FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Bruce Irvin couldn't be happier being in Miami, Fla., for the first time in his life and playing in a BCS bowl game. And that's convenient from a newspaper copy point of view, because there's no one who cuts to the chase and explains it any better than West Virginia's brash senior defensive end.
"Yeah, you want to go out with a BCS bowl in a place like Miami,'' Irvin said. "I'd be pissed if I was playing in the Pinstripe Bowl and this was my last year.''
Anything else, Bruce?
"Yeah,'' he said. "A lot of pretty good gifts.''
The truth is, in his two all-too-brief years at West Virginia, Irvin has been a gift in and of himself. And not just to the Mountaineers, who of course are much better off defensively because of the presence of the most dynamic pass rusher the school has had since Gary Stills.
No, while Irvin's 14 sacks a season ago and his game-altering presence this year (his sacks were reduced greatly, but opponents had to drastically alter game plans to accomplish that) were invaluable on the field, his honesty was an even more refreshing addition, at least to those of us who chronicle such matters. On a team populated mostly by cliche mongers and/or reluctant public speakers - there are those who don't fall into those categories, but too few - Irvin was far and away the most notable exception.
He was John Thornton reincarnate.
My favorite heretofore unpublished utterance by Irvin was after West Virginia had lost to Louisville and someone asked him how he felt. See, it doesn't even take probing questions.
"[I feel] like somebody came into my village and did it with my wife,'' he said.
That might be the new No. 1 on my all-time list of favorite West Virginia football quotes, replacing one that the late Mike Cherry and I elicited from a young wide receiver shortly after he arrived in Morgantown well over a decade ago when he was asked what kind of an impact he thought he could make as a freshman.