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What ails the Canes?

What ails this University of Miami football program? What has caused this five time national championship program to look more like a middle of the pack team these days instead of the juggernaut it once was when it rolled in out of stadiums on Saturdays? Why is Miami still struggling to beat Duke at home? Why is Miami losing to 1-4 North Carolina on the road? Why can't the Canes play four quarters of football? Wasn't this all supposed to be remedied under the leadership of Randy Shannon?

Those are some of the questions U fans have been asking lately and one many of you thought would get resolved once Larry Coker was removed from his post. But through six games this season, the Hurricanes still have you nervous. They still have you yelling at your TV in frustration. So what is still causing these Canes to smell as stinky as last year's 7-6 team? Ask Shannon and he'll tell you its matter of trust. Sunday, he said his players needed to be reprogrammed.

This week, I want to challenge you (hopefully, we can make this a weekly feature). I want to know what you think. What ails the Canes? I'm going to try and answer this question on my own and provide you with my answer Wednesday. But I want to see what you think. Feel free to answer the question below between now and 6 p.m. Wednesday. The person with the best response in my opinion will get to be a guest blogger this Friday on a topic I'll discuss with them via email. Please keep your answers to What Ails the Canes to 500 words or less. Thanks. And have fun.

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The guy who writes for the "Allcanes" blog may have identified the major reason that this team is so bad. He feels Coker's recruiting class of 2004 has been mostly a TOTAL BUST with the exception of Calais Campbell and Eric Moncur. A lot of that class has either been dropped from the U for various reasons or are mediocre players at best. These guys should be leading this team now as upperclassmen, but there simple weren't any leaders in that group. It shows, BIG TIME.

When you look at the kids that were recruited that year, we got basically NOTHING. My feeling is that wherever necessary, Randy should start playing his own recruits and benching the remainder of this bunch. Unfortunately, it's too risky to be playing McKenzie and Marve after their injuries in a car accident, which may not have fully healed, so we are stuck with playing Wright or Freeman and a few of the marginal receivers Coker brought in. (Let's not forget that Kyle's had a different OC every year he's been here. No wonder his head's a mess.)

There is just no way we are going to get much out of this team this season. We'll have to suffer through another marginal year and hope things improve in 2008.

I've been a Cane fan since 1966. Grew up in Miami. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
These kids are still Larry Cokers kids. Some good, some not so good. It's all about talent.
Coker slept walked his way through
his first two seasons and was within an Ibis hair of winning NC back to back because he had the talent. Butch's talent. End of story. Just look around the NFL on any given Sunday.
Ken Dorsey was an average kid with a weak arm but a great head. He, like Steve Walsh, Gino Torreta and even Bernie Kosar just steered the ship and let the talent around him light it up. We don't have that talent here...yet. I think Shannon can recruit. Time will tell. Donna Shalala will have to lower academic standards as well. Kids like Nevelle Divine are no longer accepted at the U. She has made it clear that it's Acedamia before Athletics. I still bleed Orange and Green no matter what happens.
Whoosh, Whoosh...Old School baby...Go Canes.

There are some very valid points included in this conversation already however the answer came to me Sunday when I was thinking about what bothered me most about the Canes. When I see them play flat against inferior teams and then read comments from the players like, "We weren't into it in the beginning of the game" (do you have soemthing better to do on a Saturday afternoon)it really gets me thinking. Has UM just become regarded to the players as a stepping stone to the NFL with a lessoned sense of 'team'? When people talk about lack of talent and Cokers recruits, I'm not buying it. They have the talent and speed but not showing up for some games has been their MO for years regardless of the coach. I just see it as players having one foot in the U and the other in the NFL. I have the ESPN college package and I can honestly say that I have never seen a team that just doesn't show up sometimes. I always tell friends that I do not worry about an inspired UM team playing against a top rated opponent, I worry about an uninspied team that is to busy reading their own headlines and living in the past.

It's a tough call to say what ails the canes.. but my thoughts are that.. every team is going to go through this it just happens that its our turn.. many things have happened since that glorious 2001 season.. shalala has more of an input trying to force academia or football... where im pretty sure the schools gets the most money and probably help play for her benz.. im not too concerned about this season these are still coker's recruits and have been total failures.. it might not be there fault coker firing the entire staff last year bad decision.. Dee and shalala allowing it to happen unacceptable but oh well you move... Shannon is an amazing coach when he gets his guys we will see the U return...and its not that he's getting out-coached he cant be on the field tackling.. thats what it comes down too... you can practice hard all you want.. but if the team is in a lull and doesnt have the desire to win on the road.. that cant be the coach's fault.. one thing Coach Shannon lacks is intensity...

