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How Dolphins running backs measured up; Golden/Penn State; UM recruiting

Some Thursday Dolphins and Canes items:

One of the many decisions looming for the Dolphins front office (whoever that might be) is deciding how much of the running game’s shortcomings should be blamed on the backs and how much should be pinned on the blocking. The Dolphins ranked 26th in rushing yards per game and 17th in yards per attempt (4.1).

Too many times, Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas simply had no place to run because of blocking breakdowns. Our sense is that even an elite back would not have produced great numbers behind this line.

But the Dolphins’ backs also bear some level of accountability, and the question is whether the management (be it Jeff Ireland or his replacement) will deem it necessary to add someone to compete with, or replace, Miller or Thomas.

A strong case could be made for adding a hefty back who excels in short yardage – one who could potentially replace Thomas --- or supplement Miller and Thomas, who are both under contract for next season. (The Dolphins like Mike Gillislee, but he’s not a short-yardage back and the Dolphins aren’t sure when or if he will become more than a third-stringer.)

A few points to consider when assessing the work of Miller and Thomas:

### Among the 55 running backs who played at least a quarter of their team’s snaps, Miller’s 4.0 per carry average tied with Bilal Powell and Danny Woodhead for 31st, and Thomas’ 3.7 tied with Pierre Thomas for 39th.

Thomas averaged 5.3 yards as a senior at Kansas State but has averaged just 3.5, 3.6 and now 3.7 yards with the Dolphins. At this rate of a tenth of a yard per-year improvement, he’ll average 4.5 yards per carry (Reggie Bush’s average this season) by his 11th season!

Or Thomas will go somewhere else and average four yards a carry there, because that’s what happens when players leave the Dolphins. Bush, by the way, finished 14th in the NFL in yards per carry average for Detroit this season.

### In terms of yards after contact, Miller ranked 31st of 55 backs at 2.1 (same as Bush) and Thomas was 39th at 2.0 (same, surprisingly, as Frank Gore and Stephen Jackson) . Both obviously ranked in the bottom half of the league in that category. Miller sustained a few runs after contact in the Jets game, but that’s an area he needs to improve.

Of the top seven running backs in yards after contact this season, three will be free agents: Indianapolis’ Donald Brown (first at 3.3), Oakland’s Rashad Jennings (sixth at 2.8) and New England’s LeGarrette Blount (seventh at 2.7). Any of them would obviously help the Dolphins.

### Mike Sherman said he was disappointed that the Dolphins didn’t generate more big-play runs; Miami finished with only eight runs of 20-plus yards, which ranked 22nd in the league and was well behind San Francisco (20) and Philadelphia (19).

Of those eight, Miller had four and Thomas one. Ryan Tannehill had the other three. Miller, with his speed, should produce more than four 20-plus yard runs a year, but he also needs holes to run through.

### We could get clarity on Dolphins firings today or Friday, as Stephen Ross spends another day talking with confidantes and trying to make decisions.

UM NOTES

It will be a nerve-racking next several days for UM, amid reports that Penn State is interested in Al Golden for its coaching job. The Harrisburg (Pa.) newspaper reported that Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Golden top Penn State’s wish list.

The UM administration expects Golden to stay at UM and would be surprised if he left.

But one of Golden’s friends at UM --- who has not spoken to him about this job --- predicted the Penn State job will appeal to him because it’s his alma matter, because Penn State has better facilities, more fan support in terms of attendance, among other reasons.

That said, Golden has repeatedly said how much he wants to see this through here, and his family likes it here. He appreciates that UM, more than a year ago, extended his contract through February 1, 2020, and gave him a significant pay boost last January.

Only Golden could end the speculation by saying that he is not interested in the job, but it serves him no purpose to do that if he is interested or if he wants to use it as leverage. Golden declined overtures from Wisconsin last December.

### UM hoped to come away with an elite receiver among three local prospects in this recruiting class, but they have lost out on two and a third said he is leaning toward Alabama.

Palm Beach Dwyer’s Johnnie Dixon, rated 17th among receivers by rivals.com, orally committed to Ohio State two weeks ago.

Homestead’s Ermon Lane, ranked sixth, said this week he’s “85 percent committed” to Florida, but there’s rampant speculation he might switch to FSU to join buddy Dalvin Cook, the Miami Central running back who committed to the Seminoles Tuesday.

