Hard to recall a four-day span where more has taken place on the field and within the walls of the University of Miami’s athletic department—which is saying something as “Shapirogate” and an NCAA investigation isn’t too far in the rear view.
The 58-0 loss to Clemson. The firing of Al Golden and naming of interim head Larry Scott. Player reactions to all. The rumor mill churning regarding the Canes’ next leader. The loss of Dana Smith; mother to cornerback Artie Burns—followed by a tremendous outpouring of generosity by the U Family.
On top of all that, Miami is prepping for it’s most-important Coastal Division challenge of the season—a road trip to Duke—without the services of starting quarterback Brad Kaaya, who suffered a concussion against the Tigers and it yet to be cleared.
All of that and more in this edition of, “The Latest At The U”:
The redshirt freshman back-up was 2-of-6 for 24 yards career-wise when tapped to replace Kaaya, down 28-0 early against Clemson last week and was 7-of-22 for 42 yards with two interceptions by game’s end.
Even worse for the Canes; Kaaya potentially being stranded in Coral Gables as flying and cabin pressure woes might prevent him from making the trip and assisting on the sidelines as Rosier makes his first start.
Miami is 4-3 on the season and 1-2 in ACC play; the Canes trailing North Carolina, Duke and Pittsburgh—all undefeated in conference play.
Five games remain and Miami gets a crack at all three aforementioned divisional foes—not mathematically eliminated from a Coastal Division crown.
Still, at Duke without Kaaya would certainly be that nail in the coffin. 6-2 in conference play would mean wins over those three, as well as Virginia Tech and then Georgia Tech and Virginia, down the road—setting up a scenario where this guy beats that guy and another one falls here, etc.
Will be very interesting to see how Miami responds; with, or without Kaaya. A fragile bunch each of the past few seasons after losses to Florida State, how do the Canes deal with magnitude of what’s taken place the past 96 hours?
All that “adversity makes use stronger”—it makes for good quotes and what not. Still, hard not to think about that Mike Tyson quote about everyone having a game plan until they get punched in the mouth.
The Canes have taken a few shots to the head. What does that mean for this weekend and beyond? Going to be a very interesting couple of weeks in Coral Gables.
The lone positive news this week; seeing Miami fans react to the Burns’ family tragedy in the manner they did—raising over $40K of a $10K goal on GoFundMe yesterday. Per NCAA clearance, money can be raised for funeral arrangements and other costs—with the leftovers donated to charity.
With the original goal reached four-times over, the donations page was closed by Tuesday evening as the story was getting national attention.
The Canes family stepped up and for a bunch that has spent the past few months labeled as unruly—by way of paying for anti-Golden banners, fighting in the stands, getting into it with players and coaches from their seats, or as reported to day, sending a hot box of mierda to Golden’s home—it was refreshing to see this type of solidarity.
Even better, the team got a huge lift on Wednesday morning when Burns showed up for practice. No. 1 will travel with Miami to Durham this weekend and will be in the line-up, doing all he can to stop that Blue Devils’ offense.
The Miami Herald reported that Golden visited Burns’ dying mother on Monday night. She passed away Tuesday morning; the after effects of a heart attack.
Let it serve as another reminder that Golden-The-Man deserves to be separated from Golden-The-Coach. That was also proven late Sunday and early Monday when current Canes were paying tribute to him via social media and articles were surfacing regarding final goodbyes this weekend and a lot of tears shed.
What Golden didn’t do in X’s and O’s, he obviously did at a mentor, father figure and teacher. These kids looked up to him, respected him, learned from him and are going to miss his impact on his life.
The same guy who was on the wrong end of that Clemson beating; he’s the same guy who supported the Burns’ family here and who rushed to cradle Malcolm Lewis midfield at Georgia Tech years back after that horrendous ankle injury.
Truly rooting for Golden-The-Man to find success on his journey and to impact more players’ lives. There’s a place for him out there. It’s simply not on the Miami sidelines anymore after that 32-25 run.
