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The Hot Stove: Virginia, Spurrier, BC, recruiting and the worst season ever?

With the UM basketball team out of town and the Canes football team playing at Virginia, I got my first weekend off in three months. So if your wondering why I skipped on the 5 Most Important Things and Sunday Shout Outs this weekend, you've got your answer. I was enjoying life. Besides, I figured there probably aren't too many Canes fans left who actually care about this season anymore.

VirginiatdAfter all, it has to be the worst Hurricanes season I've watched in my 28 years on earth. Did I watch Saturday's game? Yes. It was painful. What did any of us really learn about this team from this recent loss we didn't know already? I'll say this about Saturday's 17-7 loss (not that it deserves much): Why on earth did the coaching staff wait until the final 5 minutes to start throwing the ball downfield? Did they miss the video of FSU's rout of Virginia two weeks ago? Anyway, like I said before, this season is shot. The likelihood of a UM victory Thursday against Boston College is slim. The Canes are banged up physically and the emotional toll is beyond repair. A win over BC at this point would be the result of some guys -- namely the seniors -- on this team playing out of their minds because they don't want to go out on a 5-game losing streak and be known as the leaders of the worst team at UM in the modern era.

Anyway, the real point of discussion here for Canes fans are the latest developments regarding next year's new coaching staff. I know it hasn't been reported as official yet. But is there any real reason to believe Coker and company will be back? Most in the biz believe the decision of his departure will be made Friday morning. Stay tuned.

SpurrierAs for the possible replacements: A few weeks ago I told you all one of my sources told me South Carolina's Steve Spurrier was UM's No. 1 choice. Canesport apparently found other sources on the UM campus who are saying the same things. Spurrier may have denied the rumors Sunday. But stop for a moment and think about why. He's still the coach of South Carolina. He's got a job. For him to come out and flat out say he is interested in the midst of his season would be stupid. He's got recruits to worry about if he doesn't decide the money is right. Same for Schiano. The bottomline in this business for the people involved to deny, deny, deny until a deal is completely finalized. Was it just me, or did any of you hear Butch Davis on Hank Goldberg's show last week deny he had any serious discussions on the North Carolina job? Two days later, UNC made the formal announcement Davis was going to be its coach.

If anything good came out of Sunday's latest rumor mill -- and the Canesport article by Gary Ferman -- is that UM is apparently sending out the message it is interested in spending big bucks. Of course, that's no guarantee until the Hurricanes pull the trigger. But where there's smoke, there usually is fire. And if that's the case, the fact the school is apparently willing to spend the money to make an immediate fix should make Canes fans happy.

Some people have asked why didn't UM can Coker in the middle of the season and open up the coaching search early? In the end, I feel like Paul Dee and the rest of the powers that be at UM felt the need to at least give Coker the rest of the season. After all, didn't he win a national title? I feel like Dee felt he owed Coker at least that. Besides, to me, I don't know what good firing Coker in the middle of the season would have honestly done anyway. Common sense tells you everyone who could be a possible replacement is probably in the middle of coaching another team. Well, what about Butch Davis (I'm sure you're thinking)? I don't think he was ever seriously someone The U was considering. And I'm sure that message was delivered in some way.

Oops. Before I forget, here's a recruiting update:
-- Expect Monsignor Pace DB DeMarcus Van Dyke (an early UM committment) to spurn the Canes and pick Florida along with cousin, RB Armando Allen, when the two announce their decision together on Dec. 1.
-- Of the nine oral commitments UM currently has, the only ones I'd say are locked in stone are RB Graig Cooper (No. 1 Prep School Player in the country), Belle Glade Glades Central DB Damien Berry, JUCO WR Kayne Farquharson, OL Harland Gunn, recent addition WR Taurus McKinley (Berry's teammate) and QB Nick Fanuzzi.
-- Defensive back Phelon Jones (a four-star recruit from Alabama) was one of the original nine oral commitments. But he told several recruiting gurus recently the murder of Bryan Pata has his parents concerned.  Plus, Phelon has been checking out other schools of late. Doesn't sound like a guy headed here.
-- Defensive tackle Chris Perry, a 6-3, 319-pound defensive tackle from Texas (an original UM oral commitment) recently took an unofficial trip to Oklahoma. Perry of course made his solid commitment "a soft one" two months ago when the rumors of a major overhaul at UM began to appear imminent.

OK. I'm done reporting and ranting. It's your turn. These are the items for debate:
1. Should UM give defensive coordinator Randy Shannon consideration for the coaching job and instead of spending big money, give Shannon a chance to be the leader of this program?
2. Should UM use Thursday's game as an exhibition for freshman and sophomores and the future leaders of this team? Or should they play their best and try to win and salvage a meaningless bowl berth?
3. Has this been the worst season and stretch ever for the Hurricanes? If not, what has been the worst/stretch ever?