Nebraska coach Tom Osborne says the Cornhuskers need to adjust to Florida's warm weather before they play Miami on Jan. 2 in the Orange Bowl. That's just fine with center Jake Young.
"I'm going to try to go hit the beach," Young said moments after the team arrived Sunday. "I haven't been to the beach for a while."Sunny, 82-degree weather greeted the Cornhuskers, which is one reason Osborne made them travel on Christmas Day.
"We feel that in order to get acclimated to a place, we need about a week," Osborne said. "The climate is so different from in Nebraska, so that's why we're down here now."
The sixth-ranked Cornhuskers, 11-1, planned to begin workouts Monday for their game against the second-ranked Hurricanes, 10-1. Nebraska's Big Eight champions are making their first visit to Miami since the Orange Bowl game between the two teams five years ago, which Miami won 31-30 to earn the national championship.
"The good thing about this is we don't have a player on our team that's ever been here before," Osborne said. "A lot of them have been to the Sugar Bowl twice and the Fiesta Bowl twice. So I think they've been particularly looking forward to this trip.
"What it represents means a lot to them too because we hadn't won a Big Eight championship for four years."
An airport ceremony to welcome the Huskers included a lilting version of "Dear Old Nebraska U." by a band from Trinidad. Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez then gave Osborne a key to the city.
"We hope this key opens everything in our city except the end zone," Suarez said.
Among those on hand were about a dozen native Nebraskans who now live in South Florida. All wore Big Red T-shirts.
"The only bad thing about this is that my season tickets for Hurricane games are on the 40-yard line, and I'm in the end zone for the Orange Bowl," said Dave Brandon, a North Platte native who now lives in Miami.
During a brief news conference, Osborne said the Cornhuskers believe Miami may be the best team in the nation.
"It's certainly not an easy challenge, and there may be some other teams better to play," he said. "But I guess we'll find out how good we are."
Young boldly offered a prediction.
"I predict," he said, "it's gonna be a heckuva game."