Varsity Preps

Kosnitzky’s Korner: Miami Hurricanes and Unexpected Questions

(photo source: Associated Press)

 

It was difficult to watch.  The Miami Hurricanes (9-4) would lose to the Louisville Cardinals (12-1) 36-9 in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl. While the team improved their record from the prior years, the Hurricanes left the season with unexpected questions.

 

After reaching a 7-0 record and a ranking of 7th, along with having the NCAA investigation from the Nevin Shapiro debacle over, many felt the Canes had “turned the corner.”  Unfortunately the team would finish the year 2-4. While Miami would lose their two big weapons in Wide Receiver, Phillip Dorsett and Running Back, Duke Johnson on the offensive side of the ball, the defense fell apart down the stretch.

 

According to Hurricanesports.com, the team’s defense gave up the following yards per game.

  • Week 8  –  Vs. Florida State – 517 yards
  • Week 9  –  Vs. Virginia Tech – 549 yards
  • Week 10  – Vs.  Duke – 543 yards.
  • Week 11   –  Vs. Virginia – 483 yards
  • Week 12  –  Vs. Pittsburgh – 501 yards
  • Week 13  –  Vs. Louisville – 554 yards.

 

These results looked eerily similar to last year and the public sentiment has asked for Defensive Coordinator, Marc D’onofrio’s ouster. Defensive Back, Tracy Howard came to D’onofrio’s defense in November referring to his coach as a great teacher.  Last year, Head Coach, Al Golden defended his defensive coordinator stating the team was moving forward.  Beyond speculation, the status on the staff is unknown at this time 

 

Another issue is Coach Golden.  With Bill O’Brien leaving Penn State to take the Houston Texans position, there is much speculation as to whether he will bolt to his alma mater if offered.  Fox Sports  has stated that Golden is on the short list. 

 

David Jones, who covers Penn State Football through Pennlive.com discusses the fact that Golden was an alum and played under Paterno from 1987 to 1991 and would provide stability to the program as they move forward.

 

Golden has a profound ability to lead a program. He’s great in front of the camera. He has changed cultures for the better at both Temple and Miami. And he understands Penn State and its alums; he’s one of them.

 

While Golden has not spoken publicly on this matter it would not matter. People from South Florida have learned a sense of caution when dealing with the status of coaches.  Seven years ago, then Miami Dolphins Coach, Nick Saban told the community he would not be the coach of Alabama, only to depart to the Crimson Tide 12 days later.  Nonetheless,  reports have surfaced that Penn State Athletic Director, Dave Joyner may announce the next coach in a matter of days. 

 

Another issue is Golden’s performance.  With a record of 22-15 during his tenure in Miami, many question that the team has not been able to beat a top opponent which was exemplified below by Tomahawknation.com.

 

While Miami did beat a then ranked Florida team at the beginning of the season, we later learned that the Gators would only finish 4-8 and have one of the worst teams in 30 years. If you include ranked opponents at the time they played, Golden’s Miami teams are 3-6.  

 

5 Star DE, Chad Thomas, will join Miami next year.  (Photo Source: Under Armour, Inc.)

5 Star DE, Chad Thomas, will join Miami next year. (Photo Source: Under Armour, Inc.)

 

As a positive, Coach Golden and his staff are projected to bring in a top 5 recruiting class based on Rivals.com. Of the 29 recruits, 14 of the players are from South Florida which models the philosophy the Canes used during their championship years.  Of course, with the possibility of Golden and others leaving, the concern is that the recruiting efforts may unravel quickly so the school must prepare quickly if the leader of the program exits on short notice.

 

While there are questions to be answered in Coral Gables, Miami has moved in the right direction.  With the brunt of the NCAA sanctions over and an improved program, the future will be bright. However, if the school wants to be considered a contender in their conference or greater, the defense must improve, the Golden situation must resolve itself and the recruits must maintain their commitment.   

 

 

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