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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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It takes years to build a dynasty, but it takes one moment to destroy it. There are three things ailing these Canes. First, lack of physical preparation, which is leading to mental breakdowns. Second, there is no leadership on either side of the field. Third, the talent level has dropped and the players are average.
First, Coker did not instill a championship work ethic. Players are consistently rising and falling on the depth chart this year, because almost no one practices with urgency. Randy is clearly trying to instill a core work ethic in his players. The only way to compete at the highest level is to know in your heart that when it is game time, you are more prepared than you opponent. Otherwise, when things do not go as planned (see UM v. UNC), lack of physical conditioning leads to mental breakdowns on the field. Secondly, every team must have a core group of leaders that other players look to on the field. The way one becomes a leader is by practicing harder than anyone else, watching film, and preparing mentally for each game. On offense, there has been a vacuum in leadership since Ken Dorsey graduated. However, on defense Jon Beason was without a doubt the leader of this team last year. We need a guy like that again. Beason played injured because he knew his team needed leadership in the huddle. Leadership is developed, and there is no doubt that Randy knows this, and will be grooming certain players to be leaders in the years to come. However, the Canes need someone right now who can step in and breath some life into the team, but it is not clear who that is yet.
Third, where are the playmakers? Every week UM takes the field it is obvious that as a whole the Canes can match up with opposing team’s talent wise. Nevertheless, what are lacking are those guys who know they will not be denied the big play, or that game changing play. The Andre Johnson’s’, Michael Irving’s’, or Warren Sapp’s’ just aren’t there. It is difficult to say this, but as good as Calias Campbell is, he was non-existent in the UNC loss. On offense, I forgot what it is like to have a guy other teams know is going to get the ball, but still can’t be stopped. This team has no playmakers, and that is all a function of weak recruiting. Until a player takes the field no one knows if he is a playmaker.
The Canes are ailing because there is a lack of physical preparation, a leadership vacuum on either side of the field, and the talent level has dropped resulting in a lack of playmakers. The solution to the Canes’ ails will be great recruiting, great coaching, and most importantly lots of hard work. One of my favorite Hurricane players quotes from the Jimmy Johnson era; “game day is like a day off, because everyday during practice we know we are playing against the best offense/defense in the country.”

Show the players all the great comments written here!

Just no sense of Canes pride/fire/intensity with this group, talent is there, no QB/player leadership. How about U Gotta Believe, or U are Outta here! This is like watching a bad high school team! If you can't generate intensity in the Orange Bowl what will happen with the move to Dolphins Stadium? Generate the fire now, so the fans will follow to the new stadium.

Years ago, our second and third team players would be starters everywhere else! Bring Bernie Kosar in as atheletic director to replace Paul Dee.

Absolutely no special teams, and here I complained about last year's on again-off again punting! Need to recruit scholarship guys here.

Let's see, we're still being outcoached. I'm not sure if the Nix offense will work. We don't have a Calvin Johnson to throw to every play.

The rest of the season isn't getting easier, so if these Canes don't start playing with some 'tude, then it's going to be a long ride.

Some key positions hurt this team. Kyle Wright, serviceable at times, has to be considered a complete bust. The team failed over the last few years to bring in another top-notch QB to add depth at the position. Same goes for Lance Leggett and the wide receiver position. Now the offense is week, and the defense, which is good, is not good enough this year to carry the team. But the Hurricane struggles this year, last year, and some of 2005, go deeper than this.

The Hurricanes have had no identity. These Hurricanes have had 2 head coaches, and God knows how many coordinators and assistant coaches. It seems that there is nothing reliable in the offense, on the defense, or in the locker room for them to fall back on when they struggle, or to build on when they excel. So what do they do? They borrow their identity from ghosts of years past. They run out of the smoke, jump on the visiting teams logo, and make the U sign with their hands. They think that is enough. It is not.

The 2007 Hurricanes have to make their own legacy. That comes with recognizing that responsibility, learning what they do best, and sticking to it.

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/story/266044.html herald's barry jackson: "Determined to boost men's basketball attendance, UM is about to unveil some of the most creative ideas we have ever seen from a local team. Besides dropping most season-ticket prices by about 50 percent, UM will add a hot tub, a sandbox and lifeguard tower in the student seating section -- students will be encouraged to attend in beach attire -- and elsewhere in the arena, in-game shoe-shines, massages, haircuts and a computer work-station will be offered." winning cures all ...

