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UM still a coach's dream

The University of Miami may not have the budget to pay coaches top dollar or a recent history of success one would imagine enticing enough to make outsiders believe this is a place the best football leaders in the country want to be.

But there is something about The U (no matter what it is lacking right now in a 19-19, three-year span of ordinary football) that still makes it an extraordinary place for coaches to want to be. I believe its because it's a place where all the right ingredients are in place to hit the game-winning home run and be the hero.

New defensive coordinator John Lovett met the media Thursday. That's exactly what new defensive coordinator John Lovett meant when he used the phrases "very thrilled," "very fortunate," and "very lucky," to describe his feelings about getting the job. Lovett, 58, has been in a lot of other coaching huddles. Auburn. Clemson. Mississippi. And most recently, Butch Davis' up at North Carolina, a team most could argue is in a much better position than UM to succeed having won their last two meetings against the Canes.

But coming to UM? No way Lovett was going to pass that up, no matter how hard it was to walk into Davis' office and tell him he was leaving for another team in the ACC. The same could be said for offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. This is a guy who won a Super Bowl with Pittsburgh, was in line to move up the coaching ladder with a Philadelphia Eagles team that was in the NFC Championship game. But then, The U came calling. Didn't Bill Young say the same things a year ago before he returned home for the only job that was really better?

Lovett told us he's been eyeing the Canes a long time -- even before he stopped delivering furniture or driving a zamboni during hockey games at Mount Union College when he first got into coaching. 

"When I was a coach, one of the first places I visited was the place," Lovett said. "I visited Dave Campo, who had just taken a job here. I was at the University of Maine. He said come down here and talk some football. They had just beaten Oklahoma, won the national championship that year Because of that trip I also met Tommy Tuberville. Coach [Butch] Davis was working here at the time. I made a lot of good contacts. Every time you looked when I was a young coach, this was the U. They always had terrific players, were in the hunt for a national championship. It was a place that `Geez, it would be great to coach here someday.''

> Lovett has his chance now and he knows he'll have to act fast with less than two weeks before the start of spring football. He told us he still hasn't familiarized himself with the players and only recently started to watch film. The good news is he's going to make UM's transition to a fourth different coordinator in four seasons as easy as possible. Instead of learning a new language, Lovett said he'll try to keep the same terminology for most of the stuff he's implementing. "I'd rather one person learn it than 50 people learn it," he said. "To me that makes a lot of sense."

> His defense will also not stretch beyond the playing limits of his player's talents or smarts. "It'll be similar to what they've done here," Lovett said. "We'll base out of a four-man front, play some zone coverage, man coverage, some type of pressure. It's not like we'll come in and change the whole scheme, be blitzburg. It'll be in that format and style. Every place I go I try to find out what the guys we have can do and cater to them. If you don't have corners that can cover, defensive ends that can play inside, you have to adjust the personnel you have to make it fit, be successful."

> Credit special teams coach Joe Pannunzio for helping bring Lovett over. Lovett said the two are old friends and after Pannunzio asked him if he was interested, he passed it on to Shannon who did the rest. 

> While many of us think Randy Shannon might have a bigger hand with UM's defense in light of him telling us he might just do the job himself, Lovett expects to be running the show on his own. "Obviously everything we do I'll run by him, especially if it's something different," Lovett said. "I've worked for Tommy Tuberville, Butch Davis. Both those guys were defensive coaches. Neither really meddled in what I was doing. The big thing all of these guys want is they want to make sure what you're doing fits in their philosophy and that the kids are playing fast and hard."


In all, we got a chance to speak with four players Thursday: offensive tackle Jason Fox, linebacker Sean Spence, kicker Matt Bosher and defensive end Eric Moncur. We didn't learn a whole lot beyond the fact they're very excited about taking on what will be a very challenging start to the 2009 season. But there were some brief thoughts, notes to pass along.

Sean Spence > For starters, Canes fans need not worry about Sean Spence getting a big head after his big freshman season. The kid said his father, a Miami Northwestern assistant coach, still calls him every week to remind him where he came from and what he needs to work on. Spence said he's definitely taking on more of a leadership role with Glenn Cook gone, teaching fellow freshmen like Arthur Brown, Jordan Futch and Ramon Buchanon what he learned last year. Spence also told me he's gained six pounds of muscle from end of last season and is now weighing 213.