Former UM leader Butch Davis made the rounds on Monday; doing an interview with a Rivals.com Canes site hours after guesting on 790 The Ticket and making it clear that he wants to be considered for the gig.
An even more old school former coach hasn’t thrown his hat in the ring regarding the job—but has let it be known that he will play a sounding-board type of role in the process and his services are available should athletic director Blake James want to tap him for some wisdom.
Jimmy Johnson told the Herald’s Barry Jackson that he reached out to James via text, offering his services—while a UM source stated that James plans to take Johnson up on his offer.
While Johnson is quick to admit that “The U” is a unique and quirky gig, he’s not of the ilk that the Canes need to hire a “Miami guy” or someone with UM ties.
“You want the best candidate,” Johnson said. “There are some outstanding individuals who will be interested in this job. I wouldn’t want any restriction.”
Canes fan Jennifer Urs Sullivan was last seen strutting down the aisle in June 2014 with Sebastian The Ibis giving her away two years after her father Walter Urs passed away.
While the new Mrs. Sullivan brought smiles to the Canes’ fam with the touching moment, she’s taken things to another level this week with a brilliant open letter to the University of Miami, the Board of Trustees and athletic department in calling for the rehiring of Davis.
Sullivan states her case logically; right down to a comparison between what Davis and Golden were both saddled with early-on: “Years ago, Davis once faced a similar situation as Al Golden did at the University of Miami. Shortly after assuming the role of head coach, each man was told that their team faced NCAA sanctions as a result of infractions committed under their predecessors. In the end, Al Golden’s team was stripped of nine scholarships; Butch Davis’, 31. And yet Davis persevered through the storm.”
Sullivan also pointed out that Davis’ eye for talent was just in regards to players; but in building a staff: “Outside of being widely recognized as one of the best identifiers, recruiters, and developers of talent, Butch Davis has also proven to be quite adept at assembling a staff. During his time at Miami, five of his staff members went on to become head coaches at either the NFL or collegiate level, and yet another three went on to become coordinators, position coaches, or strength coaches in the NFL.”
She wisely closes by trying to strike that emotional chord that the University of Miami needs to be reminded of; that instant shot-in-the-arm the hiring of Davis gives this program from a marketing perspective: “Beyond his ability to identify successful players and coaches alike, Davis would reinvigorate the program in a way that other candidates could not. A fan favorite amongst this rabid, increasingly restless fan base, Davis would inspire hope—hope for the future; hope of a return to the glory days of the past.
Better yet, he would instantly attract the presence of those former players who hold him in such high regard; former players who would make this campus their home again, providing invaluable support to current student-athletes and serving as a major draw for the student-athletes of the future.
For what has always set the University of Miami apart from the rest was not its facilities or its game day atmosphere, but its camaraderie—the U family, as it’s called. Butch Davis is a respected member of that family; one with a charismatic gravitational pull that would reel back in those other members of the family who have since gone astray. As a result, attendance, fundraising, and recruiting would all receive monumental upticks, marking this program as an attractive destination and national contender once again.”
All well said, Jen. Here’s hoping the powers that be are listening and that they feel the same.
Lastly, Canes’ defensive tackle Michael Wyche has been arrested on charges of misdemeanor domestic battery. He was booked at 4:50 a.m. ET and remained in Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Wednesday afternoon on $1,500 bond. Wyche had been ordered to stay away from the alleged victim, but didn’t.
Wyche is a 6-foot-4, 345-pound redshirt senior who played in UM’s first four games this season, but has no stats. He’s spent most of his practice time on scout team and has done little since arriving on campus in spring 2014; a JUCO transfer out of Monterey Park East Los Angeles College.
Hoping Wyche gets things cleaned up—and looking forward to the day the University of Miami is no longer reliant on 3-star transfer project-types as their instant-saviors. Lots of hype surrounded Wyche when he signed with the Canes and to date, it’s been all fizzle and zero sizzle.