1) There's too little stability: Four offensive coordinators in four years, a sudden overbearing discipline compared to zero discipline in the past four years, no sense of who's a real starter

2) There's no grizzly bear on the D-line (cf. V. Wilfork, R. Maryland)

3) There's no lion of a middle line backer (R. Lewis, D. Morgan, Barrow, etc.)

4) Undersized recruits

5) Wright staring down receivers

6) Darnell Jenkins, the most reliable receiver, isn't getting the ball enough.

7) The O-line isn't attacking the D on run plays and backs aren't hitting the holes or the D fast enough.

8) The offense play calling is erratic, going from super-inventive to over-vanilla.

9) There're not enough tight-end passes or screens.

10) It's all about blocking and tackling, and the Canes have had a spotty record doing either this year.

You want to know what ails the canes?????

Kyle Wright throwing interceptions in the red zone thats it!

Everything else to me is fine, I know no other aspect of the team is dominant but we can still win with what we have.

Kyle Wright throwing interceptions in the red zone thats it!!!!!!!!!

Clearly, there is no single reason for this regression, and the posters thus far have identified many problem issues that need to be addressed.

Its hard to argue the talent has not waned, but its not like we're Temple. Our talent underacheives big time. While part of it is coaching, it seems the players lack hunger.

Maybe the reason that our great teams of the past were led predominantly by unheralded recruits is that these kids arrive with a chip on their shoulder, and the hunger to prove people wrong. They work their butts off while the hot shot recruits seem to that they will just take the field and dominate without putting in the work.

Perhaps once RS has been able to purge this somewhat listless group of players (of course there are exceptions, I'm speaking globally) and replace them with guys with real hunger and attitude, UM will be UM again.

What is wrong with the Canes?
2003 bad Quaterback
2004 bad Quaterback
2005 bad Quaterback
2006 bad Quaterback
2007 bad Quaterback
The players know we can't win with with
this kind of play from the leader of the team.It effects all aspects of the game.
The Defence plays great but after awhile
they know they will be right back out there,
all their efforts wasted.The whole team is
demoralized as a result.
Who would of thought the University of Miami
Hurricanes would have back to back busts at
the Quaterback position.

Keep the faith we will have one soon!
Go Canes!

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-bush10oct10,1,3485948.story?track=rss&ctrack=3&cset=true usc unraveled? canary in a gold mine sings ...

Three things come to my mind when you think of the recent struggles at UM 1.Bad QB play 2.Horrible recruiting and 3.Inept coaching. Yes, all very important factors in the recent struggles at the U, but one key factor at the U everyone seems to overlook is the EARLY DEPARTURES. Yes, we all know that players come to the U with one thing in mind and that's to make to the NFL, but when you have player's like Kellen Wislow, Clinton Portis,Jermey Schockey, Willis Macghee, Vince Wilfork, Phillip Buchannon,Andre Johnson, Sean Taylor,Jon Vilma, Roscoe Parrish, Frank Gore, Devin Hester, Jon Beason and Gerg Olsen all left before their senior year. No team, no matter how good your coaching staff or recruiting classes can makeup that type of lost of talent. Now you add bad QB play, horrible recruiting,inept coaching and early departures and you get the 40 ranked team in the nation today. Larry Coker was not a great "head coach" he was a great manger in my eyes, the guy knew how to get talented players on the field and keep them happy. But he could not get them to stay in school and also get the them to enroll in school. We can all say the academic standards are too high at the U to attract talented players but Jimmy, Dennis and Butch did it and now Randy is going to do it.

I'm gettin tired of reading on all the comment boards and everywhere that Shannon is the problem. I know we Canes fans have high standards, but there's a line past which it becomes unreasonable. These are the same people who paid for planes to fly banners saying "From Champs to Chumps, Thanks Butch" during the 1997 season and thereabouts. People who wanted Butch fired after the Penn State game in 1999 for having press coverage in the 4th quarter with a lead. People who wanted Coker gone as soon as the Canes didn't qualify for a BCS bowl. These are the people after Shannon and saying why didn't we get Butch? Why didn't we get Schiano? Well Mr. Rutgers doesn't look so hot all of the sudden does he... and do you remember Butch prior to 2000? It could be argued he can assemble great talent and never lead them to the promised land. I for one will stick with Shannon until a proponderance of evidence suggests otherwise.