> Fox is stepping up his game, too. Fox said he can't believe he's already a senior (neither can I) and Spence said he's noticed Fox taking more of a leadership role in the weight room, getting on other players and holding them accountable. With several offensive linemen gone and several newcomers, Fox said he knows its going to be a challenge to fill some holes. When asked if he thought prep school recruits Brandon Washington and Jermaine Johnson might be able to help right away, he said it was up to them and their work ethic.

"I remember the first game I started at Florida State – it was an experience for me seeing the change in the speed of the game," Fox said. "If players don't see the field right away it's mostly learning the offense. The game is so complex. It takes as much time in the film room and studying the play book as anything else. It's harder than people realize. It can be extremely challenging to an incoming freshman who is not only trying to learn football, but get adjusted to college life. It's a whole out of body experience."

> As for Moncur, he said he was really worried he might not get a chance at a sixth-year of eligibility. ACC rules require players to wait until the end of the season to file for medical redshirts. Moncur's return next season should be a great influence on Adewale Ojomo, Allen Bailey, Marcus Forston and the rest of the talented linemen UM has. 


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1st! Great Manny!


Can't wait!

Go Canes!

Your on a roll Manny!

What do you think about the possibility of Ken Dorsey returning to be a QB coach? Would there be a mutual interest on that from Dorsey & RS?

I'm optimistic that the team can be 3-1 after the first four. With a new OC & a new DC, along with the valuable playing time these young athletes received, it would be an advantage.

Great post!!

Let's get the ball rollin'!!

I think we have a shot at Oklahoma with our strong begining schedule and their weaker schedule. Our speed will be way better than what the Sooners will have seen all season. Here is their begining schedule:

Sept. 5 -- Brigham Young @ Dallas
Sept. 12 – Idaho State
Sept. 19 -- Tulsa
Oct. 3 -- @ Miami

We are their first real road test and if we can do well and learn with the first three games we have, we might be able to shock the world.

Makes sense for a guy like Lovett to come here. We've got talent on D and he'll get plenty of pub if we do well. If he does well here, he can land a nice job as hc somewhere.

It will be interesting, no real grasp on how the Canes will do. There are so many changes, and new additions that how it will work out is up in the air.

Dear Herald Brass, Give Manny a raise!

If the U does great this coming season, Whipple will need to be the miracle man. Lots of pts on the board by the O. It is so much pressure to put on Whipple to be the points man. Yet, being a realist, how Whpple uses the talent is the key to next year.

I love spence and fox stepping up to the plate to really take on a leadership role. thats the exact stuff i love to hear.



All one needs to do, is to look at every stop for Coach Whipple. He's never had the talent he has here and he was still able to pull off "great turnarounds."

I experienced it. He is the real deal.

And with the speed and talent he has to work with at UM, this is going to be "The Greatest Show On Turf V-2.0".

Read below:

At every stop, the trademark of a Whipple-coached team is high-powered offensive play, and his UMass squads have rewritten the Minuteman record book, setting 38 team records over the last five years. In 1998, UMass set new school single season marks for points scored (524), touchdowns (73), total yards (7,074), highest average yards per play (5.9), passing yards (4,050), completions (306) and first downs (354). The 1999 team finished with totals of 415 points, 55 touchdowns, 5,673 total yards, 5.6 yards per play, 3,230 passing yards, 271 completions and 289 first downs, all of which rank as the second-highest single season totals in school history, behind the marks set a year earlier. In addition, 14 different UMass players have earned All-America honors during Whipple’s five years as head coach.

Yes, he must do it. I agree.

But, like I said above - I've seen it happen. And before I saw what I saw - I was like you. So, I understand your - "show me."

Frankly, I personally hope most, if not all, Canes fans hold they're judgment until they see it happen. It's more exciting that way.

But, as I've said before UM will have multiple RB's and WR's with over 1000 yards each. The offense will average 50+ points per game and will average over 500 yards of offense per game. He expects nothing less.

Well, I can only speak to the offensive change about to take place at UM. But, if the new DC can tighten up "D" just a little bit, we are in for a very good season.


He has done this many, many times. Turning teams that were 2-9 the year before his arrival and typically flipping the W-L ratio, or winning a national championship or both.

He Was Always Successful. Every Time!

Read my post just before this one.

But, please hold your judgment until you see it for yourself.

