Sharpe Strives To Move On

Glenn Sharpe knew it was coming so he took a few minutes to collect his thoughts. The University of Miami sophomore defensive back motions over a school official before beginning an interview with a reporter that was waiting near by. Sharpe wanted to know if the conversation was going to be recorded.

"There isn't a lot more I can say about it," said Sharpe, after the Hurricanes completed a 90-minute practice at Greentree Field in Coral Gables. "It's over with and I'm trying to move on. I may still think about it but it's done. There is nothing that is going to change the outcome."

Almost three months since being involved in one of the most controversial plays in college football history Sharpe still cringes whenever last season's national championship Fiesta Bowl is dug up. But like a seasoned pro, instead of a second-year player, Sharpe rarely dwells on the past and what could have been.

Sharpe was flagged for pass interference, while covering Ohio State receiver Chris Gamble in the endzone, on the final play of the inaugural overtime period of the national championship game with the Hurricanes clinging to a 24-17 lead over the Buckeyes at the time. The incompletion would have resulted in the Hurricanes' sixth national title in school history.

But as a result of the penalty, called by field judge Terry Porter who was on the opposite side of the play, the Buckeyes were positioned with a first-and-goal and scored minutes later on a 1-yard run to send the game into a second overtime.

Ohio State would go on to win 31-24. And the play would spark a reaction throughout the country that is still discussed to this day.

Sharpe doesn't second-guess the call or fault Porter, at least publicly, for making the call, only to say that the penalty has only made him stronger as a person and helped motivate him in preparation for the upcoming season. The 5-11, 180-pounder entered the spring in a reserve role behind Antrel Rolle and Kelly Jennings.

"It doesn't bother me, all it does is motivate me," says Sharpe who finished last season with 16 tackles in 12 games. "What it has done is make me the kind of player that believes next time I'll pick the ball off and go the other way."

Sharpe spent the first couple of days after the game blaming himself for the loss and not knowing how long it would take to leave it behind him. But Sharpe has learned to deal with the outcome in large part because of overwhelming support from coaches and teammates.

"They all told me it wasn't my fault," Sharpe said. They all still believe in me."

Starting with defensive backs coach Mark Stoops who was critical of the penalty call and has stood by his pupil the whole way through. Stoops also is expecting that Sharpe is going to be better because of the play.

"He's doing great," said Stoops. "Glenn has that tough-minded kind of attitude that you just love in a kid. He's just going to build a lot more confidence and learn so much from this."

That's not to discount that Stoops still doesn't agree with the flag being dropped at such a moment in the game.

"I don't have anymore comments," Stoops. "But I'm not going to take back what I said. I stand behind everything I said."

And Sharpe, of course.

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