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Who is a real Hurricane?

In the aftermath of the University of Miami's second consecutive loss, I've been trying to put my finger on what coach Randy Shannon has tried to get his team to understand about what he wants and expects from them.

In a sense, I feel Shannon has been undergoing his own journey of understanding. As Miami's defensive coordinator for six seasons, Randy never really got to understand what was happening on the other side of the locker room. (For those of you who never played the game, offenses and defenses rarely to speak to one another. When one is on the field, the other is in a huddle on the sidelines, game planning the next step. The same applies with practice during the week).

When Shannon took over this job in January, the only part he recognized was his own -- the defense. So, he brought the team together in the spring -- joining the lockers, establishing his unified rules -- and began pushing the offense as hard as he's always managed to push the defense. The problem? Randy's realized not everybody was pushing back and many simply don't know how. I think he finally came to that understanding last week when he went on his now infamous tirade in front of reporters at the end of last Tuesday's practice. A quick recap: Shannon cussed the team out and pointed to guard Derrick Morse and shouted "He's a real Hurricane!"

I think for awhile Shannon believed all he had to do this season was point -- like he did last Tuesday --  and like magic, eventually things would fall into place. The guys who weren't real Hurricanes could somehow become one through following the footsteps of "The Real Hurricanes." The problem is there are not enough "Real Hurricanes" around to this team escape its current state of mediocrity -- not yet anyway (but the troops are on their way). And, the imposters don't have enough ingredients to be "Real Hurricanes."

As UM fans, I can understand your frustration with this program. You have high expectations. You expect perfection. Here's the good news: Shannon and his staff do too. They remember the Old U. The problem is expectations can cause problems. And you've been terribly misled. I hear the gripe all the time -- but I thought our recruiting classes were among the best in the country. What we fail to realize is that the guys making the evaluations -- on those recruiting websites and at The U the last couple of seasons -- weren't very good. As one former Hurricane told me Tuesday, there aren't just enough real Hurricanes in this group.

So what does being a Real Hurricane mean? I define it as a mixture of mental toughness, the undying desire to win at all costs and the athletic ability to carry all of that out. The bonus feature? Real disappointment with losses and feeling unsatisfied with losses (just look at the way Kenny Phillips reacted after the Georgia Tech loss). Miami's coaches have realized there aren't just enough Real Hurricanes around. Now, you have to see it too. This team may not be playing at its best, but there's not much more ceiling to go right now. Go through the roster yourself and you'll see it littered with sophomores and juniors and seniors who have never smelled the field. Why? They aren't good enough.

Miami's new staff is weeding those people out right now and my guess is don't expect to see many of those guys back. Butch Davis made a similar ultimatum when Miami was going through its previous struggles in the late 90s. Guys left and things changed. From all the conversations I had Tuesday, expect to see the same in the coming months from Shannon and his staff.

* BLOG TOPIC: So, how do you participate in our Blog Topic of the Week? I want you to tell me how you as a fan define a Real Hurricane. Who are The Real Hurricanes on this team? Which former Canes do you look to as fan as Real Hurricanes?  What makes you a Real Hurricane fan? As usual, our winner will have an opportunity to be a guest blogger Friday. I'll need all responses limited to 500 words or less by 10 p.m. Wednesday. I'll pick a winner and announce here on Thursday morning.


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1st! Good topic, I'll post later.

A Real Cane:

A Real cane does not pucker up in big games.

A Real cane has their name on the back of their jersey!

A Real cane does not drop balls that are thrown to him.

A Real cane does not throw interceptions into triple coverage.

A Real cane wants the ball all the time.

A Real cane has bright gold teeth with dreads.

A Real cane defeat opponents just by walking on to the field.

A Real cane is bigger, faster, stronger then the other team.

A Real cane will not let his team lose to North Carolina and Georgia Tech especially at the OB.

Manny, I agree with some of your assessment, but I still they still should be able to win games.

I know Shannon said that they don't "trust/believe in" the coaches. I understand what he is saying a little bit, but I would have said to the players,

"If you want to prove that we(coaches) don't know what we are talking about, why don't you do exactly what we tell you for one (1) week of practice and 1 game. If you do that and we are wrong, then we will tell you we are 'wrong', but you haven't given us an opportunity to prove anything, except that you are working half-ass."