Look Canes fans, don't become like Yankees fans:


The answer to what is wrong with my beloved Canes is an answer which applies to all football teams.To demonostrate my analysis I will compare my three keys to the New England Patriots. (Also all three of these points are in no particular order, as neither one is more important than the other, and all are necessary for the other two to be successful)

1)TALENT: It has been proved, discussed, and is now being fixed by Randy Shannon, that Coker could not recruit, he was handed a team full of talent, and never kept that level to even 3/4 of what it was when Davis was here. This is why the Patriots have been and currently are the #1 team over the past 5-7 years. They find the best players that "fit their team" and dont put up with egos.

2)QUARTERBACK: Having a QB that your entire team believes in, no matter the score is a very precious commodity, there just arent that many in college or the NFL. We were all so spoiled with Ken Dorsey, and the previous QB's. The team believed in them, and he believed in the team, thus Dorsey knew he never had to force anything, he trusted that his defense would get him the ball back, and his offense and he would score the very next time out. Similarly, Tom Brady never puts up crazy numbers, he just wants to win, and his team "believes" with him as their leader they can.

3)Head Coach/ Staff: The main things a coach should do is make you the best player you can be, and enstill discipline so that you CAN make yourself the best player you can be. That is what Randy Shannon is doing, as well as being a great recruiter, and with these traits he has this team on track to greatness, but the other two (Talent, QB) are not up to par yet. There is a trust/belief factor with a coach, and unlike some other coaches, the entire team knows he will never compromise anyone or anything for the success and well being of his team. Bill Bellicheck is smiliar to getting the best out of his players, and not compromising to any player that is trying to be greater than the team.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Black Coaches and Administrators want to change college football's status quo. So when the BCA released its fourth hiring report card Tuesday, it came with a warning: Add more diversity to the head coaching ranks or risk facing a future civil rights lawsuit.

I've watched enough bad football for 4 years and the problems are these:1- the offensive play calling looks like something from a Pop Warner football game, 2-why are we running option plays on the goal line with a 6'5 quarterback 3-what happened to the fullback running the football on short yardage. Jimmy used to always have the fullback touch the ball 4 or 5 times a game. 4- what happened to curl routes and crossing patterns. 5- what happened to throwing the ball to the backs out of the back field. 6- the quarterback play has been average but it should bewith all the offensive coordinators we've had the last 5 years.7- the linebackers have been average. 8- we haven't had a stud D-tackle that can crumble the other teams pocket. 9- we make the other teams quarterbacks look like Heisman trophy candidates because we never blitz, we give them all day to throw, therefore making our corners look like dogs. Mediocore quaterbacks kill us because we never put any pressure on the Q.B. 10. We tried to be global in the recruiting efforts and forgot about the boys right at our doorstep. ThE 4 and 5 star guys we brought were either not motivated to perform or they were highly overrated. (Willie Williams, James Bryant, Kyle Wright, Lance Legget, Leon Williams, just to name a few of the duds that were ranked high. In ending this, Shannon is the man for the job but in my opinion they need to blitz more on defense, they need to put a fullback in the backfield and utilize that position more and the play calling needs to be more creative and get a Quarterback that knows how to audible out of a bad play, get a stud middle linebacker and d. tackle.

Based on your premise ( different coaches 4 years running, same results ) your next logical step would be it has to be the players. (Talent and Consistent Effort). But they are different to a degree ( not the QB though ) so the only constant over 4 years is Dee/Shalala or the culture enabled by them.

Also I think they have not adjusted very well to all of the noon starts. Still look kinda sleepy.

Talent, Talent, Talent, go back to the class of 2004 and you'll only be able to identify no more than 3 or 4 players that have started or are making an impact on the program....lack of talent catches up over time....

What Ails the Canes? Two simple things; Coaching and Fans. I lived in Miami for ten years and became an avid fan. I watched Butch Davis turn them around and straighten them up. But the results did'nt emerge until he moved on and Coker took over. Then you watched the teams record perportionatly digress each season until they hit bottom. Now, Coach Shannon takes over and you expect the team to march out on the field in world class shape and go to the BCS? That brings me to the second answer of what ails the Canes. Guys like you. The Dolphins can do no wrong (even though they have consistantly sucked for the past 15-20 years) and the minute the Canes have a slump Miami (fans?) boycott the games and sports (journalists?) filet them alive. I can remeber realizing after a while of going to both Canes and Dolphins games several times, that I never walked out of a game where the Dolphin won, or walking out of a game where the Canes lost! Yet the fan base is so unforgiving and impatient with perhaps the greatest NCAA football program to ever step out on the grid iron. Why don't we give Coach Shannon the space he needs to turn these boys (students 1st, remember) around and show a little more respect for the University of Miami Atheletic program that has done such an outstanding job through-out the years. BGUT

mr. navarro,

it breaks my heart to see the inferior calibre of play that has come to symbolize the 'canes this year. i have been following the program for fifty (50) years and have never felt as disspirited and dissollusioned as i do now.

