Filling the void at ground zero
Sept. 11: Seven years after the attacks on the World Trade Center, tangible progress is being made on reconstruction efforts. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Butch Davis and North Carolina will face Rutgers and Greg Schiano in a nationally televised matchup that is so much more than the obvious plot of teacher going against his former pupil.
It is a meeting of a rebuilding North Carolina program trying to find the success that Schiano has brought to Rutgers since taking over in 2001.
The game on Thursday night between the Tar Heels (1-0) and Scarlet Knights (0-1) is being played on the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and will be the only major contest in the New York area.
Rutgers plans to hold ceremonies to honor those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
“When you grow up around here and when you live here, which a lot of players do, everybody has their own personal memories and their own personal tragedies that occurred during 9/11,” said Schiano, who planned to talk to his team about the anniversary.
Davis, who hired Schiano as his defensive coordinator at Miami in the late 1990s, equated 9/11 with Dec. 7 and Pearl Harbor in terms of historical significance.
“Something that you’re always going to have a respectful and kind of a soulful thought,” Davis said. “It’s an honor. It’s kind of unusual, because I don’t know if this game was originally planned for Sept. 11. But since it is, it’s a nice fitting tribute for the people in that area.”
Schiano was in his first year at Rutgers and Davis had just coached his first NFL regular-season game with the Browns on the day of the attacks.
Both recalled it was a Tuesday.
“I remember it vividly,” Schiano said. “The secretary came in and said that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center, and then she came in shortly thereafter and said that it wasn’t a small plane. Then we rallied the troops, and one of our players, his mother worked in the World Trade Center, but fortunately she didn’t go into work that day.”
Current quarterback Mike Teel’s father was a police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He survived because he was working at the George Washington Bridge, but his son did not know where he was for 12 hours.
Davis was breaking down game film at the time of the attacks. Commotion in his office caused him to turn on the television.
Looking to the present, Davis knows the Tar Heels face a big task if they are to post their first win outside of North Carolina since 2002.
North Carolina posted an unimpressive 35-27 victory over McNeese State in its season opener, getting a school-record 397 yards from receiver-returner Brandon Tate.
“When we turned on that film on Sunday after the first game, we were just like, ’Man, this isn’t us. We are not playing physical like we’ve been playing, and we’re not happy about it,”’ offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds said.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
The Scarlet Knights are looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2002, when they went 1-11.
“I think we are past the mental hurdle,” said halfback Kordell Young, who gained 94 yards to start off the post-Ray Rice era. “Of course we are all upset about the loss. I think we just sucked it up and moved on. You can’t live in the past or change what happened. We’d all love to. We just have to play stronger than North Carolina.”
CFT: Senior receiver Wilson Van Hooser is transferring from Tulane to help care for his ailing mother.
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick he wishes he was spoken to in private prior to the insults.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
Saban hurt by colleagues' comments?
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick what he think of these comments.
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