Meanwhile, West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman receiver Travis Rudolph told Canesport.com that Miami is in “good position,” but told another reporter that "Alabama is my leader." FSU also remains in the mix.

Rudolph said he will announce at halftime of Thursday’s Under Armour All American Game at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.

UM is expected to continue recruiting all three, even after their announcements. Remember, Al Golden has said UM was able to flip Stacy Coley very late in the recruiting process last year.

### Please check back later today for Heat notes.              

Comments

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droopy

Thomas has to go, there were to many times he was contacted and just fell down. Both he and Miller can't read the zone blocking so that is another issue. There were at least a dozen times where the cut back was open but neither of these guys made the play. If Gileslee is a 3rd stringer then why is he even still on the team ? Another Ireland disaster or poor coaching ? I saw him play at Florida and I think its poor coaching, more to the point Sherman doesn't like rookies so they wouldn't play.

Time to Move On from Al Golden

It amazes me the patience that some people are rendering Golden when he is making $2.5 million per year and never won a title. Do you realize that if you give every coach a five year scholarship to come to Coral Gables and TRY to do their thing, and they do not win, we will have gone through only four coaches, but would have gone two decades without winning a National Championship. That is 20 years. Does anyone care that the program is now on year 13? This is unacceptable. Things are not any better than when under Randy. Randy was a bit in over his head as a head coach, but he should have been offered to stay on as Defensive Coordinator. Not that he had to fight for the money that was due to him.

I blame the administration more than Golden. Other than Bernie Kosar, the administration has not deferred or asked assistance from some of the best former UM coaches and players in the NFL, let alone hire them. There is no reason UM should be at this depth of mediocrity. The talent, wisdom, experience and success that has come out of that football program in the past 20 years, is unparalleled with any other program in the country. Yet, the administration does not make use of this invaluable resource, even on a consultant basis. The former players and coaches say the same thing! If changes are not made with Golden and/or his staff, then there needs to be more accountability toward the administration.

Saban got Bama to the BCS Championship and won in year three, with dealing with similar NCAA circumstances. Golden wholeheartedly believes that the Canes are not where we need to be in year three. Really? So, why stick with him then. So, how long will it take before the Canes are "Where we need to be"? Five, six, seven years into his stay? Basically two recruiting classes. Letting him play out his contract with no accountability and championships until 2020 will be 19 years since UM won it all. People must be insane to allow this to happen when better/championship proven coaches are available.

No doubt Golden is perhaps a nice guy, hard worker, good recruiter. However, if those kids aren't coached up, you'll have mediocrity indefinitely stepping forward no matter what star ranking they have.

Personally the under the radar recruiting of three star kids, who are coached up to become first round NFL picks, is what I prefer. Less time chasing after the same carrot all the other schools are chasing with the four and five star kids, and more time you can devote towards developing your signed talent. Butch is the master at that, as taught by Jimmy Johnson. The only prequisites Butch and Jimmy had is that the recruit had to have a chip on their shoulder, a fire in their belly, and be fast, fast, fast, so that they could take a Safety and make them a linebacker, or take a tight end and make them a defensive tackle.

Since the administration, the coaching staff, and many of this sites bloggers do not have the urgency to WIN, it may be time to take the U off the helmet and replace it with an M. M not being for Miami, but M for mediocrity.

Silasrude

Welcome back Barry. Hope you had a good holiday break. As always, thank you for your Dolphins contributions.

I would be greatly interested to hear your take on whether or not you believe this is the right G.M. and coaching staff to continue to lead the Dolphins.

I personally would like to see them gone. I have wanted Ireland gone since he traded up into the second round to draft Daniel Thomas. You don't trade up into the second round to draft backup running backs. As far as the coaches, I've seen enough. Blah. Uninspiring. Ill prepared. Can't adapt. I have never cared for coaches that were all about their "system." You build your system around the players you have.

Philbin and Ireland are too intertwined to keep one and let the other go. You can't blame the past two years of mistakes on one and not the other. They are both culpable.

BUT. Who do you replace them with? I have a bad feeling in my gut that Ross is going to screw this up. Same old retreads doing the same stupid things in a new place. Sigh.

