Miami QB grateful 2 teammates OK

Gunfire exchanged

Terp awaits reunion

College Football

ACC notebook

July 24, 2006|By HEATHER A. DINICH | HEATHER A. DINICH,SUN REPORTER

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- After two of his teammates were involved in a shooting early Friday, Miami quarterback Kyle Wright knew the topic would be inevitable as reporters gathered around him yesterday at the ACC Football Kickoff at the Sawgrass Marriott.

Junior safety Willie Cooper was shot in the buttocks outside of the off-campus house he shares with teammates Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Moore. Police said Meriweather returned fire with a legally obtained semiautomatic pistol.

"At least he had something to protect himself," Wright said of Meriweather's gun. "He didn't bring a knife to a gunfight."

Wright emphasized that registered guns are legal in Florida, but added that he doesn't own one and that he hasn't seen Cooper's bullet wound -- although some of his teammates have.

DeMatha showdown

While some might scoff at Maryland's nonconference schedule, which begins at Byrd Stadium against William and Mary in the season opener Sept. 2, cornerback Josh Wilson said it is of particular importance to him.

Wilson went to DeMatha with William and Mary senior running back Elijah Brooks and linebacker Chris Ndubueze.

"We have to come out there hard-core for the DeMatha reunion and make sure who's the better team," Wilson said. "They're not as bad as people are saying. They're a good team. They're going to put the ball up so they're going to pose a big threat to me. I have to be on my A game."

Wilson said he has still maintained a strong friendship with Brooks.

"Once you're in DeMatha you're forever in DeMatha," Wilson said. "I can't wait to get back in there and go against him. That should be fun."

Trying different hold

Georgia Tech defensive tackle Joe Anoai started playing football when he was 7, but he grew up with a professional wrestling ring in the backyard of his Pensacola, Fla., home.

It was there he would watch his father, Leati, who worked for the then-World Wrestling Federation, train his cousins, who are also professional wrestlers.

His brother, Matt, known now in World Wrestling Entertainment as "Rosey," is wrestling in Japan. His father teamed up with his uncle as the "Wild Samoans" tag team.

"It's been with me my whole life," Joe Anoai said. "It's done very well for my family. It's put food on the table. I'm proud of it. I'm proud of where my family comes from.

"It's entertaining. When I was younger, I thought I'd be getting into it. Me and my cousins, we would sit there and act like we were going to be a tag team and come up with our names and all that, but football is something I'd like to venture into. It would be my own thing to do and it would be a good influence for a lot of my younger cousins. Our family really runs deep with athleticism."

Not that professional wrestling is entirely out of the picture -- it's just a little risky.

"I don't want to get hurt," he said. "Not yet."

Brotherly pickup

Virginia senior quarterback Christian Olsen was only in Florida for a day, and he had already had at least five conversations with Miami's tight end -- his brother, Greg.

After transferring from Notre Dame and waiting until this season for the starting role he has long relished, the Cavaliers' Olsen said the Hurricanes' tight end was one person who was "always on his side."

"He said, `Don't worry, your time is going to come,' and I said, `Hey, Greg, I don't know if it's ever going to work out.' He said, `It's always going to work out,' and he was right. He's real level-headed, real smart when it comes to that kind of stuff. He was right."

After sitting behind former starter Marques Hagans last year, Olsen finished spring drills as Virginia's top quarterback.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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