Manny, everything that the 2 guys on top of me wrote is ABSOLUTLY TRUE. Coker was an idiot, u have no idea how much it freakin makes me mad every time i just think at what that douchebag did to the Canes... he made them average.

And that leads me to my point. If u see Cokers recruting classes, there were all full of recruits that rivals or scout had as four or five stars. To alot of people this would sound like a good thing, but if u think about it, its not always good. The only reason coker recruited these guys is that they were four or five stars, thats it. He never spoke with the recruits and got to know them like RS is doing, and by this he couldnt see if the recruit really had heart, and had that miami swagger and leadersip that makes a recruit a CANE. The last couple of recuits that RS has gotten to commit have been 2 or 3 stars, but im sure that there is something in them that RS saw that makes that kid a cane... remember, Ray lewis was a 2 star..... GO CANES, GET YO SWAGGER BACK!

Manny,

Good question, What ails this team?

It's a couple of things that most people can point out. In my eyes its:

1. defensive breakdowns in pass coverage. I noticed when UNC used multiple WR's our coverage broke down with guys double covering WR's and letting someone run free. When they put recievers in motion, our DB's looked confused.
2. No power running, pass protection is good but there were little holes for James and Coop. Rochford is ok but sometimes doesn't block the right guy to spring the RB for a big gain.
3. Dline is neutralized, McCray is small and doesn't demand a double team, he makes plays but also gets pushed around. Both DT's need to command a double team. Teams take advantage of Campbell and Moncur rushing the QB and run right at the gap.
4. Play-calling seems bland, on 3 and 1 or 4th and 1 we run toss sweeps?
5. WR's need to play hard on every play, I saw Jenkins wide open on some pass plays and he never looked back to the QB, you'd think with him being KW's go to guy, he's think the ball was coming to him on every play...
6. Oh yeah, QB play is amazing at one moment and terrible the next, just like this team.

We are good enough to win every game, and bad enough to lose all of them. I believe in Shannon and his staff, it just sucks not winning these games..

My ADD is far too strong for me to read these paragraph responses.

As a born and raised boy from Miama (notice the olde pronunciation) I have seen the great teams and I have seen the poor ones. Surprisingly, the difference between the two is small. A great team has talent, and it has knowledge; a great team practices 6 days a week and plays one. The same can be said of a poor team. It’s the intangibles that separate the two. Greatness is not just a desire to win, as all athletes wish to win, and it is not just heart and effort, for I have seen teams try with all their might and still not reach the upper echelon of the football world. The answer is conviction. A great team walks onto the field and knows that they are going to win, a great team might be down at half-time but they know that they are going to win, and a great team might be playing in an away game across the country, with no fans traveling to see them but they know that they are going to win.

The 2007 Miami Hurricanes are not a great team. They have talent, they practice hard 6 days a week, they want to win, they will fight to win, but deep down they don't walk onto a field and know that they are going to win. In 2001 the Hurricanes believed that they would win ever game they played, and they did. In 2002 the Hurricanes believed that they would win every game that they played, they didn't, but they were still a great team. When the 2002 Hurricanes were down in overtime in the Fiesta bowl, no one sat with their heads down, with a towel over their face, or with their backs turned from the field. Each and every one of them were excited for the next play, they were encouraged because deep down inside they knew that they were going to win. This team does not believe that they will win every game they play. Looking at their faces during the UNC game it became completely evident. Coach Shannon is not totally right with his assertion, the 2007 Hurricanes don’t not trust the coaches; they don't trust themselves.

What everyone has said is valid and I think it's evident there are a plethora of reasons the Canes have arrived at the point they find themselves. I read the posts on the 2004 class and I did not realize what a bust it was/is until today. So certainly that doesn't help. I would add that Shannon and everyone who keeps saying the issue is focus and coaching and trust is simply dodging the issue of talent, or specifically the lack thereof. There is no switch these kids can throw to suddenly make the kickers, tight ends, or QBs better than average. Improvements from last year have been offset by significant losses.

But you can't blame it all on talent, otherwise the 1997 recruiting class would never have panned out into the NFL U mini-dynasty of 2000-2003. What the Canes lack is a hunger to score, a reckless abandon to succeed, to inflict pain on the field and be the greatest. The us-against-the world mentality. Old UM teams would have lost to UNC and said (even to their fans) "go ahead, doubt us, we'll show you and you'll be back cheering for us. And even if you don't, screw you, we're the U and we've never needed you, we win with 25K in the stands!" Not these Canes.

