Winston Journal #14

Senior offensive lineman Eric Winston checks in with another journal entry. Earlier this week, Winston was named 1st team All-ACC and the winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy given to the top blocker in the conference.

"Senior Day"

We're done. With the regular season that is.

We finished with a 25-17 victory over Virginia on Senior Day. Senior Day is the last home game of the regular season whether it is the last game of the season or not. As you can imagine it is the last time all the seniors will play in front of the home crowd, an anemic one at that, but I'll get into that later.

It was an emotional day for me knowing that it would be my last time to play in the Orange Bowl. I've given everything I have to this university for the last three and half years and knowing that I wouldn't be here next season was bittersweet.

I know the National Football League is lurking in the future but there is something about playing at "Da U" that I will never forget and always appreciate. What made the day even better was all of my family that made it, and on top of that, a whole bunch of extended family members from all over the country made it, too.

As you could imagine all of this made it a very special day for me.

What I thought wasn't too special was the sparse crowd.

For all who don't know, there was approximately 40,000 (editor's note, it was announced 37,629) people in attendance and I am told that estimate is generous. I played in front of 42,000, in a state high school championship game!

I know it was Thanksgiving weekend and some people were out of town, and I can understand that. But with as many people that went out of town, there was probably about the same number to come into town, so that excuse only goes a certain way.

The seniors played their last home game in front of 40,000 great fans I might add. These seniors have a championship ring, if you are a fifth year guy, or if you are a fourth year guy, played for one.

Never mind the two national championship games we have been a part of (or one if you are a fourth year guy) it is the complacency the fans of this university have as soon as we drop out of the national championship race that bothers me.

We get a lot of criticism, some fair, mostly unfair, but if the fans are not holding up their end of the bargain, then don't be one of those fans criticizing us.

Come to the game, scream your head off when the opposing offense is on the field, quiet down when we are on the field and if you are not happy with the defense or the offense then you can criticize to a certain degree because you're there helping the team as the 12th man.

I know lots of people doing the complaining are doing it from their couch because they didn't feel like coming. Or my favorite is "They don't play like real Hurricanes."

Either help the team win or shut up.

Now that I am off my soap box I can let you know what I will be doing for this next month. The coaches will give us off until mid-December when finals are over to start practicing for the bowl.

In the meantime, I will make sure my grades are in order, get ready for finals, and rest. We will probably play in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville against Louisville. It ought to be a good game and if we win that, it will give us 10 wins this season.

That would make it three out of four seasons that I have been here that we have reached at least 10 wins, not bad.

Someone asked me what my total record is here in games I have played in and it is 32-5. Hopefully by the end of the season I will hang 33 for my career and the Hurricanes will get to 10 wins again. I will be back in a couple of weeks with a bowl preview and what is happening over the next month.

Eric Winston is working with Christopher Stock who is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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