Most teams in the country have to worry about cold weather and snow disrupting practices during their college football seasons. The Miami Hurricanes however, have to deal with a completely different type of weather: South Florida in the summertime.
The lightning detection system that was installed at the Greentree practice facility has caused havoc for both players and coaches in recent weeks. The system, which can be heard on campus as well, lets a siren go when it senses that lightning is in the area. But in South Florida, there seems to always be lightning in the area this time of year.
When afternoon thunderstorms form nearby, they prevent players from getting outside and having practices the team desperately needs before game day. Last week, the Hurricanes missed practice on Tuesday and Thursday because the detection alarm went off. That does not include the practice cancelled on Aug. 26 because of Katrina.
When this happens, the team is forced inside to go over mental aspects of the game, have meetings and workout in the gym. There is only so much mental work that can be done before a game. Getting out on the field is extremely important, and to be honest, could hurt the team.
I was out at practice on the days that were cancelled; it didn’t even rain. Yes, there were dark clouds forming around the field, but there was no immediate danger. If we fast forward a few weeks and set up the same scenario, but at the Orange Bowl, facing Colorado, the teams would have kept playing.
I am all for keeping the players safe, but there comes a point where things start to get ridiculous. There was bright blue sky over the fields; I was even getting a tan watching the beginning of practice, when once again we all heard that dreaded sound of the lightning siren going off.
It is one thing for the coaches to be frustrated with not getting out and doing the things they want to do everyday, especially when it comes to game week. Each practice missed is a huge deal because of how much is accomplished everyday. By the end of last week, the players were starting to get frustrated as well, which for me, is indeed a bit scary.
UM teams lived without the system every other year that there’s been football at this school. Sometimes technology can be too good. Detecting lightning within a three-mile radius from the field in the summertime just doesn’t cut it. Something needs to be done so our football team can get the practice in that it needs.
Some have suggested building the team a bubble to practice in, like the ones seen at many Big 10 schools. But I have a much cheaper and easier solution than that. Climb up to the roof and take down that detection system. Then everything will be okay.
The Hurricane went to press Sunday before the UM-FSU game.
Douglas Kroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.