"We don't know if we are right or wrong because, you are not allowing us to test our system - you are bullsh!ting. Why don't you come out here and prove that we are 100% wrong? That is what I am asking you. You think we are wrong, back it up!"

That is one way to reach some players.

After listening to his press conferences and some of the interviews from the position coaches - they know what they are talking about. However, they have to continue to "work just as hard" or harder than the players to get everybody to "buy-in". Remember, the players only have to worry about themselves- one individual. The coaches have to worry about 10-15 guys, and Shannon has responsibility of 125-150 people - the entire football program. It is a big job to be responsible for so many, but not it is not an excuse.

The coaches have to ensure that the players know their assignments "cold" during the week, so players are not guessing or hesitating during games. Simplicity + repetition = execution.

Ultimately it is about wins and losses, however, the Canes need to ensure they have small victories during the weeks of practice to translate to victories during the week.

The coaches challenge is to manufacture victories with the group they have. Shannon didn't grow up privileged so, he knows what it is like when "Momma don't get paid until Friday, but you have to make dinner with the little groceries that are in the house from Tuesday until she gets paid." or "Make Lemonade out of Lemons"

First of all a REAL CANE knows that they aren’t entitled to anything and have to claw and fight for everything they get. They don’t take anything for granted and play every down like it’s the last time they will ever see the field. REAL CANES don’t need coaches to make them run for punishment because they take it upon themselves to strive for perfection and won’t except anything less.

A REAL CANE plays so hard and with so much intensity that the players on the other team want to quit because they are getting punished ever play. They step on the field and know that nobody is going to play with more heart than them. A REAL CANE would give anything and everything for the U because they are the U.

A REAL CANE is a winner period.

A real Hurricane is defined as a player that understands what the U on the helmet has meant for so many. He is a hard, disciplined, do anything to win warrior. A real Cane will not accept losing to North Carolina, Georgia Tech, & Virginia. A real CANE will also not accept barely beating Duke – twice.

The real Hurricanes on our current roster are numbers 1, 2, 8, 23, 24, 29, 30, 32, 38, 41, 44, 46, 47, 50, 52, 54, 68, 71, 72, 74, 82, 83, 84, 85, & 94.

Some former Canes that I fell epitomize a True Cane are Kevin Everett, Reggie Wayne, Ray Lewis, Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Dwayne Johnson, Andre Johnson, Rohan Marley, Lamar Thomas, Bernie Kosar, Gino Torretta, Ken Dorsey, Jim Kelly, Randy Shannon, Edgerrin James, Devin Hester, Ed Reed, Willis Magahee, Michael Irvin, Jonathon Vilma, Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, & Michael Barrow.

The Miami program is the one that most closely resembles the characteristics that we Marines have. The brotherhood, selflessness, camaraderie, doing more with less, overcoming obstacles, never quit attitude. I know it when I see it. The U football team does not accept applications only selfless commitments. That is what attracted me as a fan. I am a CANE fan for life!

How do you as a fan define a Real Hurricane?

To me, four words define a Real Hurricane: LEADER, PLAYMAKER, COMPETITOR, and WINNER. All the great Canes of the past (Kelly, Irvin, Walsh, Blades, Torretta, Dorsey, Reed, Lewis, to name a few) exemplify these 4 qualities. The Hurricane tradition as we know it was built on those 4 principles. Great Hurricane teams of the past no matter the regime (Schnelly, JJ, Erickson, Davis, and Coker) all had great Leadership (Coaching and Locker room), Playmakers, Fierce Competitors, and they were all Winners! In recent years, we've struggled in all 4 phases and this is why our teams struggle now and why they fall short of the expectations the fans have. There is not one single STRONG locker room leader that when he speaks gets results. Not one! We've had a few guys step and speak to the team, but the team has not responded. I remember hearing the locker room speech Ed Reed gave at halftime vs. BC in the 2001 season (its on YouTube). That is a leader; he got those guys ready to play the 2nd half. We need that to come back. In terms of playmakers, we do have some talent, but not enough consistency in the playmaker department. The ones we do have are true freshman, and they will get better with time, but it is very difficult to get consistency when you have to depend on true freshman as your best players. Competitiveness is what has hurt us the most in recent years. During the Coker era, complacency became the norm and the sense of in-house competition that fueled the Hurricane tradition in years past had been lost. Shannon is trying to restore this, but again it will take time as the mentality of the kids here know is not of that competitive nature. Once RS is able to get "his" guys in, we will start getting results in the Win column. Lastly, a Real Hurricane is a WINNER! He may not be the biggest (Moss bros, Portis, etc), he may not be strongest (Dorsey), he may not be the fastest (Reed), but no matter, a real Hurricane plays with a chip on his shoulder and no matter what gets the job done, point blank, a Real Hurricane is an overachiever, nothing short of a WINNER!

