Patrick Nix fired the first shots, saying Miami's football coach preferred to be conservative (a bad word to play making recruits) than aggressive with his offense. 24 hours later, Robert Marve, Eugene Marve and Tampa Plant coach Robert Weiner fired theirs with an uzi. They used words like shameful, unsupportive, mistrust and cowardly as ammunition. Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon? He has stood like a super hero with a steel chest, letting each and every comment bounce off.
But while Shannon is taking the high road and avoiding a public war of words (maybe he did learn something from that little Urban Meyer fiasco), the haterade being fired by Marve's peeps and Nix are landing somewhere. They are falling into the waiting arms of UM's opponents who plan to use the juicy, tasty material to try and keep the Canes from succeeding. And it couldn't come at a worse time as Miami is trying to strengthen its coaching staff and trying to wrap up a strong recruiting class five weeks before national national signing day.
The Canes of course have survived these times before. Five-time national champions get fired upon plenty over time. We've remember the old bullets. After the Bryan Pata and Sean Taylor murders the talk was 'Miami isn't a safe place.' Before things got cleaned up, it was all about 'Thug U.'
The question is will the new flavor of haterade hurt the Canes? I mean, can't you hear them being uttered already? A certain coach from an in-state school going into the home of a recruit also being chased by the Canes and telling him: "Why would you want to play for Randy Shannon? He doesn't take care of the players he recruits. He doesn't back them up. And, he doesn't want to run a high-scoring offense."
Or, what about potential coaches who might know Nix? Think some of the guys Shannon has let go won't be apt to tell people, "Shannon has brought in his own guys, then fired them and didn't even really give them a chance to do what they wanted."
It's going to happen. The question is again will it hurt? The short term answer is it very well could. The long term answer could be no -- as long as Shannon continues to play his cards right. I spoke to one UM official earlier this morning who told me the fact Shannon reacted positively to the dirt being tossed his way by Marve and Nix was a great first step. The next? Could be letting this issue die by freeing Robert Marve from his SEC transfer ban. But as of now, the same UM official told me, that doesn't look like its going to happen.
> The good news for UM: Current UM commitments and recruits at least don't seem phased. While the Hurricanes are no longer in the running for Tampa Plant tight end Orson Charles (he was likely headed to Georgia anyway), many of the recruits I've spoken to in the last few days don't seem bothered by what's transpired in the last 48 hours at Miami.
Plantation cornerback Brandon McGee, a UM January arrival who has impressed scouts this week in San Antonio out at the U.S. Army All-American game, told me he wasn't shocked Nix was fired and said everything being said about Shannon is "bull."
Quarterback recruit A.J. Highsmith, the son of former Cane Alonzo Highsmith, said he respects Shannon's tough love tactics and the fact he's a disciplinarian. "I've known coach Shannon probably longer than most people because of my dad. Unless something really crazy happens, I'm going to UM,'' said Highsmith, who led his team to the Texas 5A state finals two weeks ago.
"I think its just one of the things that goes on in the football business. I never had a problem with coach Nix. But I don't think my opinion matters with him leaving. Miami is going to be Miami no matter what. As for Marve, I think with him leaving, I'll probably have even more of a chance to play. So, that's exciting."
One thing I can gather from all of my conversations with current and future players is that whoever Miami hires to replace Nix as offensive coordinator has to be someone aggressive. "I'd like somebody who runs the spread offense, but incorporates the pro offense," Highsmith said. "That's what a lot of guys run now in offense. I think the spread is what works for them. But I think as long as we're scoring points, the ball is getting spread around, nobody is going to care."