I don't think that comes from players anticipating the NFL. I think that in large part came from Coker, but I do not blame the man. He presided over a coaching staff that got started winning 24 striaght games, that had rediculous talent left to it and won with such frequency it made it seem easy. When their games were close, it was because of a lack of focus. When they finally lost, it was because of robbery by a crappy call. There was no accountability, no sense that you had to work for it. That same trend is starting to slow USC down as well. Cokers recruiting classes came in with a sense of entitlement. Entitled to start. Entitled to win. Entitled to go to the NFl and succeed. Shannon today said "you have to unrecruit a recruit" and convince him he isn't all that so that he works hard for it. That was Coker's greatest failure, because he himself was never "unrecruited."

And when it all came unglued at the end of the 2005 season, these players had no thick skin. Leaders like Ed Reed and even Brock Berlin (that guy never believed they were out of a game) were gone. Now they play terrified of making a mistake, of ridicule from fans and fellow students. Every breakthrough they have, whether Va Tech in 2005 or Texas A&M this year creates immense pressure to maintain the "we're back" by which ESPN and fans mean we're back to 35 game winning streaks and beating all comers by 30. These are damaged Canes and that cannot be fixed between games or even in one year. It's going to be a process, and I for one am willing to wait it out and support them.

BTW I don't think the kids at UM now don't try. I give them all the credit in the world and will keep rooting through wins and losses for their effort. I thank them for what they've given the U, and I feel sorry they are leaving at the turn of the tide.

The answer is simple, we as fans expect the canes to perform at the level they did when they won all the titles and most of these players are good but not great. I was telling my wife after the UNC game that most of the teams UM had when they were winning the NC had 7-8 per unit that were great football players. Now we do not have that luxury, we only have 1-2 at best per unit that are great players. We need to be patient enough to see what kind of players Randy brings in, because we no longer can afford to play down to the opposition level.

What happened to the Canes? Very simple, we started to recruit in other States instead of dominating our territory. We picked up 4 and 5 star duds who dominated their high school classifications in states that aren't very competitive in FB. As a result we lost out on guys like Dwayne Bowe, Nate Harris, Ali Highsmith (UM Pedigree), and H.B. Blades (UM Pedigree). Now schools like Florida and LSU have picked up our slack and have started to cherry pick recruits out of SoFla. Good thing that Shannon made it a priority to recruit SoFla and now he's getting a great class coming in. I don't how you feel about this but I'd rather have a "two" star athlete out of Dade or Broward then a 4 or 5 star athelete out of Middle of nowhere USA. Our kids down here have proved time and time again that Dade ad Broward has the best talent in America (We have two high school teams in the top 5). Give Shannon 3 more years to build up our dynasty again, and we will again be a top 5 team. Simply put if we can control the 305, 954, and 561 nobody will be able to compete with our talent.

OKAY........YOU ASKED RIGHT?

Well, there are some things that are complicated and a couple things that aren't very complicated.

A lot of good teams play down to the level of competition. That isn't unusual. I'm not in panick mode over this. Have you seen the polls this year? USC has played down to its competition this year and it finally caught up with them for example.

My take is this:

1) I am not one of these fans that likes to call out individual players so I will call out a couple of key positions that directly affect what Miami tries to do.

The quarterback position is average at best. Inconsistent at worse. There isn't a QB on the team that has the recognition necessary to pick apart a good defensive unit. This puts too much pressure on a running game that isn't quite physical enough. They don't use the fullback and tight ends and don't break enough tackles consistently. Blitz recognition from the QB position has been a problem. I was pleased to see after the Oklahoma embarassment the team work the middle of the field more. They still don't do it enough but it has helped. This is the strenth of Kyle Wright. Get those recievers into slants and crossing routes and get the tight end involved down the seams.

2. Special teams has been simply pathetic even by high school standards where I am from....lol. There isn't a kicker on the team that kicks with even modest consistency or distance. Shannon and his staff need to throw a scholarship or two at this position. Look at JC transfers. Anything because the answer isn't on this team.

Coverage has somewhat improved but still isn't there and last week was the first time I saw anyone on the team break some long runs. That's a start.

Special teams wins games and special teams loses games. There isn't an elite college team in the country with poor special teams. Trust me on that. You don't win many games averaging 25-30 yards on punts.

3. Defense simply isn't physical enough and they don't play assignment football well enough. The are poor communicators. Blown coverages. At least one major one a game. Usually more. The linebacker position is very thin. Someone has to step up.