I love the schedule. It works out perfect. Miami will beat FSU and then it'll have 10 days to prepare for the triple option of Georgia Tech. We always beat VA Tech and we get Oklahoma at home. Those are our 4 toughest games bar none. If we can go 4-0 we won't lose the rest of the year.

Let's do this Baby!!! It is time. All the pieces that we were missing are finally in place.


we always beat virginia tech? vt won in 2007, 2006,2004 and 2003. thats four of the last 6.

if um had a clue instead of every year playing at vt and fsu or home against fsu and vt they should have split them when they joined the acc.

Well first great article.
Lets see. This is something. I say give Whipple and Lovett a chance. These are vets to the game. They know what they are doing. I love hearing that Spence is getting in on the leadership. Thats something that we have been lacking for sometime now. I want to see Arthur Brown get some snaps also. But he has to pick up quick and learn the scheme. Jason Fox also. I cant wait until next season..wait spring practice also. Come on Bryce...

and we do not always beat va tech. this year we did beat them stopped that freshman..but their defense played great. ours just played better. i didnt like the move of marcus robinson playing de..but it worked.he is a beast. but vtech is still a good team. remember they won the acc last year.

Great job Manny! Rapid fire and with passion! I think Coach Lovett is a Randy Clone in terms of coaching style. They will get along fine and maybe Randy can be freed for all the other prep stuff to grow more as a coach.

One thing about the int with Lovett that resonates is the CHANCE to win it all with the U! It is like the U has the horsepower potential to go all the way (cause of the talent within 5 miles of the school and tradition) which places like North Carolina will never really have. The trick is how to work that engine to max...

Great job Manny. You take pride in your work and in getting the info. out to the readers. It is deeply appreciated. Keep up the great work. I wish that those 4 tough games could have been spaced out better, but you play the hand you are dealt. I know that the palyers, Coach Shannon, the coordinators and coaches will all be up to the task and make us proud. Go Canes!!
P.S.- Does anyone know if there is a more "marquee" game on opening weekend than UM vs. FSU? Just was wondering. Also, I think this is the earliest we have played Va. Tech in the ACC or even going back to the Big East.

This team is starting from scratch in a BUNCH of places.
New OC, new DC, trainwreck HC. God did anyone mention the O-line. This team has 7-5 written all over it. It's who U are. NO ODDSMAKER IN THE WORLD COULD FIND EIGHT WINS ON U SCHEDULE. That schedule and the extensive list of 08 problems that will take time to overcome combine to give this team headaches in 09. If you think it's gonna be a big party NOW that Harris is QB and WHIPPLE and Melon head are here, you'll be in for a very long season.

It's always fun to watch cane fan get juiced about the huge season that awaits. Then the season STARTS. There are serious depth issues on this team. I'm talking about the type of depth issues that show themselves late in a season ala 3-game losing streak.

U fan loves to play fast and easy with the word "depth" by choosing to call recruits who HAVE DONE NOTHING...."depth."

Take a REALISTIC look at your depth chart and come to the only logical conclusion. Remember cane fan, recruits with little or no playing time and little or no production DON"T equate to "depth."

(Don't be a victim of the highly flawed "Dom" football theory. In his glossy little world, 4 & 5 stars automatically lead to a "stacked team" with "depth." Thus guaranteeing conference one year and BCS the next. U have been woefully bad at developing your talent for many years now. We didn't see that ending at the end of 08 either. It will continue. )


I realize Um is still young and trying to find its way, i.e. rebuilding, but UM's mantra has always been ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

Even in the Big EAst days and especially during the Indep. days, Um never shyed away from playin anyone: Michigan, SEC teams, Pac 10 teams, ACC teams, Oklahoma, etc. Other than Notre Dame, there are few schools who can actually say that. SEC fans talk about they almighty SEC, but SEC teams typically play powder puff teams and rarely the big boys on a consistent basis.

In order for UM and its young players to get back to the big stage it has to put down an impressive, marquee win- say, vs Oklahoma? Like UM's win in 1998 against #3 UCLA. That will set off an unprecendented level of confidence in our players the likes we havent seen since 1999-2000.

Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone!

After reading the Lovett resume and interview I do not believe he will be leaving the U for a head coaching job. He is a career assistant coach. He is 58 years old. He will be too old to be considered by a major for head coaching position since he has no head coaching experience and the lower division schools pay less than the U pays for the coordinator job. If Lovett is successful I think he will be here for a long time unless he is offered a coordinator job at another Div I for a ton of money.

