Malek Young after he intercepted a pass in the 41-13 win against Bethune-Cookman. It was fun and flashy. But was it real?
"There's no facade to it,'' the Miami linebacker said. "It's Miami style. We don't do fake gold."
Miami-style also is to talk Miami-style!
"A huge, Miami-style chain,'' he said. "We like flashy stuff like that."
Who doesn't like that? Hasn't everyone tired of the Puritan-prim manner Alabama acts and sour-lemons manner Nick Saban talks in winning title after title? Don't you long for the days when the "U" set the fun tone of college football?
So let others dissect the X's and O's and even a few Y's from Saturday's opener. This chain is the story. It was the invention of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. He told players Saturday morning whoever created a turnover got to rock the, "Turnover Chain," which is a a cross between Midas and a boa constrictor with an orange-and-green "U' medallion.
"I haven't even seen it yet,'' said coach Mark Richt, who is so focused coaching the offense he doesn't have an eye for flashing sideline gold. "Is it pretty gaudy or what?"
Put it this way: The MMA championship belt is Amish jewelry compared to this chain.
"It's crazy what motivates,'' Richt said. "Even the decals we put on helmets, they cost maybe 15 cents apiece, but they like them. They like to get them on their hat."
If this chain is real gold, Miami could complete funding of their new indoor facility with it. Come to think of it, if it's real gold, Diaz probably plundered that fund to buy the chain. Quarterman said Diaz went to the same jeweler that several Miami players use to buy their necklaces.
"We were all wondering who would get to wear it first,'' Quarterman said.
That wasn't decided until early in the fourth quarter of a game long decided. Miami led, 31-3 at that point. But Bethune-Cookman was driving until Young intercepted a pass in the end zone. He jumped up, was congratulated by teammates and quickly made his way to the sideline, no doubt realizing what awaited him.
Joel Rodriguez, Miami's director of player development and chain management, was waiting on the sideline. He lassoed Young's neck with it. Young went to the bench to sit down, no doubt tired by the heavy chain.
It's not clear if any NCAA rules were broken with the size of the chain, but certainly several fashion statements were made. And that's a good thing.
Of course, Miami has a ways to go. This opener was a good workout. But there are questions. New starting quarterback Malik Rosier, for instance, played a good-enough game in throwing for three touchdowns. But he was so confused by the ordeal he wasn't even sure how to pronounce his own name afterward.
Football is a secretive sport, but the pronunciation of the Miami quarterback's name shouldn't be in an X-file. It took a while to sound out Brad Kaaya, too. He was cut by the Detroit Lions on Saturday, making you wonder if his NCAA eligibility is still good.
As it was, it will take more than an easy opening win to find out just what kind of a team Miami has. The only conclusion from Saturday is they looked back to greatness Saturday with that loud, brash, fun chain. Somewhere, Bennie Blades was jealous he never wore the "Turnover Chain."