I’ll be the first to admit that it’s odd seeing the screaming, motivating, teaching and laughing coming from the assistant coaches that Randy Shannon left behind. But there they are, hard at work, whistles around their necks and going at it full throttle even though many know they’ll be jobless come January 1st.
While the old guys coach away, on the sidelines you have the former Temple crew, geared up in polo and khakis. New head coach Al Golden, new defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, new defensive backs coach Bobby Williams and new defensive line coach Jethro Franklin.
I’ve been to hundreds of UM practices over the years and have truly seen it all. High school coaches, pro coaches, scouts, former players, current NFL guys (re: Terrell Owens, etc.) and others who never played a down at ‘The U’, politicians, A-Rod, you name it; but I’ve never seen anything like this.
Four guys with clipboards, licking their chops and excited about the future, while the other guys are coaching up their kids for one final game before getting their resumes together and dealing with a completely different future.
We did get some good news days back when we found out that interim head coach / offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, wide receivers coach / recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill and linebackers coach Micheal Barrow were added to Golden’s staff. Whether anymore current Cane coaches are added remains up in the air.
I’m extremely happy for Coach Stoutland as he’s made the best of an awkward situation this past several weeks. Beyond that, his group improved this year and are only going to get better with guys like Seantrel Henderson, Jermaine Johnson and Brandon Linder coming into their own.
Hill and Barrow were also must-keep guys for their strong recruiting ties and relationships with South Florida high school coaches.
That’s not an indictment on any assistant past, present or future, but on a coaching staff you always have a few guys who are on board more for their recruiting that coaching skills. That’s just the reality. When this staff is complete, don’t scratch your head as to why some of the guys out there might not be Xs and Os guy. Having the ability to get kids to sign on the dotted line is a skill all unto itself.
Speaking of signing on the dotted line, Miami Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and wide receiver teammate Eli Rogers are headed to Louisville, which really shouldn’t be a surprise. Bridgewater’s connection to Miami had a lot to do with Shannon and when you cut a coach loose there are going to be recruiting casualties.
Earlier in the year I was told that a big reason Miami was trying to keep Stephen Morris on the bench was to no scare Bridgewater off regarding the competition level when Jacory Harris left.
The old adage is still in place; if you don’t want to compete, don’t come to Miami. Bridgewater may end up winning a Heisman and that’s fine. But if he wanted to be promised playing time and expected to have a job handed to him without earning it, Coral Gables isn’t the place for him.
Former UM recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Clint Hurtt is now the coordinator up at Louisville, so with his Miami ties it’s not a surprise a few local guys are now headed that way.
All that said, don’t fret Hurricane faithful – I believe Golden will find the next great quarterback. Even though a lot of guys are verbally committed right now, Signing Day is still six weeks out and a lot can happen between now and then. It’s only been a week and there’s still time for things to swing UM’s favor.
IN OTHER NEWS: The men’s basketball team squandered away a great opportunity to get a very quality win against Central Florida last Saturday at the Bank Atlantic Center. Miami’s gotten a few good non-conference wins this year against Ole Miss and West Virginia, but you always want to get a win against a team in state – especially one that’s undefeated.
I won’t sit here and pass any judgment on this team until the conference season is underway, but with this current group that Frank Haith has assembled, there are some serious expectations for this team. This is definitely an athletic bunch, but one that made too many mental mistakes down the stretch against UCF.
Athleticism only gets you so far and this team has to put it all together. The three-game ride in Vegas against Oral Roberts, Rice, Akron and Pepperdine, only to hit the road for a showdown with No. 1 Duke just after the first of the year. That’s when we’ll truly know where this team is headed – when ACC play is underway.
The women’s team has won nine straight and faces Ole Miss in Oxford tomorrow at noon. Normally you wouldn’t get too much women’s hoops chat from me, but this team that Katie Meier assembled is special. You’re talking about two of the best and most exciting players in the country in Riquna Williams and Shenise Johnson.
I’m a huge fan of Coach Meier and I think she does things the right way with a great combination of good coach / bad coach. She can play that big sister-type role, but can also be a drill sergeant in practice, getting them ready for anything. This definitely is a team that deserves your support. No doubt about it.
The women’s soccer program hasn’t been around that long, but has really made a mark – especially in the ACC, which is one of the tougher conferences in the sport. Miami finished 10-8-1 this year and is looking for a new coach after Tricia Taliaferro was let go. I’m hoping the right replacement is found soon as these girls deserve the best coach to lead them into next season.
We’re about six weeks out from baseball season getting underway, so stay tuned form the latest on that front, as well.
Lastly, we have a great show lined up for you this Wednesday night – including a one-on-one interview with Coach Golden, as well as some from Seantrel, Coach Stoutland, Jordan Futch and much, much more. Come out out to allCanes, say hello and get any last minute UM gear before the holiday. Remember that you save 20% OFF EVERYTHING IN STORE if you shop while we’re on the air.