SUMMARY:

Coaching is not the problem. This team isn't constructed to win games and no, I am not on the blame Larry Coker train. I don't buy this notion that Larry Coker is the blame. He isn't the only one who recruited these players. The hire of Randy Shannon is from within. People convieniently forget that, just like they forget Coker was hired from within on the staff that put together championship personel. Coker had some highly rated recruiting classes too. The QB position was his downfall. Along with the handling of the staff but I digress. It isn't just one guy. It is a team of coaches and a team of players. Give it the time that is necessary. Shannon will need a couple of classes. The talent pool is way too thin now. There aren't even enough good role players. Not to mention NFL players...lol.

I think several things ail the Canes.

1. Talent. We don't have the horses that we are used to having. Under Larry Coker, our recruiting as a whole took a hit. We simply don't have the elite athletes of a USC, or an Oklahoma, or LSU right now.

2. Sense of Entitlement (Mentality). I think this directly relates to #1. They play down to their competition because they believe they should win just because they are Miami. What they have to understand is that they are not THAT MIAMI. They have to go out and play hard and with focus and energy EVERY SINGLE TIME they play, no matter who it is, because they are fighting to regain national prominence, they must their hard hats and lunch pails each and every week, regardless of who they play. If they play every game with the energy and focus they play TAMU with, they would be just fine.

3. Lack of Senior Leadership. It appears that no one on the team is a vocal leader, that can actually get the best out of his teammates. There are no Ed Reeds' or Joaquin Gonzales' that can get the best out of their teammates by challenging them. There is NO WAY, you can tell me they went into UNC unmotivated and with no energy. HOW? The last time you had a rank that really meant anything, they knocked you off and ran onto the field on you! D-Mo and Kyle Wright both said they remembered that and it was a feeling they didn't want to feel again, so why didn't that get conveyed to the whole team? Why did they allow their teammates to come in to UNC game so flat?

My comments are very general and don't apply to all the team. I believe right now Darnell Jenkins has left it all on the field. If I had to pick a team MVP so far this season, its him. But even he needs to be more vocal. Teams tend to take on the mentality of leadership. This team still has Coker's mentality. What I mean by that is this. When Butch Davis left, Coker was the overwhelming favorite of the players...why??? They were familiar with him and they knew he wouldn't change things as new coaches from different places often do. However, his weaknesses (in leadership and motivating) were covered up because he didn't have to worry about those things because he had leaders in the locker room, right now, that's what is missing. Once Shannon can "deprogram" them, and he gets some of "his" guys in the program, things will change and I believe change in a hurry, but until then, we will have to be tone down our expectations, as the team Shannon was left is just not very good.

I think it was the lack of (1) discipline and a small slip in (2) recruiting and (3) Coker firing all the long time coaches like Art Kehoe. (1)These players that are currently there were aloud to do just about anything. So this would leave them to believe they don't have to work as hard to be champions. With a few years of this caused the program not to live up to its expectations. Shannon is the perfect coach to show just how hard you do have to work and how discipline will affect you on and off the field. You can al;ready see improvements. Just some more wrinkles to iron out. (2) Well, the past 3 years the recruiting classes were ranked at 12, 14, and 13. Enough said on that part. Gotta be in the top 5 to have a championship team. (3) Did the firing of all those coaches save Coker's job? NO! It was the head man all along. No really a bad coach, just a bad head coach that wanted to be their buddy rather than a father/leader type of figure. This is why we have Big Daddy with Shannon. He'll get the right coaches and recruit the right players. He knows what it takes to be a champion. Maybe not next year, but the year after for sure.

Upperclassmen leadership!

A steady stream of great talent is lacking. It takes time to get great players with talent to mature and dominate.

This is what the U's current curse is -- we are attractive to great talent cause they are going to start and start right away but they won't be great until they got some years under their belt, ergo losses still will come.

What we need are the days when we got experienced and great talent waiting in the wings in three to four deep talent.

Key though was we had great QB's to make do any weak positions.

Start Marve and let the chips fall where they may. By next year we will get the talent to experience ratio going again.

Just my two cents in.

ugh sorry for the typos.

I believe what has hurt the canes is a losing environment that has been created and accepted by the players. This is the reason why Shannon believes he has to re-program the players. It is all about attitude. That is the major difference between these canes and that of the past canes. Im sure the past canes would not allow themselves to be overcome mentally and losing was rare to them. Once you accept losing, it becomes a normalcy in your life. That is the attitude they have. What Randy needs to do is change that mentality, and what better way then bring up a crop of undefeated recruits (NW Bulls) who aren't used to losing, to back up what Randy is preaching. Basically, you are a product of your environment, and their environment has not been a winning one for a couple of years. Thats my take.

