By MICHAEL SNYDER
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 9, 2001
MIAMI -- The weather may have been nasty, but it wasn't fit for the Hurricanes -- and the Scarlet Knights.
Severe thunderstorms and lightning in the Orange Bowl vicinity pushed back the kickoff of Saturday's Rutgers-Miami game 45 minutes to 4:45 p.m.
The 'Canes and their fans should be used to weather-related problems by now. Twice in the past three seasons, UM has had to postpone a regularly scheduled game because of the threat of real hurricanes.
In 1998, an early season game between UM and UCLA was pushed back to December. The next season a Big East matchup with Temple was postponed because of trouble in the tropics.
Miami won both of those games. The win against UCLA cost the Bruins an undefeated season.
THE NEWEST SOPRANO?: Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, UM's former defensive coordinator, has made a mark in his native New Jersey. Schiano has also put some interest and excitement in the Scarlet Knights' program, long a doormat in the Big East.
He even has dabbled at some acting, appearing with James Gandolfini -- a 1983 Rutgers alum and star of HBO's mob drama The Sopranos -- in a TV spot for the program, which features a fan asking for Schiano's autograph.
Schiano, 35, has also made no secret of his intent to mine some of the high school talent in South Florida and take it north. Ten players on Rutgers roster are from the Sunshine State. Schiano's weekly show is even telecast on Sunshine Network -- albeit at midnight Fridays -- in an effort to get some added exposure for potential recruits.
"We've worked awful hard at it," Schiano said. "A lot of it has been bringing awareness to the program. You can get the support if you wait around until you win, but can you win without the support?"
Originally from Wyckoff, N.J. Schiano has made more than 100 speaking engagements since taking over the Rutgers program, and leaving Miami last year before its game against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. He's even taken to ex-UM coach Howard Schellenberger's old "state of Miami" phrase and coined the "state of Rutgers" for much of the New Jersey, New York City, Connecticut and Delaware areas.
ODDS AND ENDS: Miami has six players from New Jersey on its roster, including starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie and safety James Lewis. ... Rutgers opened the game in a four-receiver set. ... Miami improved to 11-3 in Big East openers. ... Miami sold more than 52,000 tickets for the game, but many stayed home.