Who are The Real Hurricanes on this team?

This is a hard to answer right now because the current guys aren't quite living up to the Hurricane tradition. But if I had to pick, my criteria would be, who would former Canes pick from this team to stand side by side with them, if they had to pick a group of individuals from this team to play for them, and that possessed the 4 qualities above. I'd say the following:

QB - Robert Marve (Kid has Cane Moxy, I've lost faith in Kyle and Kirby)
RB - Baby J, Supa Coop (Haven't seen or heard enough about Shawnbrey yet)
WR - Darnell Jenkins (Shields has to get tougher and make more plays)
TE - None (Zellner tries hard, and is closet of this group)
OL - Morse and Franklin (But I'd like to see more from D. Mo in leadership dept. Rochford is overachiever, but not enough of a leader. Franklin I believe has it. He'll be a good one.)
DL - Calais and Moncur (Both need to step up in consistency and in leadership dept)
LB - McCarthy and Gooden (Talent wise, they aren't as good as past Canes LBs but they do try but need more leadership qualities)
DB - Kenny Phillips, Anthony Reddick (We really Miss Reddick in my opinion, and KP is trying to become that leader, but he needs to demand more from his teammates)
ST - I don't think any of our kickers are special in any way. No Huerta's here. :-(

Which former Canes do you look to as fan as Real Hurricanes? Too many too list: Kelly, Kosar, Toretta, Walsh, Dorsey, Sapp, J. Brown, Cortez, "Tiger" Clark, Medaris, Barrow, Armstead, D. Smith, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, The Rock, Vilma, DJ, Sean Taylor, Portis, Gore, Andre Johnson, Irvin, Perriman, "Thrill" Hill, Lamar Thomas, Horace Copeland, Shockey, Winslow, Huerta, Blades Bros, Moss bros, Winston Moss, just too many to list, too many!

What makes you a Real Hurricane fan? I'm a real Canes fan because I bleed green and orange. I'm a Cane no matter what and I'm not a fair weather fan. I've been a Cane fan now for 22 yrs and have stayed with this team through the great years and the down years. Also I appreciate the history and tradition of the program and respect it. I believe it is that tradition that has continued to keep us in the light we are regarded in despite the current woes of the team now. Plain and simple, I LOVE UM!

In looking back at our successful teams, one common characteristic was that the players seemed to take ownership of the team. They knew the responsibility to win was on them, and accepted the challenge. Those players took UM's success or failure personally.

Employees put their time in and go home, without any concern of the overall success of their employer.

A business owner works as hard and as long as it takes to make sure the business is successful. Its a 24/7 committment, and they lose sleep at night thinking and worrying about the business. They take it personally.

We've got a few too many employees here, and not enough owners. Maybe the reconnection with Dade County (assuming the verbals hold up) will help RS install the pride of ownership that seems to be lacking.

A real Cane has the attitude and swagger.
A real cane knows there going to win no matter the team we are playing no matter the score.
A real Cane don't take losing lying down.
A real Canes don't keep losing to these bum teams we keep losing to. Our talent level might be down but it's still better than 3/4 of the rest of the ACC. I would say only FSU comes close.