this is a squad that doesn't have the u or its proud and honorable tradition and history in mind either on the practice field or on game day. they lack heart, dedication, pride and intensity.

unfortunately, i think this is a malaise that has crept into many other sports as well. many nba teams walk through the first half of a game...baseball teams are loaded with superstars who are more worried about their press or persona that their performance. many athletes are more concerned nowadays about their posses and their off field social life than their commitment to teammates.

i suggest coach shannon conduct a wholesale housecleaning immediately after the close of this already dismal season and start anew next year with recruits that are ready to make a non-negotiable, non-reversible pact with him and the school that they will risk all and do all they are asked for four years in return for the opportunity to play for a storied football program at an outstanding institution of higher learning and the chance to obtainj a top flight education and perhaps the chance to compete for an nfl job.

if the recruits don't agree, maybe even in writing, then they may risk forfeiture of their scholarship or may even be asked to leave the program.

nothing less than a 100 per cent effort from its recruits should be acceptable to coach shannon or the school ever again.

we should never again be compelled to bear witness to such a shameful display of indifference as we saw on the field in north carolina last weekend.

there must be accountability and responsibility on the part of the student athletes when they set foot on the u's hallowed ground!

rml '58

Manny thanks for the QA session on TOS
I don't comment here a lot, but I read you everyday.
Your extra effort doesn't go unnoticed here, or there.

I feel a decision to revamp the U's corporate image has created this. Coker was trying to make the U Notre Dame South with his recruting "strategy" which antagonized Dade players, coaches and families. He was attempting to bring in national recruits who didnt understand what being a Hurricane truly means. Marve was headed to Alabama and he was bringing in Texas' Fanuzzi.

The kids he did get were't developed and chiseled as Hurricanes. Im not sure what you would call them, Hurricanes light maybe. Coker seemed preoccupied with what the nation thought of the team's image. This distraction prevented him from building a team. He thought the contract extension gave him enough time to execute his plan. The move to the ACC probably prevented this Irish makeover. He even had Holtz down after he fired the coaches for a consulting meeting.

This leaves Coach Shannon with a soft, non-hurricane mentality bunch of pretenders. Most of these guys are here because of the U's NFL legacy not to win our "7th" ring.

Jenkins, DVD, Grant, Phillips, Hill, Berry, McCarty, Gooden, Rochford, Morse, Moncur help in on the way.

Jacory will lead us back. Marve chose Alabama initially. Is he A Hurricane light?

You want to know what ails the canes?????

Kyle Wright throwing interceptions in the red zone thats it!

Everything else to me is fine, I know no other aspect of the team is dominant but we can still win with what we have.

Kyle Wright throwing interceptions in the red zone thats it!!!!!!!!!

^^ You can say that again. O wait, you did.

Failed recruiting classes in the past.

Point blank.

Now it's time to see if Shannon really has that recruiting talent.

We'll see in a couple of years.

We need Florida kids in here.

That live and breathe the U.

That bleed the colors.

Those players that have the heart and that have what it takes to represent this program the way it needs to be represented.

With heart and intensity.


It's a number of things. First of all, recruiting was not very good under Larry Coker, he was not as good a talent scout as Butch Davis was so at certain positions we are weak versus certain opponents who expolit these weaknesses. Second, player development has suffered in the past couple of years. We have not seen these players dramatically improve in the last couple of years and this falls on the coaching staff, they have to turn good athletes into smart, aggressive football players who know their positions inside and out. Third, the swagger is not gone but it has definitely diminished. The Canes used to have opponents beat 20 minutes before the opening kickoff because of the swagger they displayed the old teams used to display. There was an air of confidence and care-free play that made Miami unique of other programs. These present teams have played scared. They also have grown accustom to losing therefore the swagger is harder to attain. Those old teams didn't accept losing and a loss to them was earth shattering. These present teams have gotten accustomed to the feeling and it has inhibited their swagger. These factors are what have held these present day canes back. I think Shannon will restore the program with 2 more recruiting classes. Lastly, the college football lanscape has changed and it's harder to dominate nowadays than it was in the past. As we see what is happening this year talent is being spread more evenly and it's getting harder for all the traditional powerhouses to stay dominant. Coker has changed the Miami program for the worse and it's going to take a couple of years to fully restore it back to national prominence. We must be patient.