What should they do Barry?

Barry Jackson

Thanks, Silas. Too often, the Dolphins have changed EITHER the coach OR the GM and it never works. If you're making changes, don't go only half-way. If Ross fires Ireland, he cannot burden the new GM with the mandate of keeping Philbin. Both coaching and personnel decisions are clearly to blame for this franchise's sustained mediocrity.

Marios

I believe Ireland has had a fair chance and did not get the job done, there is no excuses left anymore.
I believe we can make a GM change AND keep Philbin, who is a very organized and dedicated coach, his demeanor I believe is due to lack of experience and will improve with a bit more self-confidence.
Philbin's failure, I believe, is undervaluing the importance of veteran personalities in the locker room, even if they stir the pot a little bit. He seemed threatened by anyone who had opinions that differed from him.
However, he seemed to make a change when the Incognito/Martin fiasco came about, actually letting guys talk to the press, I think it energized the team for a bit but we hit a wall at the end because of lack of talent.
That is on Ireland, not Philbin.
Conclusion, Ireland out, Sherman out, OL coach out, Philbin 50/50.

Marios

With the 19th pick hope we get an offensive playmaker for the red zone and third down like Ebron at TE or Mike Evans at WR(who is more of a WR/TE hybrid and a nightmare for defenses ala Aaron Hernandez).
2nd or 3rd. round, we need a ball hawking safety to replace Clemons, who is not starter material.
As for the OL we can pick up a couple in free agency and draft a tackle of guard in 2nd or 3rd depending who is there.
Why not try Jerry at RT where he did well a couple years ago, is he a FA?

4Real

I like Golden, he is the reason the team now has food on the training tables, are in good physical condition, and are developing as football players. Quit crying about the 80s and 90s. This team has a much better chance to continue to climb out of the irrelevant column with Golden than they ever will without him. Look around the country and you will see what makes a championship team is a unique set of circumstances combined with leadership. Golden epitomizes leadership. UM was having great difficulty landing qualified coaches and reasonable talent levels when Golden took over.

MiaDolFan

"If you're making changes, don't go only half-way. If Ross fires Ireland, he cannot burden the new GM with the mandate of keeping Philbin."

...I agree 100%. Unfortunately, Ross has shown he does not understand this.

Penguin

It isn't fair to assess Golden yet. At first, his team was made of Randy Shannon's recruits. And it is only recently that he has been able to recruit free of the cloud from the NCAA investigation.

Let's see what he does in the next two years or so.

MiaDolFan

I guess "Time to Move On from Al Golden" never heard of the NCAA sanctions Al Golden has had to deal with during his tenure here. Randy Shannon had no sanctions to deal with. What was his excuse?

TK SWANN

TIME TO MOVE ON YOU HIT IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD AND IF GOLDEN WOULD ONLY GET RID OF HIS DC THAN I FEEL THINGS WILL MOVE FORWARD QUICKER. IF HE DOES NOT THAN LET HIM LEAVE FOR PENN ST, BRING BACK BUTCH AND WATCH THE CANES WIN ACC COASTAL OR ACC WITHIN 2 YEARS WITH THE SAME TALENT. IF HE STOP PUTTING ALL THE BLAME ON PLAYERS AND START ACCEPTING THE COACHING "FAILURES"(HALF TIME ADJUSTMENTS ETC.) THE CANES HAVE ENOUGH TALENT TO BEAT EVERYONE IN THE ACC RIGHT NOW EXCEPT ??? I REFUSE TO SAY IT. GOLDEN HAS RUN OUT OF EXCUSES AND FRANKLY IT'S TIME TO BE TIRED OF THEM.

Al Golden's Resume

Barry,

From your reporting, I take it you're a huge Al Golden supporter. I apologize if I'm mistaken.

With that said, Golden is now 0-9 vs teams in ranked in the Final AP Poll. The average score in the 9 games is 19-38.

