“The first page of our manual for our bowl game has how many miles, how many stops, how many days it takes you to get back to Blacksburg by Greyhound bus,” Beamer said. “It’s worked fairly well.”
Beamer doled out the punishment for the first time during the Hokies’ trip to the Sugar Bowl in 1995. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Keith Short got sent home to Richmond via bus after missing the team’s 2 a.m. curfew.
It’s an 833-mile ride back to Blacksburg from New Orleans, which Google maps lists as a 13-hour, 11-minute trip by car. According to this, Short said his ride home to Richmond lasted 26 hours with all the stops.
Last year, six Hokies earned a bus trip back from the Orange Bowl in Miami for various violations of team rules, which Beamer wouldn’t divulge but said were not ”real serious.” Director of Football Operations John Ballein handles the arrangements.
“He’s got the experience in that area,” Beamer said.
The team takes necessary measures to prevent having to send anyone home, something especially important this year with New Orleans’ famed Bourbon Street and its late-night festivities within walking distance of the team hotel.
“The first day you’re there, we have a team meeting and we’ll talk about the rules and being smart and making good decisions,” running backs coach Shane Beamer said. “I’m sure we’ll have somebody from the Sugar Bowl or the New Orleans police department or whoever come in and talk to our guys about the distractions and being safe.”
Senior receiver Danny Coale said the team will prepare for the game the way it does every time it goes on the road.
“I think we all will approach it as a business trip,” he said. “That’s kind of been the saying in past years and I think everybody knows that. There will be moments to have fun and to enjoy New Orleans.”
Asked if he plans to go to Bourbon Street at all, safety Eddie Whitley just smiled and said, “After the game.”
There are lesser violations that won’t earn you a bus ticket home. Last year in Miami, running back David Wilson and safety Antone Exum missed a 1 a.m. bed check on New Year’s Eve. They had to sit out the first quarter of the Stanford game, in addition to giving up a portion of their bowl travel stipend and not getting to attend the Miami-Golden State NBA game with their teammates.
“I was in the hotel,” Wilson said. “I was just out of my room. You’ve got to be in your room. … It wasn’t like I was down in South Beach on the strip and got caught. I was in the hotel. Live and learn.”
Coale is trying to make sure everyone understands that even a curfew violation is a detriment to the team.
“We have a goal to win a football game and we need everybody,” he said. “We don’t need anybody sitting out a quarter or two or even being sent home on a Greyhound. I think that’s a point we need to get across.”