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Phillip Fulmer at the Capitol Building

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So I was wandering around some random room in the Capitol Building today, lost amid random Wake Forest football players, when I heard one of them talking about how Phillip Fulmer was over in the rotunda. So I went to look.

Indeed, there he Phillip Fulmer, shaking hands with Wake Coach Jim Grobe. Just another one of your random DI coach passing-through-the-Capitol-rotunda meetings. Tell me that happens in Shreveport or Boise.

"I was just walking around and looking around and I saw him," reported Wake corner Alphonso Smith, who facilitated the coach get-together. "I went back to coach and said, 'I just saw Phil Fulmer, you might want to say hey.' Coach went up and said 'Wassup,' and I said 'Wassup' too."


After chatting with Fulmer, Grobe reported that the former Tennessee coach's daughter is a history buff, and that she prompted the visit. His players took the sighting in stride.

"Man, it's the nation's capital," said nonchalant receiver Devon Brown, who grew up in the D.C. area and has been bragging about his hometown in advance of this weekend's EagleBank Bowl. "Everyone comes here to visit. It's a great place to visit, a great place."

"The local boy was telling me about it, and I kind of disagreed with him before arriving in D.C.," said Smith, who is making his first visit. "I was like, 'Aw, D.C.'s really not all that and a bag of chips. Now that I'm here, I'm kind of impressed, and I believe him now."

Brown is from Southeast, though he hasn't yet taken Smith to his old neighborhood.

"I don't think he wants to take me to his neighborhood, because I'm gonna tell everyone in Southeast about Devon Brown," Smith told me. "He's a funny guy, a confident guy, thinks he's the man, but myself and Josh Bush lock him up every day in practice."

Lock him up?

"As in defend him, he's not open," Smith said. "I don't have any handcuffs and mace."

Speaking of which, as the dozens of Wake players, coaches, staffers and family members approached the Capitol this afternoon, they were confronted by a security official.

"I need everyone in this group on the sidewalk!" the security person shouted.

"Get on the sidewalk, he's got a shotgun!" players whispered to each other.

"I'll take a bullet for a lawsuit," one offered.

I figured every bowl shuttles the visiting players to the local historical sights, but the players told me 'twas not so. During their last bowl experience, in Charlotte, the Wake players were taken to the Richard Petty Driving Experience and driven around Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"That was tight," Brown reported. "I don't know how they do that 500 times; we did it two times and I was dizzy."

Two years ago, at the Orange Bowl, players couldn't recall any educational trips at all.

"They said you can go to South Beach," tackle Joe Birdsong recalled. "That was it. No tours."

Some players sat on benches with their mobile devices, others posed for photos with the statuary, and others, like Smith, zoned in on the tour. The All-American history major quizzed the guide on the lack of sculptures featuring black Americans, explained something about John Quincy Adams to a group of teammates, and bet running back C.J. Washington 20 push-ups that he could beat him in the exhibition hall's U.S. history quiz. He did admit, however, to not understanding the reference in the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" e-mail sent to alumni in an effort to goose ticket sales.

There weren't any North Carolina media members following the tour--"budgets are tight these days for newspapers," Birdsong explained--but they were still treated like the celebrities they are in this town, in this week.

"Are they, like, famous or something?" asked 12-year old Kayla Huntley after getting autographs and photos with about a dozen of the Demon Deacons.

"They all have their nice jackets," said her friend, Samantha Hughes. "They looked famous."

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 18, 2008; 5:01 PM ET
Categories:  College Football , EagleBank Bowl  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A College Bowl Practice
Next: What It Felt Like to Lose to Cincy, the Movie


You'd think I'd get this kind of feedback when I roll through Union Station.

- R. Friedgen

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 18, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Word is Fulmer was shocked to find the Lincoln Memorial was not in Nebraska!

Posted by: Money7 | December 19, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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