Postcards from Jacksonville: Day 5 At The Gator Bowl
Dec. 30, 2003
Fast Fact of the Day: The rematch between Maryland and West Virginia is the first in any bowl game since the 1997 Independence bowl when LSU and Notre Dame played for the second time in a season. Overall, it has happened 13 previous time to this season.
By Jason Yellin
JACKSONVILLE -- The final practice.
Tuesday was the last training session for the 2003 edition of the Maryland Terrapins. They will have a final walk-through on Wednesday for Thursday's big game at 12:30 p.m.
As part of a tradition started three years ago and continued in the Terps' run of bowls, on the last day of practice, every member of the senior class is carried off the practice field by teammates who play the same position or are part of the upperclassman's unit.
Here's a run down of some highlights from the Terp senior parade:
The funniest moment came when wide receiver Jafar Williams had academic support counselor Natasha Criss carry him off the field - all by herself.
Bruce Perry was given one of the biggest ovations as he was carried off the field by Josh Allen and Mario Merrills.. He was followed by Bernie Fiddler, carried by Drew Weatherly and Joel Statham. Dennard Wilson followed.
The team gave a rousing ovation to all of the seniors.
Another part of recent Terp lore has been for nearly every player on offense and defense to trade numbers for the final practice session. This of course makes practice very confusing as the likes of Bruce Perry wore a red No. 37 and Josh Allen was in No. 52. Shawne Merriman donned No. 75 and C.J. Brooks squeezed into No. 45.
Many of the player trade straight up, here's a partial list from Tuesday's tribute.
Jafar Williams was in No. 23 and Andrew Smith in No. 19.
Prior to the senior salute the team gathered for one last time and shouted out "Beat The 'Neers"
Following the carrying of the seniors, the team showered at Jacksonville University and headed back to the buses.
The team went to the Ale House for lunch where they were treated to grand lunch.
The players had most of the rest of the day free. Many of them took in the Jacksonville Landing.
At 6 p.m., the NBC television crew came to the team hotel for its pregame interviews. The crew of Tom Hammond, Pat Haden and Lewis Johnson. Scott McBrien was up first for the crew. He was followed by Bruce Perry and then Coach Ralph Friedgen. Kyle Schmitt, Randy Starks and Nick Novak were also interviewed.
While the Terps took part in their team functions, nearly 50 members of the Maryland travel party visited the U.S.S. Maryland which was docked in Jacksonville. The staff was given an exclusive look at the ship after going through an extensive background check by the ship. They saw how the ship operated and the
At 8 p.m. at night coach Friedgen took part in a live Fancast on FridgeTV.com for the Maryland fans around the world. Many fans at the team hotel came to watch the show and cheer loud for the Terps before they headed out for a night of fun on the Jacksonville Landing.
The Terps were off to their rooms for the final night before changing locations for the night before the Gator Bowl.