BLACKSBURG, Va. (WNCN) – Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium is known as one of college football’s most electric atmospheres thanks in part to Metallica’s song “Enter Sandman.”
Since 2000, Hokies faithful have watched their team enter the stadium as the Metallica hit blares into the night.
That scene will not play out as usual on Saturday night when N.C. State comes to town due to the pandemic.
For N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren, this is his second trip to Lane Stadium and ironically, will be the second time he’s missed out on the pageantry.
“I’ve been there one other time and there was lightning pregame and so it was empty when we came into the stadium that day,” explained Doeren. “I’ve never been there for what everybody talks about.”
The Hokies shutdown N.C. State in Oct. 2015 at Lane Stadium – winning 28-13.
Doeren said a fanless Lane Stadium will help his team especially when N.C. State has the ball. Still, the Pack head coach knows college football is all about tradition and both sides will be missing out on that tomorrow.
“I do think a crazy gameday environment is part of what college kids look forward to,” Doeren said. “So, I feel bad for the kids on both sides that they don’t have that but from a crowd noise standpoint it always helps the opposing offense not to have to deal with the noise.”
Welcome to 2020 – where uncertainty abounds and tradition takes a hit.
Even getting to the game will not follow normal channels for the Wolfpack.
Instead of taking a flight to Blacksburg, the team will take the ground approach.
“We leave tomorrow (Friday) around 1 o’clock,” said Doeren. “We have eight buses. There’s 10 players per bus. The bus normally seats 50,” the Wolfpack coach said.
“So there will be one player in a row of two seats and then an empty row between them and then one player,” explained Doeren. “So I guess it’s going to be you could say contact tracing eliminator the way we’re bussing. So the guys won’t have, God forbid, someone test positive.”
Doeren said the Wolfpack will be tested Friday morning and probably won’t have the results until they are in Blacksburg.
If all goes well, the Pack will have its full allotment of players as they look to begin the year with two straight wins for the third straight season.
A nice way to ease the rigors of long, late-night bus trip back to Raleigh.
“I think we’ve got a 5 a.m. arrival time coming back home,” Doeren said. “It’s going to be a long night but hopefully it’s a bus ride home that we’re celebrating on.”
A fun ride home without the sounds of “Enter Sandman” still ringing in the players’ head.