2011 - Lost to KSU
2011 - Lost to FSU
2011 - Lost to Virginia Tech
2012 - Lost to FSU
2012 - Lost to KSU
2012 - Lost to Notre Dame
2013 - Lost to FSU
2013 - Lost to Duke
2013 - Lost to Louisville

Time to Move On from Al Golden

MiaDolFan - Nick Saban had similar issues at Alabama when he first went there. At the end of his first season, the NCAA made him forfeit 5 games. However, he forged ahead and won the Championship in his third year, and won three out of the last four. The recruits aren't the reason for success or failure. Its coaching these kids up that is important/most vital. During the NCAA issue with Butch (which was a lot worse than this past time around with Golden), Butch recruited kids that were not even being recruited by other schools. Case in point Santana Moss. Butch had Moss register with UM on a track scholarship and then coached him up to be a receiver. The rest is history. Reggie Wayne and Ed Reed from New Orleans were not even being recruited by no bigger schools than Tulane and Tulsa, when they were right in LSU's back yard. Finally, Clinton Portis also didn't have any big school offers coming out of Gainesville. Spurrier shunned him at the time. Butch recognized speed, upside potential, desire and will to win. Who cares about four and five star players. Get hungry players who are fast that are three star players that develop into NFL first rounders. Butch is a great coach. The school needs to get past their personal issues with him, hire him back and let him do what he does best: WIN and develop MORE NFL TALENT, than any other school in the past 20 years.

Dashi

I know this isn't a popular opinion in Sfla, but keep Ireland and Philbin 1 more year.

This team only really has 1 hole to fill the O-line. Ireland has done his job. And will continue to do a good job if given an opportunity to finish what he started. (Yes, I know this isn't a popular opinion but it is the truth. Over the last 5 years nobody in the AFC East has drafted better, Name 1 team. This team has talent on the roster.)

And those complaining about coaches and their "System" must hate every great coach that has ever lived. Lombardi, Shula, Belichick, Walsh, Etc. I wouldn't want a coach who doesn't have a set system. It shows he has no vision what he wants his team to look like. You wouldn't want to work for someone who doesn't have a set system and adjusts his company according to his employees. That is bad management.

It isn't like we went 4-12 after 7-9 last year. Yes, we should be better than 8-8 this season(At least 10-6 if we had a better Kicker, 12-4 with a decent O-line.). But how many of you negative Dolphins fans were expecting even worst, The Majority of you. Very hypocritical if you ask Dashi.

Also, Give L.Miller more Carries. Even at 4 ypc given an average workload for a starting RB of 250 carries he will get over 1000 yds. Something Reggie Bush and Ronnie Brown only did ONCE THEIR WHOLE CAREER. This behind the worst O-line in team history.

Again, Ireland and Philbin deserve 1 more season. If they go 9-7 or worst next year, then FIRE EVERYONE.

BUT You shouldn't Fire someone after the 2nd season of a rebuild. Well actually the First. Cause last year Philbin couldn't go FA shopping because we were cap strapped from the Parcells and Spo rebuilt.

Dashi

Randy Shannon is the reason UM had Sanctions.

Neil's ghost

Jeffy Ireland doesn't have time to be fired. He is working the phones to trade up in the draft to get an injured long snapper from Upper Central Western South Dakota Tech.

202canefan

It isn't fair to assess Golden yet. At first, his team was made of Randy Shannon's recruits. And it is only recently that he has been able to recruit free of the cloud from the NCAA investigation.

Let's see what he does in the next two years or so.

***
The only issue w/this statement is.... When Al was introduced as the new head coach, I probably read it at least 100 times how the new staff were going to coach up Randy's recruits.. That hasn't really happened. I believe Al is the right person for the job, but it seems like our fans sure bend over backwards to excuse Al, yet gave Randy hell..

Mike H. '88

With that said, Golden is now 0-9 vs teams in ranked in the Final AP Poll. The average score in the 9 games is 19-38.

2011 - Lost to KSU
2011 - Lost to FSU
2011 - Lost to Virginia Tech
2012 - Lost to FSU
2012 - Lost to KSU
2012 - Lost to Notre Dame
2013 - Lost to FSU
2013 - Lost to Duke
2013 - Lost to Louisville

Posted by: Al Golden's Resume | 01/02/2014 at 11:30 AM

.


B.I.N.G.O.

