Football players will be football players.
Both head coaches going into the Russell Athletic Bowl indicated Tuesday during the bowl luncheon that the verbal sparring between the teams at a charity event Monday was no big deal.
But just to make sure, some UM assistants were manning the hallways at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, site of the luncheon, as players from both teams were getting up often to visit the rest room.
West Virginia was assigned to one bathroom at one end of the large hallway and Miami, the other, an assistant explained.
Mountaineers coach Dana Holgerson was asked if the flaring tempers and obvious distaste for one another made him concerned that the game could get out of hand.
“That is football,’’ Holgorsen said. “It happens. So, we had a great time [Monday at Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee]. It was a special place.
“Anytime you get two football teams together, there are going to be some things. So it is going to get chippy. That is just the way it is.
“Pregame is going to get chippy. I am going to guarantee you that. I think both teams understand that and are going to behave themselves and no do anything illegal.
“But trash talk, that pretty much happens every single game, so it is not surprising to me.’’
Here’s what UM coach Mark Richt had to say about off-field chippiness leading to it onfield.
“I like it when the blood gets pumping. If that helps a guy get his blood pumping, that’s good.
“I’m not into a bunch of trash-talking and all that. I am into doing your job. But doing it with some energy, if it creates a little energy, that is not the worst thing that can happen.
“But as you said, you don’t want it to turn into some type of personal foul or bigger. It can be a bigger mess, too, if it gets way out of hand. But I don’t anticipate that happening. I don’t think that will happen.
“I have talked to a lot of our players about what happened, and I don’t see anybody that’s just frothing at the mouth – they’re mad at whatever. I think it is just kind of typical stuff. I don’t think there is anything that big.’’
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN