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University of Miami head football coach Randy Shannon gave today what sounds to me like the requiem for his college coaching career. Shannon in fact played defense with the kind of purposeful tenacity that might’ve spared him from this quite untenable position had it ever carried over to the locker room, the field, or any of his woefully underachieving football teams.
Even amid the soft-pitch arc of a dozen or so tepid non-questions – Coach, talk about this; Coach, talk about that – Randy Shannon doggedly played up his pros with a series of canned, occasionally accurate talking points which, when you cut through the BS, said one thing loud and clear: yes, I feel the heat.
What unfolded in Tuesday’s press conference, then, was an exercise in framing that deserves serious consideration for future communications theses. And that Shannon had so obviously mulled these responses and still came off as a complete loser – not as a human being, but certainly as a coach – adds to the mounting pile of evidence suggesting he is not fit to run a soup kitchen let alone a prestigious football program.
Coach, how big an impact have injuries made? “Big, a lot, tremendously. We’ve had some injuries across the board. Most teams that win it are probably going to be injury free.”
Coach, have you ever thought about benching junior Travis Benjamin, given his penchant for mental errors and dropped balls? “No. The one thing you don’t do is get down on a young man.”
Coach, what do you make of this senior class? “We had the fight on the football field, the situation with Bryan Pata, academic things going on, a new stadium we had to go to, a lot of adverse situations people were using in recruiting. I wasn’t the head coach at that point in time… We were 5-7, go to second in the Coastal Division. It’s improvement. Now is that where we need to be at Miami? No. But you have to give them a lot of credit in believing in me… If it wasn’t for those guys we wouldn’t be where we’re at today.”
“Where we’re at today” may be aptly characterized as a fork in the road, the paths of which will dictate the near and long-term trajectory of a program that used to be a short time ago among the very best in all of sports. Since the unparalleled deluge of NFL talent filtered out of Coral Gables circa 2004, the Miami Hurricanes have waffled between frustrating mediocrity and complete incompetence with two incapable and overmatched coordinators at the helm.
Shannon’s tenure, though promising in fits and spurts, has been mostly marked by exceptionally inconsistent play, an inability to win big games (or in some cases, even compete), and perhaps most disappointingly, a career-altering failure to develop highly recruited talent.
Shannon deserves credit for the battles he’s won on the first week in February, but unfortunately for “The U”, a top-5 class is only as good as the wins it accounts for. Shannon’s touted prospects more times than not waste their eligibility in a dreaded holding pattern of physical and mental stagnation in which the significance of dropped passes and false starts defers to that of seniority, the emphasis on game film and weight training to study halls.
To this latter point, Shannon has done a truly remarkable job at cleaning up a program in danger of relapsing into old ways. There have been no on-field brawls, no off-field murders, nary an arrest. His players graduate, and in a time when the university on the whole has vaulted up the academic rankings, Shannon is at least partially responsible for the improvement. His emphasis on grades proves a refreshing creed, especially when weighed against the hijinks of his upstate rivals.
None of this should obscure his central commission as a head coach: to win football games. At this, Shannon is not good, his near-.500 record not befitting of Miami’s rich tradition.
The options then are these: accept that this experiment has failed and bring in a proven coach with a winning track record – try to right this sinking ship and reclaim a rightful spot among the elite… Or continue to wallow in the ordinary.
I choose the former.
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The Miami Hurricanes are beginning to hit their stride as the team nears its conference finale this weekend at Sun Life Stadium against the 16th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (8-2, 6-0 ACC).
Coming off Saturday’s convincing 35-10 victory over Georgia Tech in which Miami put up over 500 yards for the second consecutive week, the No. 24 Hurricanes (7-3, 5-2 ACC) will look to avenge last year’s embarrassing 31-7 defeat in Blacksburg by capitalizing on a newly-prolific ground game and the breakout performance of true freshman quarterback Stephen Morris.
Junior quarterback Jacory Harris, who began the year as the starter, will again be watching from the sidelines as he continues to recover from a serious concussion on Oct. 30 at Virginia.
“Concussions are serious,” head coach Randy Shannon said.
While Harris spent most of the week with neurologists, Morris, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown Saturday, continued to rack up superlatives from national and local media for his play in replacement of Harris.
Shannon, able to decipher reporters’ true intentions, reassured all that Harris will return to his starting job as soon as he is able, but emphasized that he will not jeopardize Harris’s livelihood despite pleas to do so.
“A lot of fans, a lot of media, bloggers, y’all think it’s a deal where you can just line up and take one week off and the next week show up and play. It’s not that way,” Shannon said. “Speaking impediments, brain aneurysms, all kinds of things can happen. I think a lot of fans and a lot of people want to say, ‘What is Coach going to do?’”
“It’s not that.”
“All it takes is one hit,” he continued. “We go back too early, and now Jacory’s in another world. Then who’s going to feel bad? Now I’m the bad guy.”
Shannon was evasive when asked if he’d consider using both quarterbacks once Harris returns.
“I don’t even get involved in those things,” he said, downplaying prevailing wisdom that he is responsible for such decisions.
Now riding the momentum of a 2-game winning streak, Miami’s head coach was enthusiastic about his team’s prospects going forward despite the impending feud between Harris and the blogosphere.
“If we continue to do this, we can be a very special football team,” Shannon said of a program hoping to build on its last postseason victory, a historic 21-20 victory over Nevada in the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl.
Never one to look ahead (or behind), Shannon emphasized the importance of Saturday’s game.
“It’s an opportunity for us to end this season in the ACC with a win on our home field, which is something we haven’t done in a long, long time,” he said, though conflicting box scores suggest Miami accomplished said feat last season.
With a victory, the Hurricanes are headed to their first ACC Championship, unless Virginia Tech is able to win its final conference game. Should the Hokies knock off interstate rival Virginia (4-6, 1-5 ACC), Miami will likely accept a bid to either the Champ Sports Bowl or Meineke Car Care Bowl.
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All quotes via The Miami Herald
Things are starting to look up for the Miami Hurricanes. A week after losing starting quarterback Jacory Harris to a serious concussion at Virginia, Miami rebounded with a 26-20, last-second home victory to perennial conference power [in basketball] Maryland, and is now riding high on a 1-game winning streak going into this weekend’s road test against Georgia Tech.
The unlikely star of Saturday’s comeback was true freshman quarterback Stephen Morris, who showcased superior arm strength and an unshakeable demeanor with his 35-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson with 37 seconds left. Morris, in his first career start, finished with 286 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on 18 of 30 passing.
The promising newcomer left the field to teammate chants of “Our quarterback” and the next morning appeared on the front page of the Miami Herald under the headline, “A NEW HERO.”
“I’d seen him on scout team every day so I already knew what kind of character he had, what kind of quarterback he was,” said senior defensive end Allen Bailey. “He made those throws all week in practice. He’s composed. He’s calm under pressure.”
Head coach Randy Shannon echoed Bailey’s sentiments, saying, “Don’t tell him he’s impressive. He had a good performance, not impressive.”
Capitalizing on this unexpected wave of momentum, Shannon was quick to reassure fans that Harris, a junior, will get his starting job back as soon as he is healthy enough to play.
“You don’t lose your job because of one game,” Shannon said, allaying fears that Harris isn’t good.
It is still unclear, though, if Harris – who’s thrown for 14 touchdowns [and 11 INT on 53% completions] – will be ready for Georgia Tech.
“I will not know until the medical staff tells me,” Shannon said. “Until the medical staff clears him, Jacory will be out.”
“If the medical staff never clears him, Jacory will not play,” he added for clarification.
It is apparent for now that there is no quarterback controversy, and in fact, the matter was not broached by any of the nettlesome reporters who typically prevent Shannon from doing his job by asking question.
Still, when not asked by anybody where Morris stands in relation to Harris, Shannon said, “Stop trying to start a quarterback controversy, and this and that, because you guys will.”
When pressed to comment on the 18-year-old’s performance, Shannon said that Morris is “a good person,” but did imply that good people necessarily make good starting quarterbacks.
“Like I said, stop trying to start a quarterback controversy, and this and that, because you guys will,” Shannon reiterated.
The Hurricanes are already bowl eligible at 6-3 and only two games out of the ACC Coastal Division lead. In recognition of his team’s play, coach Shannon has been named one of the 15 semifinalists for the inaugural Joseph V. Paterno Coach of the Year Award.
The award will be presented Dec. 18, possibly conflicting with Miami’s bowl game.
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A day after a 45-17 home loss to 23rd-ranked arch rival FSU on Saturday night, University of Miami head football coach Randy Shannon spoke to reporters about the game and his team’s prospects going forward. Said Shannon of the nationally televised undressing, “We have some things we can really, really build on.”
Though suddenly-disgruntled fans are calling for his ouster, it is highly unlikely Shannon will lose his job this year – or ever – given his 4-year, $4.8 million extension in May and UM President Donna Shalala’s notoriously stingy ways. With the in-conference loss to FSU, the Hurricanes fell to 3-2 (1-1 in the ACC) and dropped out of both polls for the first time this year. Miami is now 21-19 against BCS teams under their current coach, but a perfect 3-0 against Bowl Subdivision teams.
In addition, the ‘Canes sold out Sun Life Stadium for the first time Saturday, yet it is uncertain if they will duplicate attendance for their Oct. 23 game against North Carolina.
A crowd between 75,000 and 22,000 is expected.
Coach, how would you evaluate last night’s effort?
We didn’t do very well on both sides of the football. We had some running plays, but we weren’t consistent. I have to be more consistent, more demanding.
What does this loss mean for your team?
That’s one loss in the ACC.
Can you give us an update on [injured starting quarterback] Jacory [Harris]?
A groin is a groin.
There were over 200 state recruits on the sidelines last night. How’s this going to affect recruiting?
It’s overstated. Everyone’s going to get their players.
So you’re saying a blowout loss to your biggest rival has no effect on recruiting?
Florida State will get their players and we’ll get ours. It doesn’t change.
This is the first time in three plus seasons you’ve ever blamed yourself for a loss…
Offensively, we were able to run against Clemson. Why weren’t we able to run against Florida State? Is it the run plays, pass plays, the personnel, what is it? We have to find out what it is and fix it, get better off it. That’s why it’s on me.
Do you foresee major changes coming?
No. You can’t cut them or trade them, get anybody off the waiver wire… We have a good football team.
What’s the biggest problem with mental preparation?
The consistency, where is it? The same play, same defense, we get a tackle for a loss. Then suddenly the same play, same defense, they get a running play. The consistency, we have to demand more out of them and I have to demand it out of the coaches to get it out of the players.
The team seems to repeat the same simple mistakes…
That’s the consistency part of it. We’ll get it fixed.
But these are recurring issues. This is the second time in a month your team hasn’t been competitive…
Like I said the last time we lost a game, we’ll be a lot better. And we will. The greatest thing about it is ACC play now. You get in a rhythm of doing certain things now.
Was the team mentally prepared to play yesterday?
I thought they were.
You have to be shocked by the performance.
You want to win. But we still have some things we can get done. If we do what we have to do and take care of the opportunities we’re going to have the next couple of weeks, we’ll put ourselves in the right situation.
Jacory was 19 of 47 for 225 yards and an interception…
I thought he managed well for what he had to get done.
But the offense was in a lull all night.
When that happens, always bad things happen.
Do you think the media backlash from Jacory’s poor play of late has taken a toll on him?
I don’t think it’s taken a toll on him. It’s a Jacory lovefest right now.
[Linebacker Colin] McCarthy is a fifth-year senior. That personal foul was a killer.
You expect a lot out of everybody on the team, seniors to be able to control themselves and things like that.
How do you deal with fan complaints?
I don’t hear any of it.
Do you want the rallying cry to be facing FSU again in the ACC title game?
You had a lot of dropped passes. Is there any one thing that’s a problem catching balls?
They are what they are.
[Saturday's opponent] Duke hasn’t had a winning season in 15 years. Your thoughts?
It’s a tough place to play. You have a 150-yard walk to get to the field, the fans. You know how the stadium is going to be. It’s one of those places that can lull you to sleep just because of the atmosphere. Every year I’ve been up there we’ve had tough times at Duke.
FSU kicks Miami's ass how many Natties will I drink tonight? J-12 Leonard Hankerson Mark Whipple Miami Hurricanes randy shannon Sponge Bob flashes U this is embarrassing
I’m not writing this as an elaborate reverse jinx or because I’ve tweeted one-too-many obscenities to our PG-rated Twitter following.
I’m writing this because my football team f*cking sucks.
I predicted 38-17 UM to my father two hours ago, not because I really believed it, but because I was riding the good vibes of the Alabama loss and of SC hero Steve Spurrier, and because, more than anything, I was just excited to still be relevant – have a theoretical title shot – in the early days of October.
I know. Sad.
What’s sadder? Here’s my father’s response: “I told the guys you must’ve started drinking.”
Well now I’m drinking. Or I feel like it anyway. FSU’s kicking our ass at halftime, dominating every phase of the game, and per usual, out-coaching the dynamic duo of Randy “Adjustments” Shannon and Mark “Running Game?” Whipple.
Here are the random notes I jotted down after 8:30:
- Herbie on Jacory Harris: “He’s got all the ability in the world, but he’s his own worst enemy.” Well, Kirk, you’re half right at least.
- Robb Hilson’s thoughts before former Groza candidate Matt Bosher shanked a 32-yard field goal attempt with no score: “Got a lot of concerns. This guy’s not one of them.”
- Yes, the Artist Formerly Known as Joe Robbie is sold out. And, yes, all I can hear is the 20,000 or so ‘Noles fans and their massive marching band.
- Leonard Hankerson made a Randy Moss-like, one-handed catch over the middle in the first quarter (when this game was still in question). Check that, Moss doesn’t go over the middle. Point is, Hankerson is one of the exceedingly rare examples of a player who’s actually progressed under Shannon’s tutelage. I’m sure he wants to leave early. Yeah, he’s a senior, but I mean fourth quarter.
- Freshman right tackle Seantrel Henderson’s looked like a 330-pound construction cone all night. He can’t match the speed of FSU’s d-ends on passing plays.
- Shannon has no answer for Jimbo Fisher’s downfield blocking scheme. And, in general, both FSU front sevens are beating the hell out of our supposedly superior talent. Brent, safety Vaughn Telemaque is making so many tackles… because he’s the only guy left to make them.
- Dear Sean Spence, I admire your enthusiasm and your moves. But the time for dancing is Thursday night at the ATL, not down by two touchdowns in the second quarter.
- When I started writing, it was 24-7. Now it’s 31-7. I’ve been writing for 10 minutes, 7 of which were halftime.
- I don’t know what to call this. “Embarrassing” isn’t strong enough.
- Jacory’s grabbing his groin not because of lingering injuries, but because – like me and others who still care about this team – he’s just been kicked in the nuts.
Update: Hankerson’s having one of the worst games of his career.
J-12 weighs 140 lbs. manhandled Miami Hurricanes randy shannon The U
“Sad day. Mediocrity reigns at The U.” ~ Philip Kates
Starting to think that “sh*tty mood” is just my default Saturday disposition. Last week it took me two hours to hunt down possible B.J. Daniels defender Bryan Holt to swap Swamp tix. This week, I roasted that $10 student pass in effigy as I lamented the demise of my once proud program.
You don’t know what it’s like. Trust me, you don’t. A diehard ‘Canes fan in 2010 is like a diehard Sonics fan in 2010 – only if Seattle had won 5 NBA titles in the last quarter century.
What makes our sudden and precipitous decline even worse is that it was all too avoidable. We didn’t have to stay in-house and hire two full-wit coordinator/half-wit head coaches. We didn’t have to exile Devin Hester and Arthur Brown and James Bryant and [insert highly recruited future transfer] to inter-positional limbo, or worse, the bench. And we sure as hell didn’t have to bulldoze the Jewel in Little Havana. Hard to function without a heart.
I’m not frustrated that we lost today – 36-24 in Columbus in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates). Trust me, anybody with a head on his shoulders not sipping from the Don Bailey, Jr. Memorial Kool-Aid cup saw this coming.
(And no, a victory today wouldn’t have erased a whiff of the ’03 Fiasco Bowl’s devastatingly lingering fallout.)
I’m frustrated, per usual in the Shannon Era, by how we lost – stupid penalties, stupid decision making, stupid turnovers, embarrassing defensive special teams, manhandled at times by a more physically gifted team, and last but certainly not least, lopsidedly out-coached.
And yet somehow – by way of a nationally backed propaganda campaign on par with McCarthyism – people around the country still think “we’re back.”
News flash: Miami’s been a middle of the pack ACC team for the last 6 years, and as far as I can tell, nothing’s changing until Donna Shalala pulls her head out of her ass.
Irvin, Kelly, Kosar, Walsh, Blades, Tez, Maryland, Dorsey, Ray Ray, Vilma, Wayne, James, Shockey, Winslow, Barrow, Smith, Dre, Sapp, Morgan, Testaverde, Taylor, Reed, McGahee, Portis, Gore… Just thought I’d remind you of where we’ve come from. And, yeah, I left out a bunch.
I was already cradling myself in a fetal position by 4:30 left in the 4th, but two things in particular kicked me in the gut when I was down.
The first I saw mastered at the 2008 Emerald Bowl. Let’s put it this way: if burning timeouts was an art, Randy Shannon would be its Van Gogh. So down by 12 late in the fourth quarter, the ‘Canes need a stop on 4 and 1 and then need two more possessions to give themselves any chance.
Luckily, we got the benefit of an injury timeout – you know, so we could use that 60 or so seconds to set our goal-line D.
Of course, Shannon doesn’t blink before calling ANOTHER timeout – with the clock already stopped – after sending either the wrong unit or wrong formation back onto the field.
It’s these little things that eat at me – the false starts (Joel Figueroa and Harland Gunn wouldn’t see another snap if I was running the ship), the botched play action, the drops, the fumbled snaps, the dogmatic insistence on pooch kicking even though it, without fail, yields better field position for the opponent.
But I digress. Todd Blackledge’s brainwashed synopsis of how Miami has to now worry about other teams losing to get to Arizona was the thing that really set me off.
REALLY, TODD?!? REALLY? You really think we’re running the table with our “physically gifted quarterback”? Really? Physically gifted compared to who? Gumby?
Like I said before the season, 8-4. Mark it down. Mark it down for as long as Shannon’s on board, and for as long as the The U relegates its football program to the institution’s periphery.
I’m f*cking pissed. Happy Saturday.
Don't know Florida A&M Legendary Orators Miami Hurricanes randy shannon Sh*t Randy Shannon says
On the eve of the 13th-ranked Miami Hurricanes’ biggest Thursday night home game of the season, head coach Randy Shannon graciously took time out of his hectic schedule to share insights on the season opener against Florida A&M. Occasionally surly, UM’s fourth-year man makes up for his lack of charisma, charm and overall personality with an incomparable sense of brevity and wholly original logic.
Said Shannon of Sunday’s practice, “We were a little bit sluggish today, which was good.”
Miami is a nearly three-touchdown favorite this week, but with a showdown against second-ranked Ohio State just 11 days away, coach expects his team to fly around a little bit, do great things and continue to improve, because that’s all you can do. Which is good.
Was Saturday a work day or were you able to get some rest?
Work day. Always a work day, trying to get better in some way or fashion, which is good.
Now that you’ve settled on a preliminary depth chart, what do you think you have in this team?
You said [true freshman LB] James Gaines really caught your attention in fall practice. Will he contribute this season?
Don’t know. He’s there. Practicing hard. That’s all you can say.
How many true freshmen could see time this year?
Have you made a decision on Jacory’s backup?
Tell us what it’s like to finally have [late commit, Rivals No. 15 overall, ATH] Latwan Anderson out there?
Didn’t do much. He’s in the pre-trial phase – his helmet – so really couldn’t do anything.
Your plans for him?
He’s a walk-on.
Wait. So you’ve hit the scholarship limit?
He’s a walk-on.
Will you play him?
He’s a walk-on.
What can you tell us about [true freshman DE] David Perry?
He’s a walk-on in the acclimation period.
You’ve moved Kylan Robinson to outside linebacker, correct?
Nickel situations he’s always outside. Sometimes he’s in the middle, sometimes outside.
And in base situations?
He’s been in the middle.
How do you get an idea of what FAMU will do on Thursday?
Just look at last year’s tape. That’s all you can do, and do what they’ve done the last three or four games of the season and base it off that. It’s going to be something new.
Tell us a little more.
We don’t know what FAMU is going to do.
What do you like about your team?
They didn’t hit the wall. The year we went 7-6, we hit a wall against Virginia – there was no way to get those guys out of it. [This year] we had a walkthrough at 10:30 at night, came back the next morning at 6 and they responded.
Will [senior middle linebacker] Colin McCarthy start on Thursday?
Depends on the game. I couldn’t tell you.
Tell us who’s in the mix to return kicks.
About eight of them.
Which unit is the FAMU game more important to?
The whole team.
Editor’s note: Special thanks to insider/Core Team member J. Franklin. Go ‘Canes.
LaRon Byrd Legendary Orators Miami Hurricanes randy shannon Thearon Collier
The 13th-ranked Miami Hurricanes suffered a setback to their receiving corps earlier this month when explosive junior slot man Thearon Collier left school due to “personal issues.” Collier, the team’s best punt returner, will likely transfer to USC to sit under the tutelage of head coach Lane Kiffin and, God willing, an English teacher.
Wrote Collier on Facebook, “THS MY LAST WEEK IN MIA B4 I HEAD OFF TO CALI TO PERSUIT MY FOOTBALL CAREER …”
Departures of this kind are nothing new for the Hurricanes, a team that regularly sees top talent leave to persuit football careers at once-inferior programs. Collier’s West Coast swing does, however, shake up a depth chart that got even thinner Monday when second-leading receiver LaRon Byrd missed practice with a leg injury.
Byrd, a junior, was seen on campus walking with a brace and crutches, but the severity of the injury is still unclear. When accosted by local reporters, head coach Randy Shannon shed some light on the situation.
(Note: word-for-word answers via the Miami Herald in grey)
Coach, how is LaRon doing?
“He’s doing fine. I told you guys the other day some guys are nicked — we’re going to sit them out.”
Hopefully, it’s serious. But we don’t think it is…
“You want it to be serious, though, huh? You go around that corner, you’re going to see about five guys riding [exercise] bikes; they didn’t practice today.”
We’re just trying to do our job, coach. You mad at us?
“You guys try hard. I’m not mad. I’m just joking around with you.”
Wait… so LaRon will be back for afternoon practice?
Let’s say a player is out for [week two's game against] Ohio State. Would you tell us?
“I keep telling you guys [and] you keep trying. I’m telling you, I will let all you guys know when a guy is going to be done for the season, like I always do.”
Byrd will have an MRI later this week to determine whether or not the leg needs to be amputated.
Legendary Orators Miami Hurricanes randy shannon The Real Afrobutterfly
National and local media continue to pepper Miami head coach Randy Shannon as the 13th-ranked Hurricanes approach their Sept. 2 home opener against Florida A&M. Shannon is of the general persuasion that questions shouldn’t exist, let alone reporters. But since he is at the helm of a major college program, the usually tight-lipped fourth-year man graciously throws a bone to those pesky sportswriters every once in a while.
The following are Shannon’s word-for word responses to an amalgam of wide-ranging interrogations he’s endured at the mics of Rivals.com, the Miami Herald, the Palm Beach Post and the Orlando Sentinel in recent weeks.
On what would constitute a successful 2010 season:
“Getting better. Just getting better.”
On expectations surrounding the team after last year’s 9-4 season:
“I can’t tell you 9, 10, 11 [wins]. I can’t tell you those things. You can not win this ACC conference and still go to a BCS bowl game. Is that a victory or not a victory? Is that improvement or not? You can’t classify what it takes to be successful.”
On increased roster depth contributing to heightened competition in practice:
“We always say that you can talk about things you can do, but who is going to step up and lead that group?”
On junior defensive tackle Marcus Forston, who did not record a tackle last season after a successful true freshman campaign:
“I told him, ‘You had some success as a true freshman, then your second year thought the world was going to be yours and you forgot about the process of working hard…”
“Last year, he worked hard, he just expected big things without understanding what to do.”
On LeBron James joining the Miami Heat:
“It took a lot of pressure off me. They’ve got to win the championship now.”
On James as a recruiting tool:
“That’s illegal. You’re trying to get me in trouble.”
On the Sept. 11 game against second-ranked Ohio State in Columbus:
“The only thing I’ve got to concern myself about is August.”
On what the above game, a rematch of the 2002 BCS National Championship, would mean to the program:
“It’s a game.”
On highly-touted offensive lineman recruit Seantrel Henderson’s first practice Thursday:
“It’s a start. You know, he’s got to do what he has to get done.”
On how he expects to use Henderson, Rivals’ No.1-rated high school tackle in ’09:
“We have a plan for him.”
On whether sitting out spring practice with a thumb injury hurt quarterback Jacory Harris:
“No. It helped. He was able to stand there and watch.”
On injured senior running back Graig Cooper, who blew out his knee in last season’s Champ Sports Bowl:
“He’s running, he’s squatting, he’s lifting, he’s jumping. He’s full board everything. We’re going to take it slow. If he’s healthy he’ll play. If he’s not ready, we won’t play him.”
And 10 days later:
“Like I said before, I can’t tell you guys when Cooper is going to be ready to go. If his body heals tomorrow, then he’ll be ready to go. If it heals in three weeks, he’ll be ready.”
On whether he knows about the parties in Miami that have embroiled student-athletes with the NCAA:
“I get abreast on things that come up.”
On Miami’s potential return to the dominance of the ’80s and early ’90s:
“I don’t think ‘dominance’ is the word you want to use. You want ‘we’re improving.’”
On the team’s philosophy after losing 6 of its last 7 in ’07, its last 3 in ’08 and 3 of its final 7 after starting 5-1 in ’09:
“The first thing we’ve got to do is make sure we finish. That’s going to be our big motto.”
On the development of fifth-year senior TE Richard Gordon, who was awarded an injury hardship for last season and caught three passes in ’08:
“He’s the leader of the tight ends, is doing a great job, is really settling in now. He’s doing an awesome job, and we’re excited the way he’s going. If Richard comes along, we’re going to be really, really good.”
On whether the biggest obstacle to a freshman playing immediately is more mental or physical:
On Sunday’s fourth practice in the rain at Greentree Field:
“Sunday was a hump day. We looked at last year and it was a three-game stretch. We won some games and then we got a little lax. So now it’s the same situation. This is our fourth — it’s raining. And last year [at Virginia Tech] it was raining.”
On educating players about Internet use:
“Every year there’s going to be a freshman who comes in and I’m going to have to sit them down and tell them to clean up their Internet.”
On the perils of new media, which have recently lead to an NCAA investigation into Miami’s potentially “impermissible texts”:
“I don’t do Facebook. I don’t do Twitter. I’m the wrong guy. I know a lot of other coaches use it. I’m kind of old-fashioned… You get the right kind of kids in your program by communicating face-to-face and being verbal.”
The Hurricanes completed their fifth fall practice Monday. Coach Shannon was not available for further verbiage at the time of posting.
donna shalala hurricanes miami Miami Hurricanes national signing day randy shannon shalala
I was originally going to write about O.J. Mayo, because what better way to forget National Signing Day than to write about the Memphis Grizzlies.
I just got off a 45-minute phone call with the world’s biggest Miami Hurricanes fan. He is also my father.
Points of discussion:
How did Miami fare on National Signing Day?
“I swear, I’m ready to coach this team,” are the first words out of his mouth. This is not a good sign.
I sent him an email earlier that read: “Hey, 18 of our 27 signees are three stars, so we’re extremely well-positioned for four more years of above-averageness!” Apparently he did not think this was funny.
This was one of the greatest pools of talent in Dade County history, he says. “And we land 2 of the top 100,000 guys!”
I think to myself that this is not a national championship-contending ratio.
He asks me if I know anything about Gainesville High’s Kevin Nelson, our top defensive recruit and the No. 3 inside linebacker prospect in the country.
Supposedly he has “‘tude,” like Ray Lewis I-will-be-the-best-to-ever-play-here kind of ‘tude. I remind him that wide receivers Lance Leggett and Sam Shields had this ‘tude. They did not fare as well as Ray Ray.
My father suggests dejectedly that maybe this is the blue-collar class that brings us all the way back.
Immediately, my thoughts turn to RB Damien Berry, our best offensive player and the kind of “blue-collar” guy Pops refers to.
The only way Berry can get consistent carries this year is if he has pictures on head coach Randy Shannon, and even then Shannon would probably find a way to burn the pictures along with all of his remaining timeouts.
It’s a numbers game, Dad says. A couple of our five offensive linemen – two of them four-stars – will pan out. They have to. Our O-line is a sieve.
This word “sieve” is a synonym for “colander” and “strainer.” I have only heard it used in reference to Miami’s offensive line.
My father says that if we hit on some of these linemen, highly touted redshirt freshman RB Lamar Miller should be really good for us.
I tell him that if Lamar Miller is as good as we think he is, Randy Shannon will promptly move him to fullback.