What is a "real hurricane"? A REAL HURRICANE embodies the term PLAYMAKER. They win because they make plays and have the talent to make plays every time the ball is snapped or kicked. The reason Miami has had success in the past isn't because it had leaders (except at QB where leaders are necessary); Miami won because all the players on the field KNEW they were going to win, and there wasn't anything the opposition could do about it. It wasn't about stomping on the opposition's logo in the middle of the field before a big game; it wasn't about trash talking; it wasn't about the fans; it wasn't about the city of Miami; it wasn't about anything but the players and their own pride. To name a few of these players in the past: Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Santana Moss, Philip Buchanon, Devin Hester, Kellen Winslow, etc. Those guys all had something in common: talent and pride (other than the fact that most of them were jerks and wanted what was best for himself - the NFL). That's why most of the country hates Miami and that's what it was all about. Too many people make the mistake of saying that a "real Hurricane" is someone who is a leader, etc., etc. Really it's just about talent and pride and WINNING.

The current team has less "real Hurricanes" than I have fingers on one hand. In fact, the only one I see is Randy Shannon, and he's not a player. A few could emerge (e.g. Javarris James, Graig Cooper, Orlando Franklin, Demarcus Van Dyke, etc.), but I think they have a long way to go to embody that playmaker role.

I'm a real fan because I stick by my Hurricanes through thick and thin. I recognize that this team isn't the Miami of old but that things are changing. I'm not going to keep my head in the gutter because of bad recruiting and bad coaching (before Shannon). I'm a "real hurricane" fan because I KNOW they are going to be good, and I KNOW the are going to win!

Real Cane: Look it up in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of Ed Reed...TALENT, INTESITY, BIG PLAY ABILITY, AND THE FOCUS TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!

Who are The Real Hurricanes on this team? Sooper Coop, Kenny Phillips, Darnell Jenkins, and Big Calais...why? see above.

What makes you a Real Hurricane fan?
Checkin the blogs on daily basis, showing up to a Thanksgiving day game by myself, listening to non televised games on the internet on beatiful Saturday afternoons, keeping my season tickets despite living on the other side of the country, still having heartburn from losing to Arizona in a bowl more than 10 years ago, following and rooting for any NFL team with a 'Cane on it (i'm the only Giants fan who cheers for the Skins), and most importantly, still thinking the U is going to go up to Talli and beat the everliving ____ out of FSU!

A real Hurricane is someone who even when the team is not playing well they still show up. I am going to the Florida State game and I'm going to keep going to games no matter if they win or not. It's great to be a hurricane fan. We will turn it around soon. Stay focused folks, it will turn around.

A real cane is a player who believes they are the best and leaves everything he has on the feild. A real cane doesn't take anyone lightly. A real can plays with a chip on his shoulder that says im the best and im gonna prove it every play. A real can doesn't just beat northcarolina they blow there doors off and say you don't deserve to be on the same feild as me. Current real canes are kenny phillips, calais campbell, javaris james and graig cooper. Real canes of the past are Michael irvin, Ken dorsey, Warren sapp, Damione Lewis, Ray Lewis , Jerome brown and Jim kelly guys who'd go through a wall to wim and wouldn't take anything less from there teamates.

There really isn't much left to say here.
I think there is one thing that made Miami what is WAS. And that was ATTITUDE. We had the swagger because we had the Tude. That's what made people hate us. They hated the attitude that came along with the swagger.
We were the Ali of college football. We talked the talk and walked the walk. We told you we would lay a beatdown on you and then go out and do it. And the only thing that stood in our way was ourselves. We predicted we'd win the crown and we went out and did it. All great teams have one thing in common. Attitude. To a man, every time they stepped on the field they were sure they would win. Losing never even entered their minds. They were winners before they stepped on the field. They had a winning ATTITUDE.

It will be some time before these Canes get recognized as REAL CANES!! Not because thry haven't done some one thing to get some recognition; there is some talent afoot here. Real Canes will find a way to inspire others to victory. Kenny Dorsey and Gino Torretta were less than stellar physical specimens. Jim Kelly was rarely the best QB when he stepped on to the field in his time. I can't begin to tell you of the guys like Dan Morgan that sat behind someone else. Even the great Ray Lewis, Michael Barrow and Warren Sapp had to be shown the way.

It is a priveledge to be a Cane, it is no one's birthright. We will rise up again, and the tatoo on my right arm will always remind me I KNOW how special life can be.

Name me another school with our lack of financial support and big money ties that has 5 National Championships. The players that won those championships are the ones who, now, have to show the way. We are not USC. We are not Oklahoma. We, thank GOD Almighty, are not Notre Dame. What we get, as always, we will earn, but we will have to walk before we run. Former payers, former non players, step up. If you got a degree from UM or you are and NFL player, I suspect you ain't hurtin'.