Looking at his history with former "U" coaches going back to Dave Campo and his comments, it appears that he is a "U" guy and will fit nicely with Randy and the traditions of the "U". Of course the wild card in all of this is his wife,..., since they have always been in college towns,..., how does she like Miami?

Whipple is short term. I am sure that will bring success to the "U" offense but he appears to be someone who is still climbing the coaching ladder. If he is successful, I expect to see him back in the NFL or offered a head coaching job elsewhere in Div I.

If you guys think that FSU, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are looking at their schedules and marking Miami as a win than you guys are dumber than I thought. ESPN said that unless you play Georgia Tech on the first game or a bowl game you really only have 3 days to prepare for the triple option and most teams can't prepare with that little amount of time. Because of the schedule UM will now have 10 days to prepare. If we beat Va Tech's Varsity last year with our freshman team imagine now when we bring our JV team. If you think Marcus Forston, Allen Bailey, Moncur and the boys are going to let Sam Bradford sit there all day and just pick our DB's apart you're crazy.Oklahoma lost some of their big boys that were protecting him. And FSU knows that Antwoin Smith (4 td's vs Miami) he's gone and so are some of their receivers. You think Ponder will run for 300 yards again against us? You're crazy.

Good article Manny

The Oklahoma game is the toughest of the 4 first on the schedule. Sam Bradford is a great QB and that offense is pretty difficult to slow down. It would definetly require pressure from our front 4 and a couple of mistakes from Bradford. I wonder what type of crowd we will get that day.


Posted by: Whip it up; | February 13, 2009 at 06:17 AM

Stay off the drugs! As U say "depth", did U not see we had 7 or 8 TRUE freshmen score TDs last year? They are sophmores this year, and is that not depth? We will have the same impact this year by some key TRUE freshmen just like we did last year (Ray Ray, Reid, Dye, etc.). PLUS all the kids that were red shirted or on special teams ready to step in and contribute (Streeter, Cookie, Arthur, etc.). Is that not depth? God, you are infected with the I-D-10-T virus!

Stop the jealousy, and just sit back, and watch. Of course people want Miami to fail. Too bad this has ended, and Shannon has built a fence around So Flo once again. This is the only time any other school in this state can do anything with the exception of FSU because they seem to hang right with us.

When you are placed in the location you are surrounded by tremendous talent, you will always have the ingredients to be successful. It's been proven, and is Coker's fault we lost that. Shannon is here to put it back, and we will once again be THE U!


Hopefully the FSU game on Labor Day won't be the same disaster it was last year. That was the most boring football game I've seen to date. Both teams played so conservative that nothing really happened. I hope both teams let it fly.

I meant last time they played on Labor Day, not last year. Last year was a great game. The last Labor Day game, not so much.


Whats Kendall Thompkins status? That guy could be a sleeper that surprises the entire country next year.

Posted by: Canesjunkie | February 13, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Your first post, I was like "what game were U watchin'". Last years game was the most up and down emotinally game I have ever watched besides UCLA in '98 of course.

But the one you are talking about, yes, was the ugliest game I have ever seen both those teams play. I blame that on the QBs at that time.

For alot of U guys that are into the star ratings. I went to rivals and looked up stars from the 02 and 03 -etc classes. On Oh States 2002 class, the true fr class the beat us in the fiesta, AJ HAWK the #5 pick in the draft was a 3 star LB, and Sanantonio holmes, who looked awesome in the superbowl and was a high draft pick , was also a 3 star. They had 5 stars and 4 stars ahead of them on that same class, yet those 2 are shining in the NFL along with others, yet Most of U would have bashed them saying. ohhhh, they are only 3 stars--- And, coker had a ton of 4 and 5 star people that just didnt pan out or left the team., Guillon the qb, and like 10 names from 1 class never saw the field, which is the main reason for our decline. All his top players never panned out, and the 3 star kids never got better, hence the drop off. But, there are a ton of 2 and 3 star kids that peak later in life, so, whenever we get a 2-3 star kid, U never know--------but those 2 I mentioned for oh state were not even top kids, and now they dominate in the nfl. Its what U do when U get to college. We have a ton of Football players now that are actually playing. How many true freshman do we ever remember making an impact under coker???

