Schnellenberger’s championship quarterback was a fellow named Bernie Kosar.
He showed up Friday looking great. He has fought to win back his old self after ballooning too close to 300 pounds. He has lost 65 pounds.
“Awesome feeling. Really special,” he said.
He meant this 30th anniversary celebration, not his own health.
Football took Kosar’s body and beat it up. Badly. It jarred his brain and wracked his bones.
“The dizziness, the equilibrium issues, the noise in your head, the insomnia,” he described it Friday, so matter-of-fact. “The bleeding and contusions in my head …”
Once, though, in 1983, Bernie was a 19-year-old freshman finance major who caught lightning, and lifted a team, and a city, “and Hurricanes football was born,” as his old teammate Brophy had put it.
Now, Hurricanes about the same age Kosar was then are trying to create something special. Those include the game-breaking sophomore running back Johnson, who slashed though FAU’s defense Friday for a touchdown run of 53 yards, another of 43, and a 38-yard catch.
The Duke of Gables is one of UM’s most electrifying players in a long while, and this looks like one of Miami’s best teams in as long — an ACC title contender, and a team poised to declare its sights on the Top 10 if it can topple the Gators next week.
What a strange entrée into this season.
So much optimism and hope, and yet all of that bears the heavy caution of the still-looming NCAA investigation in the Nevin Shapiro matter.
Additional penalties beyond what Miami already has self-imposed the past two years might still be in store; it’s the not-knowing that is most maddening.
All these Canes can do is shoulder ahead and through this and try to get a little bit closer to 1983 with every step forward.
Friday night was a solid start.
Now comes the first telling test, and it only requires a single word.