I believe what has hurt the canes is a losing environment that has been created and accepted by the players. This is the reason why Shannon believes he has to re-program the players. It is all about attitude. That is the major difference between these canes and that of the past canes. Im sure the past canes would not allow themselves to be overcome mentally and losing was rare to them. Once you accept losing, it becomes a normalcy in your life. That is the attitude they have. What Randy needs to do is change that mentality, and what better way then bring up a crop of undefeated recruits (NW Bulls) who aren't used to losing, to back up what Randy is preaching. Basically, you are a product of your environment, and their environment has not been a winning one for a couple of years. Thats my take.

I think it's a big mistake that we did not
convince Butch Davis to come back to the U
And pay him...Shannon was a very good DC
but was far from being the best choice to be the Head Coach for the Miami program which is very demanding...The players don't
trust the coachig staff and they don't trust each others and it shows on the field...

What ails the Hurricanes?
1. Talent of the team: This year and next year if you look at potential NFL draft picks and at what round in the draft they will go, this will not compare well with prior years. In some of our losses we did not have the talent compared tothe other team.
2. The opposition has greatly improved in this year of parity among the teams. Look at Notre Dame and its stuggle this year as the competition has improved- the loss of their prior terific quarterback Brady Quinn can tip the scales easily in favor of the opposing team justlike the loss of our prior great players tipped the scales as well.
3. The coaching on the other teams has improved. Look at UNC with Butch Davis, South Carolina with Steve Spurrier, Rutgers with Greg Shiano. I do believe in some of our losses we were outcoached.

Manny, there is two problems which others have addressed but have failed to distinguish as two individual problems:
1) Of course Larry Coker caused the talent to drop off, as compared to the talent we are use to getting. The recruiting classes consistenly decreased with each year and so did the records. It all starts with the talent. Someone gave a great example with the 2004 class. The best example is looking at this last incoming class, that class was garbage until Shannon was given a little time to salvage it. He got Van Dyke back from Fla, McKenzie and Marve back from Alabama, who other than Coop are the most highly touted recruits of the class. Luckily we got Shannon who understands that you must lock down South Florida talent and then look other places.

2) COACHING Just as important as the Talent issue, is that under Coker "NONE OF THE PLAYERS GOT ANY BETTER". Players who are 4 star athletes in high school will not dominate in college without becoming better players, (getting bigger and stronger in the weight room, becoming more discipline, learning technique, and developing a better football IQ). None of our players got any better under Coker 1) could not find a way to get Devin Hester the ball 2) special teams became non existent, to name a few examples. Ryan Moore never developed into a dominate receiver when everyone knew that he had all of the tools when he got here, he never became a route runner.

Coaching under Coker was terrible, the offense was consistenly stagnant and he never showed any form of change in approach, he would just clap when we managed a field goal.

Defense, though shannon was dominant the defense started to get exposed when the talent slacked off. More importantly Louisville gave us trouble since LaFLouers because Shannon would refuse to play a zone. Last year, Petrino and Brohm ran the same play on Randy Phillips 3 times and he never learned how to defned the play.

Special teams, the trademark of our program became virtually non existent and actually a detriment rather than an advantage.

The combination of a slack in talent and a lack of effective coaching, brings you down fast.

We have been outcoached in all the games except the A&M game...We have more talented players of all the teams we faced except for OU.

I agree that Coker's kids are a bust!! On paper they may look amazing but mentally they are just like Larry: weak & passive! Randy has no option but to play his seniors & juniors, the freshmen are not ready for a schedule that has included Oklahoma & Texas a&m, with Va tech, Ga Tech, FSU, & BC to come. Marve will play next year because Kirby is probably worse then Frank Costa. All the big time WR recruits will also play next year because the group of guys playing now is horribly inconsistent!! Leggett is afraid to get hit, Sam Shields can’t keep his head straight and follow the rules nor catch a ball that hits him in the hands, and Jenkins is way too bipolar in his performance... I feel that all the guys there from the previous regime have been Coker-ized for 3-4 years and it will take a lot longer then spring and fall practice to change the attitude at the U... I would suggest playing more freshmen but I don’t feel like watching 30 point blow outs every week, for now heartbreaking losses are ok!

Hey Manny,
Good question what ails the canes.


