Playoffs? NFL playoffs at Eye On The U? Normally, I wouldn't bother bringing them up in this blog. But these days -- with recruiting really heating up -- you never know what can help and hurt. And my guess is you probably won't find a bigger Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens fan this coming week than UM coach Randy Shannon.
While Philadelphia and Pittsburgh don't have any UM players on their teams, the Cards and Ravens have seven former Canes between them. You know who they are: running backs Edgerrin James (Arizona) and Willis McGahee (Baltimore), safeties Antrel Rolle (Arizona) and Ed Reed (Baltimore), defensive lineman Calais Campbell (Arizona) and linebackers Tavares Gooden (Baltimore) and Ray Lewis (Baltimore). But if there was ever a real reason for Canes Nation to root for an Arizona-Baltimore Super Bowl in Tampa Feb. 1, it's recruiting.
While recruits obviously know all about Miami's history (the five rings and the countless first round picks) having something fresh and as big as the Super Bowl to talk about in those living room and in-home visits with mom and dad could prove quite valuable to Shannon. Let's not forget all the times those former Canes could throw up a U during Super Bowl week and on media day. Writers are sure to jump on that angle. In the end, that's some nice, very visible free advertising for the Canes. And, at the perfect time for Shannon, who is coming off a mediocre 7-6 season.
> After finally getting back home from the snowy Boston Sunday night, I got a chance to have a long conversation with one of my guys at The U who told me the NFL -- and helping players reach it -- is what Shannon has been selling hard to recruits over the last couple of weeks. And, my source told me, that's why Shannon is intent on bringing in an offensive coordinator who will run a pro style offense. "Whoever thinks coach Shannon wants a conservative offense is wrong," he said. "He wants an offense that's going put up points and help guys get to the next level. That's who we are. We've always been about winning and getting guys to the pros. Ask Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson and all those guys how much it helped to play a pro style. It got them ready."
> As for the offensive coordinator search, I was told there is now some level of urgency on the coaching staff's part (not athletic director Kirby Hocutt) to fill the spot in the next few weeks. The reason: UM wants to be able to show recruits like Bryce Brown (a soft commitment) what type of offense the team will run. UM isn't scared it'll lose Brown (who is supposed to visit either Jan. 23 or 30) but the Canes want to ensure him and other potential recruits the offense will be in good hands. Brown, the nation's No. 1 running back, visited Kansas State over the weekend and told The Manhattan Mercury he's opened up conversation with Tennessee.
> By the way, I've also been told nobody has officially been interviewed in person for the OC job, but several candidates have been contacted over the phone. Our Barry Jackson reported Sunday Mike Shula was one of the ones to decline interest when asked. Shannon, who is not at the College Football Coaches Association meetings in Nashville this week (the majority of his staff is), will likely begin formal interviews this week. Shannon had been on the road doing in-home visits with recruits over the past week -- including making a stop at the home of receiver Rueben Randle, Rivals.com's No. 1 pass-catcher. Randle has told several publications he is now considering Miami again because the Canes got rid of Patrick Nix.