Umasscane, good post , I want to believe that we will average 50 pts a game. But I will wait and see, not headed for vegas yet.

Thanks Manny!

This is going to be the longest offseason in the history of the program. I mean, this is it, do or die time.

With all the SoFla talent out there in next year's recruiting class, we can't afford to go 1-3 or even 2-2 to start the season. And a 3-1 start against that schedule would mean we are in for a verry exciting year.

Whereas for the past few years, there has been a lot of middle ground where we could go 7-6 and still find a way to say it was a success, we got better, good recruting class, young players gaining experience.... To me, this coming season really sets up as a boom or bust proposition.

It's time for the Canes to make their mark.

Man, I am so excited to see what happens, I don't know how I'm gonna make it to Sept!!

Let's go Canes!

Kendall Tompkins is a sleeper...I think Tommy Streeter is someone who is going to really contribute a lot.

First to spring ball, get those plays set and spend the rest of the time fine tuneing the offense. I think Whip will want to make a statement on the first game of the season. I don't think it will be nearly as ugly as the other Labor Day games were.

Actually it could be as long as 3 yrs before the Canes really break out and contend for NC, next yrs recruiting class then give next yrs class a yr. to develop and add to what the U has now. Noone wants to wait that long. Whipple do your thing. And D get strong and smart fast, so next season is the breakout yr. Bust just saying being conservative on development could be 3 yrs.

Speaking of depth...I really hope Cook gets ready this spring and offseason....I completely beleive and know Jacory is the proven leader, but nicks happen...that is the only position which worries with depth, all the other positions are fine.....even TE, if something happens we have the freshman, and we can always open it up and still run the ball (ala Arizona).....and the Labor day game will be great (if the weather co-operates)....

calicane, I think, your are right, the team will be more polished on D and O then has been the case for a number of yr. No,doubt. Still, FlaState, there is not an easy job and they are a big physical team on the upbeat. Thing is about Fla st. they always look unorganized, and each player feeling it is about them last 3-5 yrs. Fla st looks out of control in a lot of games on both sides of the ball, not sure why.

Manny I tried to post a high five on your recruiting update yesterday, but I was locked out. Maybe I have to be nice to Gaturds or something. I hope my name offends any lurking Gaturds who stalk these boards. We will prevail with Jacory at the helm, the kid was born to compete and to prevail!
We are going to Tallahicky and teach all of those Peter Tom Joe Bobs what its all about: Da U!!!!!

Anyone else get the feeling that the best players did not see the field last year and that hurt the team? Ex. Lb Cook and Romeo and there were others that did not have the talent, but played.
I wondered why Arthur and others were not in there,, not like the U was going undefeated, even in the bowl game. My thought was give them experience they burned their redshirt anyway.

I know the offical line was they did not know enough, not buying that, only thing I will buy is minor injury on some guys, so keep them out for their own good. Reason not buying, is because even not knowing enough, their talent would still, bottom line be better, more effective, making plays then some guys that played. {I can see other possibilities, let them develop so when the get in they have confidence and develop better for their overall career} but still I though the best were supposed to play, the competition thing.

We Ballin Buoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now for a reality check, The canes are still a young team of freshmans and soph. A new c.d. and o.c. It takes time for all to jell. The team will be wiser and stronger. The high schoolers ran out of gas toward the end of last season. The team wil never score a zillion points, the coaching philosphy of R.S. is to get a lead and go conservative; let the defense hold. It sucks and is boring football. Just a reality check, not to get overly optimistic.

The U must be in the neighborhood of offering 40 scholarship, already for next yr. What is going on with so many offers already?

Manny is the U way ahead of normal on offering scholarships for next yr, have any idea?


Say we did play Arthur and some of the other freshmen that wern't ready more. Say they misses a couple of assignments and get burned for a couple scores. Then we have a worse season that last year and the close wins become losses while the close losses become blowouts. We'd be all over Randy and say that he is a horrible coach, recruiter, and knows nothing about what he's doing. Most freshman don't see the field anyway so to have as many as we did, along with them contributing right away in a positive manner says alot. The others will get their football I.Q. sharper and be ready to dominate for the next couple of years. We'll be alright.

Wonder if the U changed its recruiting approach, for next yr.? Offer about 50 scholarship, with so many great recruits available, then it is whoever signs first at certain needs gets the spot. NO, more late jerk off signings,I would be all for that.

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