You know some people may say that its talent some may say its just coaching, and blah blah blah. But I know what it truly is its the mental aspect of football. These kids on the team especially the juniors and seniors are use to loosing. They have no confidence at all. CaneNation can blame whoever or whatever they want, but the truth is its just mental. Once these kids beleive that they can win and trust what these coaches are doing a gain a little confidence they will win.

GO CANES!!!!

Soft...these guys are soft. Larry Coker was too interested in being their friend instead of their coach.
You look at the Jimmy Johnson, Butch Davis. Taskmasters. Ballbusters. No excuses.
You don't like it, go home. Don't the door hit you in the ass.
That's how we got guys like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Michael Irvin, Frank Gore. Freaking warriors.
These coaches busted their butts so much in practice, game day was like a day off.
Ask any Cane who played for these guys...
And this is what they'll tell you to a man.
And now, the good news. Randy Shannon knows this. He was there and he saw first hand and knows what it takes to win. Discipline, accountability, hard work, and no guarantees. You earn it. You earn the right to wear that Jersey. This is freaking UM football damit! Not some free four year joy ride through South Beach.
Time to snap up the chin strap boys, grab your package and sack up. Boot camp with Randy Shannon '08 coming to Greentree...Look out...Go Canes!

That's some good s**t right there 66...
Get Some!!!

I agree with Shannon and I am afraid that is not going to change until he gets his players there. Right now he is playing with Larry Coker's kids, and just like Coker won a championship with Butch Davis kids Shannon will struggle with Coker's kids until he can get his type of players to the U. If you take a look at this team you don't have any leaders on either side of the ball. On defense you have some good players like Calais Campbell and Randy Phillips but they themselves look like they are looking for someone to lead and when your two best players are looking elsewhere for leadership you are in trouble. On offense Shannon can't blame his quarterback and rightfully so because he has no one else to go to, the Quarterback is the engine that makes your car go and if you don't have a good one you are not going very far before it breaks down, hopefully Robert Marve will be the answer instead of another question.

If there is one thing I would put my finger on, it's the amount of players I saw being recruited by Miami in the State of Florida that opted to go to another school in the end the past several years. I never understood why those kids, especially south FL kids would do it, but now that Shannon is coach and there is a good class committed from south FL high schools, it's obvious what the problem was.

Manny...thanks for the LIVE chat on the Canespace blog tonight! You are the MAN(ny)!!!

What ails the Canes is something very similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of the Juniors and Seniors have been subjected to spotty leadership for the vast majority of their time at Miami. They’ve been made to believe that they’re not really all that good because the former regime failed to teach them how to fight and win. All they know is how to try not to lose. They’ve gotten used to losing, maybe even expecting it. It starts with Kyle Wright, who came to Miami with an expectation to win big and often. In his first game he was by far the hardest fighting, and best performing QB on the field, but failed to win mostly due to poor play calling and coaching. After that game, Miami fan’s mantra was “we lost the game, but found a real QB.” Kyle was hit way too many times in that game, and in the ones that followed. All of a sudden Kyle became gun-shy, nervous, and lost all confidence in himself, his teammates, and his coaches. Media and fans didn’t help by calling him a bust. I use Kyle as an example, but this same scenario likely played out for countless players on the team.
Then you have the former regime’s inability to utilize the talent on the team. Devin Hester saw the writing on the wall, and jumped ship as soon as he could. James Bryant is another fantastic example of wasted talent. Every time he touched the ball, the stadium held its collective breath waiting for something great to happen. Problem is, Coker and staff could not teach James to do the right things off the field, and therefore ended up squandering the talent. I was not going to include him here, but WW may have thrived under a Randy Shannon led team.
These current Canes don’t have the Ed Reed in them that insists that no matter what the score is, they will come back and win. There is not one strong leader on that field. Where is the Warren Sapp, Ken Dorsey, Santana Moss, #47, even K2 running up and down the sideline hyping the others up? That attitude was squashed by Coker, who wanted a kinder, gentler Cane. I’m not saying RS should bring back the Randall Hill days, but this team is a dull knife that needs sharpening, and sharpening takes time.
Kyle has played at times this year like the Kyle who suited up against FSU that night. So has the rest of the team. At times they regress back into the Coker inflicted Psychosis, which causes them to not believe in themselves, each other, or the coaches. RS and staff have started rehabilitating them. The third quarter against UNC is a great example of that. A strong talk from RS, and boom they look like the 2001 Canes.

We as fans need to provide support in every way we can, starting with GOING TO THE GAMES, and CHEERING FOR OUR TEAM!

