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Fun in El Paso (then hard work)

Good morning.

I've been to many bowl games, but the greeting the Canes (and Irish) got Sunday afternoon was the nicest I've seen (them, too).

There were mariachi musicians and festively-dressed dancers and even the Sun Bowl queen and her court of princesses showed up to honor the players.

The Sun Bowl officials -- Bernie Olivas and John Folmer among them -- are some of the nicest bowl people we've ever dealt with. They made it a point to publicly welcome the Hurricanes "to the second oldest bowl game in the country'' with warmth and sincerity.

The players went to a team barbecue Sunday night at Sunland Park Race Track & Casino. There's a photo in the local paper here of Jacory Harris ladling barbecue sauce over his food. The Canes (including Lamar Miler and Jacory) posed for pictures with children and adults who flashed the "U.''

Today, selected players will visit the pediatric unit of a hospital. Then, the whole gang will go on a Lucchese Boots shopping trip. El Paso is famous for its cowboy boots.

Practice is at 10:15 a.m. at a local high school. Remember, it's two hours earlier here than in Florida.

Anyway, it is very nice to see the players truly enjoying themselves and feeling appreciated. It's been a really tough season for them. Putting it together on the field would go a long way in closing the door on the negativity of this season and opening a new one.