I will say I am impressed with Edge and the Rock. Put your money where your heart is, and from whence your success arose. Bring us together, now, and as time rolls on.

It is not complicated, the players on the great teams expected to win...losing never was thought and as long as the clock ticked, some how, some way Hurricanes win...the players knew it, the fans knew it and winning was a habit. No thought that making a mistake was bad and if one was made on offense the defense took care of it and vice versa...fearless football with no thought of the possibility of losing. The great players and teams made mistakes...they fumbled and threw interceptions (yes, even into triple coverage) and let a few bad teams hang around too long...but ultimately the combined Hurricane effort was a team win...no finger pointing, one for all and all for one and 100% effort for 60 minutes. No fear of losing so no fear of going all out and never a thought of being conservative to protect a lead...thats why we beat other teams, if they had a little success they got conservative trying to protect a lead that Hurricanes soon took back. No fear of failure because Hurricanes overcome mistakes..True Hurricanes!

A real 'Cane works so much harder in practice, stays so much longer in the film room and pushes so much further in the weight room that when the get out on the field on game day they deserve to be cocky.

A true 'Cane earns the swagger with blood, sweat and tears.

A true 'Cane knows what Santana Moss knew in 2000 when he scored a game changing touchdown, ripped off his helmet and screamed into TV cameras:

"Big time players make big time plays in big time games."

A REAL 'CANE is the type of player that puts the team on his back and refuses to relent. All of the 'Canes that have had success in the NFL had that attitude -- even guys like Jeff Feagles and he's a freakin' PUNTER!!! The recent generation of NFL 'Canes knows that it's more than just throwing up the "U" sign in the end zone. It's the blood, sweat, and tears that you put in before, during, and after the season that allow you to get into that end zone that makes you a true 'Cane.

A real Cane:

Ray Lewis...enough said...

Ed Reed: "Don't ask me if I'm hurt, hell yeah I'm hurt!!!" The emotion and drive of Ed Reed to me is what defines what a real hurricane should be.

Don't get me wrong, he's not the only one. He's just the first of many that stands out to me.

Manny, I've been a CANE fan longer than you have been walking without diapers. I've never seen offense so poorly executed tha I have the last 5 years, even in the Frank Costa-Ryan Clement-Kenny kelly years. In those lean years, we had very few athletes, but a lot of heart, so much, that Frank Costa almost stole the National Championship from nebraska in 1994. Now, we have oodles of athletes, and the worse. Yes. The worse. quaterbacking I have seen this isde of Chris Rix. But it's not just that. Wide Receivers dropping soooo many balls, what the heck is that all about? Nobody wants to step up and be a leader! Who is going to step up and take over a game like McGahee, Portis, EJ, Ray Lewis once did? How is it that UM players no l;onger use the sandbox at the practice filed? I heard they complained and Coker stopped using it. In the past, off season conditioning was brutal... that's why we owned the fourth q. There IS NO EXCUSE TO LOSE TO NC 2 OUT OF 3 YEARS, TO VIRGINIA LAST YEAR, TO GT 3 YEARS IN A ROW. NO EXCUSE! We have had chances, but all are thrown away by Kyle Wrights last minute redzione ints. It is utterly Inexplicable.

Real CAnes in my opinion:
Brock Berlin---yes. See what he did Several times: he broughtus back from the brink of defeat!
Teraz McCray
Brian PAta

Note to Calais and Kenny: You ain't good enough for the NFL yet. This year proved it. You need one more year.


A real 'Cane works so much harder in practice, stays so much longer in the film room and pushes so much further in the weight room that when the get out on the field on game day they deserve to be cocky.

A true 'Cane earns the swagger with blood, sweat and tears.

A true 'Cane knows what Santana Moss knew in 2000 when he scored a game changing touchdown, ripped off his helmet and screamed into TV cameras:

"Big time players make big time plays in big time games."

Posted by: CaneInCali | October 18, 2007 at 05:09 AM

FYI, Moss was quoting Rohan Marley from an FSU game back in the day. Rohan was the first to say, "Big time players make big time plays in big time games!"

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