What I have seen is that these players do not have the passion and will to win, ex kyle throws a pass , and looks for an excuse to lay it on someone else, at times.
Shannon has tried with the competition and he will get there but not with the jr and sr's , I do not want to say that they have become habitual losers but do not know anyway else to express it, PLAY the YOUNG guys.

The reason the Canes are losing is simple, the change in the way college football is played. This is most evident by the way the Canes still put out incredible pro talent, yet cannot win in the college game. College football is no longer played traditionally. UF is possibly the best example of this change. UF has completely changed its style of play, and that style will show well in the college game but the future of those players will not be in the NFL. Trickery, scrambling quarterbacks, and top athleticism is what now wins games in the college game. The Canes run a conservative offense with a quarterback who is a pocket passer and our quarterback who can scramble cannot throw the ball. In our past we have also had atleast one player who can break out at anytime. Players like Devin Hester, Roscoe Parrish, and Santana Moss would scare teams everytime they touch the ball. Harvin does it for the Gators, Jackson does it for Cal, and even at FSU Preston Parker can break out at anytime. Right now Coop looks like he can be that player, but he needs more touches off of pass plays and trick plays. Its plays like the reverse the Canes ran on the kickoff against UNC that need to happen more often. Unfortunately, atleast in my eyes, the college football game is no longer what it used to be and if the Canes want to succeed they must change with the times. Hopefully then, we will see the swagger back at the U.

Yea I know it's great talent in Broward and Dade, but Polk County has great talent as well.

Call me crazy but what Shannon said during his press conference rings true with this team. I am tired of hearing about talent and no talent with these players. Talent only gets you in the door. Its’ up to the players to make the most of it. But very very few of them have the maturity at the age of 19 to realize their true potential on their own. No team is full of starters like that when they first come in. It is up to the coaches and leadership to guide them in the right direction and that starts at the top with the head coach. He is the one with the vision and the road map to the identity his team will take. Players can have that never give up attitude and display it on the field, but it doesn’t do any good unless the whole team truly believes the same thing. it’s a unified identity that creates that kind of attitude.

Coker never had a road map until it was too late. 01 and 02 they already had an identity and he figured it would carry on to the future Canes. What he forgot was to make his recruits follow the same road map that lead to 01. So slowly over time the lack of a path became evident. His staff started to become divided (Kehoe, Soldinger, etc.) by mistrust and frustration. No matter how hard the coaches tried to hide it they couldn’t, especially in a game that requires you to wear your emotions on your sleeves. The players became confused as to what to believe in and unity broke down. With that so did their development.

Too many things were going through their minds to remain solely focused on their development. This doubt and mistrust became a part of them and they’ve now passed it on to the younger genertation.

Shannon has got a huge task ahead of him to change the culture of this team and its not going to be done over night probably not even this year. But he’s laying the ground work for the identity he wants which is great. Teaching the players the intricacies of the game and correct technique is the easy part. Having them trust and believe in their ability and the person next to them that is what is going to turn this thing around.

I think these kids need to be sat down and forced to watch Ed Reed's post halftime speech to his team during the FSU game in 2001 and Irvin's hall of fame speech over and over until something clicks. You can't win without a leader, no matter what sport you are playing.

305tillidie hit the nail on the head!!! Recruit right here! We are a different breed of athlete here in South Florida! Randy Shannon has shown that he recognizes talent by consistently having a solid defense when he was a defensive coordinator. He will bring the right people here and we will rise to prominence again. Randy Shannon will get the job done, I have total faith in him!!! We should all stand behind him!!!

Manny, I feel bad about you having to read through all these comments. Some are definitely good, though. I'll just add my two cents cause I don't have the time or patience to sit here and read through all of them myself. Here I go - answer:

Leadership. QB-U has no QB leader. I've been waiting 3 years and saying to myself to give KW the benefit of the doubt. I never thought KF was the solution and thought it was a mistake to go with him early in the year, but wins are wins, right? The bottom line is that neither guy, KW or KF, is a leader. Niether has to be a great QB to win games with the talent that surrounds them. They need to MANAGE the game and NOT turn the ball over...period.

I wanted to address the recruiting issue real quick. This team isn't as talented as years past, but there's no doubt that Miami still has the talent to win games. I blame lack of discipline and development lapses over the past couple of years.

Hope that was brief enough! Good luck, Manny.

Manny, thanks for the Q and A over at canespace yesterday. Great stuff as usual from you.

manny navarro (oct 9): "So what is still causing these Canes to smell as stinky as last year's 7-6 team?" save a handful, it's still last year's 7-6 team ... WINNER

did I win a car? boat? refrigerator?

