When UM created the turnover chain last season, it not only generated a ton of buzz around the program, but it also opened the floodgates for other schools to unveil their own distinctly less original pieces to celebrate takeaways.
Oregon last November was the first to create a ripoff of the Canes’ chain when it debuted a more modest chain with the Ducks logo.
Since then, at least six other schools have produced their own spinoffs:
Tulane has turnover beads — like the ones people wear at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Memphis has a Ric Flair-inspired turnover robe.
Boise State has a turnover throne.
Louisville has turnover gloves and a turnover belt.
Kennasaw State has a turnover plank.
And last week, Florida State debuted a turnover backpack, of all things.
Alabama was actually the first school in recent years to reward players for turnovers by giving them something gaudy to wear. Since the 2015 season, Alabama rewarded takeaways by giving players a “ball-out belt” constructed in the style of a boxer’s championship belt.
But UM had the original turnover chain.
UM coach Mark Richt, while not mentioning any of the copycat schools by name, said on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline this week that the difference between UM’s chain and the others is that Miami’s “got a cool factor that can’t be matched by anybody in the country. There will be other teams with some kind of prop and nobody else shows up to even shake their hand.”
The chain has a larger meaning, Richt said. “It’s about the celebration of something great happening.”
Incidentally, UM made a great decision by allowing Malek Young to place the chain around the neck of teammates all season. Young’s playing career ended when he sustained a neck injury in the Orange Bowl.
“Malek was the first one to ever wear it,” Richt told WQAM’s Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. “He wore the original. Now that he’s coaching with us, that’s part of his duty with us to [get the chain] and to slap it on the guy who got it. It’s symbolic to how much we love him, how important he is to our program. We want people to know how he’s still with us and important to us.”
Richt said of freshmen Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory: “We got the two best tight ends in America in that class.”…. ESPN2 assigned 1989 Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware to Saturday’s UM-Toledo game, paired with play-by-play man Kevin Brown…
Richt told WQAM that “we had a lot more [recruits] than I would have guessed for [the Savannah State] game. Great quality and high number. Great number of players committed and a high number of targets. They come up to Club LIV and hang out for a minute with the coaches and other recruits and some of coaches’ wives. They come on field for pregame warmup…. We signed a really good class last year and the future is really bright.”
Here’s my Thursday piece in which athletic director Blake James explains why UM plays road football games against teams that would traditionally be called mid-majors in basketball.
Here’s a link to my two Dolphins columns on Thursday.