Let it rain: Miami opens its indoor practice facility
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — There’s still a considerable amount of construction work remaining at Miami’s football practice facility, and it’s slated to last for another few weeks at least.
The field, however, is done. And the Hurricanes jumped at the chance to use their new turf.
Miami practiced in its $34 million indoor facility for the first time Friday, even though there frankly wasn’t much of a need for the Hurricanes to in be there. The sun was shining, no rain clouds were in sight and the official grand opening is scheduled for two months from now. But for a program that has been waiting years for such a building, the hope is that it represents a significant step forward.
“This was a piece of the puzzle that was missing for us and one that we knew we needed to get in place,” Miami athletic director Blake James said.
It’s slightly shorter than a full 100-yard field, and goalposts are up on only one end of the complex. None of that is considered a drawback by Miami, which has had countless practices interrupted or delayed over the years because of torrential rain and lightning that is common to South Florida during most of the summer and fall months.
In the past, bad weather during practice usually left the Hurricanes scurrying inside to get some work in on a basketball court. Now, all they’ll need to do is sprint from their grass outdoor field through a garage door and voila, they’re inside and ready to continue.
“We got to be able to be in the cool shade, and run around and fly around and take care of our bodies and not get that much sun on us,” defensive back Jaquan Johnson told reporters after practice. “That was pretty neat.”
Construction started only about 15 months ago. Coaches’ offices overlooking the field still need to be completed and there are other phases of the project remaining, but the main attraction — the field — is ready.
“Everyone really bought in and supported and recognized what a need this was for our program,” James said. “That’s why we’re here in relatively a short window and I couldn’t be happier for our guys.”