What ails the Canes? Well I think we can all agree the first thing that stands out is talent. I am not here to rip on Coker because I thought he could coach. Now recruiting is a different animal and we are hurting from that now. Larry could not find those kind of players we are use to seeing here at the U. You can have all the stars in the world but you have to be a leader and play with a lot of pride to be a Cane. I have seen a lot of the local talent leave town and do great things the past few years. I believe Randy will restore the local talent but it can not be done over night. The local kids know what the U is all about and want to play for pride. This will be Randys 1st true class coming in next year. This years class was more shotgun than anything because of the change at head coach. Randy will have the U back on track in about 2 years. The next big thing I see is QB play. I think that Kyle is the better of the 2 but lets face it he is average at best. He can look really good at times and then throws into triple coverage the next play. I believe that Marve would have got a good look this year if it wasn't for the injury. We need to find that next Ken Dorsey that is smart with the ball. The last and maybe most important thing is, I don't see any leaders on either side of the ball. I am not in the locker room but I do watch the games and no one seems to lead on the field besides Campbell but he cant do it all. We can only hope that Randy can motivate this group enough to at least compete for the Coastal this year. Maybe we cant win the ACC this year but I think we can be in the ACC race. I guess we will find out this weekend against G Tech if that's even possible. GO CANES!!!!!!!!

http://canespace.typepad.com/canespace/2007/10/carolina-blues.html#comment-85807740
(OcalaCane) blames the entire fiasco on #3. I told him he was crazy. Then he held me at gun point for over an hour until I said #3 was at fault for the whole thing. He says that the QB play "demoralizes" the whole team.

Posted by: 86Cane | October 09, 2007 at 08:32 PM where'd ocala get that word?


http://miamiherald.typepad.com/umiami/2007/10/game-day-blog-c.html#comment-85406794
demoralized

Posted by: green | October 06, 2007 at 01:12 PM

It's very simple. Those great teams from the past simply refused to lose. It was not an option. They went into every game just KNOWING they were going to win. If they did manage to fall behind, you just knew that they would pull it out somehow. That was half the fun of watching Hurricane football - just wondering how the heck they would manage to pull out the win this week.

The current version doesn't have that belief in themselves. And when I watch them as a fan - I don't believe that they will win when they fall behind. The whole mindset is different and it shows. Randy Shannon is old-school Cane. He hates to lose and will restore that winning tradition - give him time.

Also - do past players still have the impact and contact with the current players? I remember always reading about how these big NFL stars would call up the current players before a game and lend their support. Is that still going on?

http://canespace.typepad.com/canespace/2007/10/carolina-blues.html#comment-85808552
I had conversation with another writer about this recently who told me they're hearing from the school that Miami will likely end up scheduling North Carolina in the opener. Considering how late in the game is to replace an out of conference foe, Miami could be happy to just move a conference opponent to the opener, which will draw a strong crowd. Considering recent history, Carolina with Butch Davis might be the perfect opener.

Posted by: Manny Navarro | October 09, 2007 at 08:43 PM where'd you hear that first?

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/umiami/2007/08/mens-hoops-sche.html#comment-80479885
HUNCH: U v. n carolina will christen our NEW home ...

Posted by: green | August 24, 2007 at 08:53 AM

We have no real playmakers. The Canes of old were talented for sure but mainly they were playmakers. And playmakers abounded at every position. Being talented is not the same as being a playmaker. Playmakers can summon the focus neccessary to play at a very high level in very high pressure situations.

Ken Dorsey would make the perfect throw to convert a long 3rd down and Santana Moss would catch it. Our defense would get the critical 3rd and 1 stop, a key interception, a flawless blitz pickup on 4th and 8 with 1:23 to play. All 11 guys sharply focused for as long as it takes.

These new guys haven't yet matured as players enough to understand how to summon it when they want it. They are simply victims of the inconsistent focus which plagues youth. And with no proven playmakers ahead of them to serve as mentors they will have to learn thru experience and thru Shannon. Shannon knows what it looks like and he is teaching them to control their focus which is why he did what he did to Shields. In order to make a champion you need all of your guys on the field focused. When these kids learn to stay focused for long stretches, not just the game but an entire season they will be back because the talent is rising to me them

so sick of old man mandich's dolphin agenda. we're onto you ...

memo to jivin' jason jackson: stay on vacation! you cut into Joe Rose's airtime. Joe is the star; you're just a bit player ...

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