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NCAA Football ACC FootballMiami (FL) Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes Combat FGCU Fever in Southwest Florida

Al Golden-Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

In wake of the wild popularity Florida Gulf Coast has brought to “Dunk City” on Florida’s western coast, Friday night the Miami Hurricanes will take their spring football scrimmage to Naples, Fla. It’s a perfect time to strike with FGCU head coach Andy Enfield having just departed for Los Angeles, and the program’s March Madness-inspired popularity on the comedown.

However, it’s also a mere coincidence that Miami Coach Al Golden is moving the team’s spring practice to Southwest Florida for a night, as Naples High School’s Staver Field sits less than an hour south of last year’s spring scrimmage sojourn to Fort Myers, Fla. Multipurpose threat Dallas Crawford worked his way up from the scout team to to the active roster last year and recalls fond memories from the previous spring trip to the Gulf Coast.

“It’s very exciting,” Crawford said, via Naples News. “It gives my family an opportunity to come see me play and lets people back home see the Hurricanes play. We get to expand our fan base, and the players get to see something new. … “Last year was a lot of fun. I didn’t know there were that many Miami fans (in Fort Myers) until I committed my senior year. It was nice to see that many people support us.”

While Miami has sandwiched its spring practices around “Dunk City” in unincorporated Lee County, obviously it’s not an attempt to combat FGCU’s football program because, well, there is no FGCU football program. Still, every time spring practice is moved geographically it’s a tacit turf-war strategy in the battle for the hearts and minds of the state with several other nearby schools, transcending sport.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google