We discuss the firing of defensive line coach Clint Hurt and his new replacement, Kentucky’s Rick Petri. This move lit up the message boards – they have decided that Petri is the guy that finally turns the D-line around.
My father and I conclude that, hey, the guy’s been a defensive line coach his whole life. He must be really good at it.
Maybe Randy is starting to feel the pressure. He’s firing guys. He knows his job security hinges on our “140-pound quarterback” staying healthy.
Then again, I offer, if Jacory Harris breaks in two, at least Randy will have an excuse for sucking.
Is Pace quarterback Stephen Morris – #49 QB overall, 3 star – the real deal? The real deal compared to what?
My fathers says that if he’s not the guy, we’re in bad shape. I clarify, continued bad shape.
Best case scenario, Harris stays healthy for two more years and then we start a redshirt freshman QB in 2012. We’ve been in this position before under Larry Coker. How could we not have learned our lesson?
Pops says we’re going to be hard-pressed to win 10 games this year. I tell him he’s really going out on a limb and reiterate my long-running prediction: 7-6, Emerald Bowl victory.
He says it’s all relative. He was listening to Bay Area radio (he lives in San Francisco) today and fans are in meltdown mode because the Giants won’t resign Lincecum, the GM is a bum, and they haven’t won a World Series since 1954, as the New York Giants.
I say, yes, it’s all relative, and then I ask him who will win a title first, the Giants or the Canes.
We both agree. Giants.
Will the Hurricanes build an on-campus football stadium during our lifetimes?
He is cautiously optimistic that the Canes will have a 40,000-seat venue in the heart of Coral Gables in the next 25 years. However, he is also cautiously optimistic that he will live to be 104, which leaves us considerable wiggle room.
We ask each other what it would take for UM President Donna Shalala to spend real money on a head coach. Filling seats in our empty stadium would more than compensate for the expense. What are we missing?
Shalala wants to make the university into a premier research institution, which is fitting – because when you think Miami, you think South Beach, Dwyane Wade, P-Diddy and premier research institutions.
Would my father be a better head football coach than Randy Shannon?
Actually, we’ve been having this conversation for a full two years now. He says that since Shalala is such a tightwad when it comes to financing athletics, he would take a drastic pay cut should the position become available to him.
I say things could be worse. An interstate rival could have landed the No. 1 class.
We talk about linebacker Arthur Brown’s potential transfer to Kansas State. My father says Brown just doesn’t have it.
I tell him that before I come to this conclusion, I would like to see him play just one meaningful down. Just. One. I tell him that it is quite possible that if every talent scout in the country had him ranked as the top defensive prospect coming out of high school, it is quite possible that these talent scouts are right and our talent guru, Randy Shannon, is wrong.
I say that whatever “it” is, Brown must have “it” more than linebackers Darryl Sharpton or Romeo Davis had “it,” no?
Not according to the coaching staff, says Pops. Arthur looks lost in practice – more lost than Sharpton, who made a career out of lost.
We speculate about what this looks like – being more lost than Darryl Sharpton. Is Arthur running in the opposite direction on run plays? Or is it worse? Does Arthur need help putting his pads on just to get to practice?
We turn to Phil Mickelson, because on days like these, we need something to cheer us up. The analysts on the Golf Channel suggest that Phil has toned up. He no longer has a soft midsection, which will help his swing plain.
My father is quick to shoot down this notion, citing Phil’s “bra fat” as evidence.
We stay on Phil because, you know, it’s been a rough day if you’re a Canes fan. So my father comments on Phil’s “fairy-ass white shoes and white pants.”
My dad describes a man he saw on the streets of San Francisco today holding a sign that read, “Squid Party.” He tells me that it is more likely that he will one day hold a sign that says “Squid Party” before he wears “fairy-ass white shoes and white pants and a white belt.”
We finish our conversation by talking about Joe’s Stone Crabs, the ESPN coverage on South Beach, Warren Sapp on “PTI” and the giant hole in the ground where the Orange Bowl used to be.
We talk about Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma – how cool they are. And we talk about the four Miami alums that made the All-Decade team.
These things give us solace, or at least remind us of the glory days.
This is what it is like to be a Hurricanes fan on Feb. 3, 2010. This is what we mean by “All about The U.”