And there U have it. Accountability. I too like Al. But he's not above being held accountable just like any Coach that has not led his team to an end of the Season Top-25 ranking, much less even beat one in TRHEE YEARS. If we (especially Donna) are ok and content with average to good 7, 8, 9 or going for that ever elusive 10 win seasons, maybe a Coastal every 4-5 years, but get hammered by FSU or Clemson in the ACC Championship game and then predominantly December Bowl appearances, then an average to good X's n O's gameday Coach like Golden is our guy.

But for the life of me, how so many fans turn blind eyes on how he evaluates his BFF as the DC and sees no problem there, you, we and I will be getting the same product year after year. Our Defense makes me physically ill to watch most of the time. Al must have a secret antidote that he takes and sells to those that think he's some kind of savior Head Coach.

And Penn St. is not going after him. Al's agent will make it seem that way to squeeze out some more bucks or job security (especially for his buddy). Penn. St. wants to distance themselves are far away as possible from ANYBODY with ANY ties whatsoever to Joe Paterno with this next KEY hire I assure U. But, let's just say for arguements sake that they did pursue Golden. The first question they would ask is, "Are you willing to take off that stupid-silly Paternoesque looking tie and look the part of a 21st. Century Head Football Coach on the sideline Al?"

That ship has sailed far, far over the horizon.

InsureThisOnline

Wait till next year...for sure we'll be in a BCS Bowl and the Super Bowl...mark these words!

Frustrated DolFan

I am totally blown away way with those who want AG fired. We all have to realize the U is not quite the destination it was back in the 80's & 90's. In this day and age of the 3 hat monte, recruits want it to be all about them and what they can get out of the 3 years they plan on staying in college (evident of Cook's statement about FSU). With inferior facilities, almost no fan support and having to play in a stadium 30 minutes away from campus it is a much harder sell than Time to move on might think.

What AG has been able to accomplish over the last few years is nothing short of a miracle. I too expect championship caliber teams but considering the conditions this staff came in under i have been impressed. Golden could have easily left amid the NCAA investigation that by the way he was not aware of upon accepting this position but he stayed loyal to this program and as fans we need to reciprocate that loyalty. Don't forget the Death Penalty was being discussed at this time last year not something pending recruits want to her about. Enough about Butch Davis and him coming back. Shalala won't touch him under the present circumstances of both parties. With that being said what top coaching prospect would come to the U?

Anthony

Time for AG to go.I pray PSU convinces him to come home.

Same Verse, Same as the First ...

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Frustrated Golden Apologist ... ACCOUNTABILITY !

Golden prior to this Season - "We're a far more mature, experienced, stronger and deeper Football Team this year in year 3. There are NO MORE EXCUSES."

Golden Saturday after the game - "We made too many mistakes but we'll get it fixed. We just won 9 games for only the 3rd. time in a decade." ? ? ? Yippie ?

Golden next Fall - "We have a ton of young and inexperienced new players that will be expected to come in and compete for immediate playing time. All positions are open for competition. It's all part of the process. We'll get it fixed."

2011 - Lost to KSU
2011 - Lost to FSU
2011 - Lost to Virginia Tech
2012 - Lost to FSU
2012 - Lost to KSU
2012 - Lost to Notre Dame
2013 - Lost to FSU
2013 - Lost to Duke
2013 - Lost to Louisville

of those losses, it's not just that they were losses, it was the manner in which they were losses... Beatdowns. Absolute Smoked, Beatdowns. No excuses.

pick a card

What AG has been able to accomplish over the last few years is nothing short of a miracle.

2011 - Lost to KSU
2011 - Lost to FSU
2011 - Lost to Virginia Tech
2012 - Lost to FSU
2012 - Lost to KSU
2012 - Lost to Notre Dame
2013 - Lost to FSU
2013 - Lost to Duke
2013 - Lost to Louisville

If those games were miricles, maybe we should hire David Blaine.

pick a card

With that being said what top coaching prospect would come to the U?

Posted by: Frustrated DolFan | 01/02/2014 at 02:20 PM

David Blaine Head Coach ... Criss Angel Defensive Coordinator.

Then let the Miracles commence.

FanAboutTown

The program is not going to move any further forward with D'Onofrio as DC. I appreciate the stability and integrity Golden has brought to the program. He was the right man for the job at the time. But the D has shown very little signs of improvement in 3 years. If Golden is not willing to left D'Ono go, then he needs to move on to Penn State and take his buddy with him.

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