1. This team simply lacks veteran senior leadership, not spoken leadership, but leadership by example. It starts with the qb position...we will not see any of this until 2009 for sure and we just have to be patient and look for future stars in the coming weeks and months.

2. This team is not physical or strong enough. It makes me want to put on pads myself and suit up with the lack of tackling ability lately on defense. NO WAY THAT NORTH CAROLINA SHOULD WIN THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE ON EVERY PLAY LIKE THEY DID LAST SATURDAY.

3. ali highsmith, reshaun jones, james FB (just transferred forget his last name),le shaun mccoy, preston parker, damion mcdaniel, willie williams, nate harris, major wright, deonte thompson, and phelon jones to name a few. UM signees or very close to signees who UM coaches over the past few years who UM just could not convince to come to UM or stay at UM. guarantee all those names except for maybe williams are or will be college stars and nfl stars. this is why we are truly having to put second and third teamers into the starting line up, LACK OF DEPTH.

Manny, my answer to your question is something that has not been written. Miami really never developed a tradition in their football teams. At first they played their games on Friday nights, which caused many fans to miss them because of getting off late or just being worn out after a long week of work. Lousey day to play college football. Next they always played in the Orange Bowl which belonged to the city of miami and was always in disrepair and later shared with the miami dolphins. They have never had a field they could call their own and build tradition with forever fans and alum.and students. Look around the state of fla. at the sucessful programs and you notice they all have their own on campus stadium and field house. This brings some continuity and pride to the program and helps recruiting for future championship teams. Its miracle that miami has won five national titles with this disadvantage. It attests to how great our past coaches were and their ability to convince blue chip athletes to come to miami. Somehow, some way, the unversity and the city of coral gables should be convinced to gather their resources and minds and build a 50 thousand seat stadium with the ability to expand as is needed. What do you think Manny.

Look around the state of fla. at the sucessful programs and you notice they all have their own on campus stadium and field house.

Posted by: Bill Obie | October 12, 2007 at 06:07 AM oh, really ... where does usf call home? not enough land, access or students to support an on-campus eyesore ...

world-class dolphin stadium trumps all ... CAN'T WAIT

Its miracle that miami has won five national titles with this disadvantage.

Posted by: Bill Obie | October 12, 2007 at 06:07 AM 25 years of unparalleled success is no miracle ... HABIT


Just exactly how bad are these Hurricanes??? They are as bad as their record say they are and as inept and unable to make a big play, particularly in the offense. The offense with their 3 and outs tires the defense which seems to be also depleted of players and/or affected by the horror of the offense.

Eeveryone needs to realize and get in between their ears that regardless of how bad the whole team is and how they are like 12 and 10 since they played Georgia Tech 2 years ago, at a time under Coker when they were nationally ranked #3 and as Coker had signed and sealed and delivered the team to Kyle Wright to do something with it. Three years, almost 25 or more miserable games under Kyle Wright.

It is as simple as the fact that while everyone is guilty, this team was given to Kyle Wright for 3 seasons now and he has not been able to lead, to make plays, to win, to just do something like it is required of a player in the QB lead position, the most important and critical position of any team sports.

Coker lost his job with Wright who was Mr. 3 and out and who just can not buy any type of glory. This new coach has sort of started in a very bad way which could be fatal and again Kyle Wright appears that he will undo him. If the rest of the year turns into total disaster, the new coach then has no space for any mistakes. He will be fired for whatever reason.

Again, Wright is not the only one guilty but this is his position and time to lead, his time and his team. I thought that this team might be able to push him aside and go with anyone else who might not be so cursed and so out of the graces of the football gods. HE DOES NOT INSPIRE CONFIDENCE IN HIS TEAMMATES. HE CAN NOT MAKE PLAYS AND THE DEFENSE IS TIRED MOST OF THE TIME FROM BEING ON THE FIELD ALL THE TIME. He had led the team to 7 points by halftime and then another 7 points in the second half and how many of these games have we seen in the Kyle Wright years??? Many of them with 3 and outs and bad plays and intersections and it is a disaster waiting to happen.

A QUARTERBACK HAS TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN... even if it is just bring good Karma, good luck, whatever. It is 3 years of bad stuff and most of it is due to the offense.

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