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Alumni: Where is the leadership at The U?

With the University of Miami trailing Florida State 24-7 at halftime Saturday night, Melvin Bratton said he told a group of Hurricanes fans sitting next to him at Land Shark Stadium not to worry. 

Melvin Bratton

"I said this [expletive] ain't over," said Bratton, a running back on the 1987 National Championship. "This is The U. It's 0-0. We're never out of it."

But a little over an hour later, at the end of an embarrassing 45-17 beat down by the Seminoles, Bratton said he came to a sad realization: The U he played for isn't The U of today. What Bratton said troubled him and many other former Hurricanes -- including Michael Irvin, Gino Torretta, Dan Morgan and Leon Searcy -- wasn't that the Canes lost to Florida State. It was the way they lost, with a lack of leadership, urgency and fire from players and coaches up and down the Hurricanes sideline.

"You can blame the coach, you can blame the players. To me, it's a state of emergency right now," Bratton said. "Everybody needs to take control, take a step back and say 'What can I do better? Is it the coaching? Is it the weight room? Do guys need to spend more time studying, dissecting plays? I don't have the answer.

"But what I don't see is any urgency. I don't see that fight. And that is inexcusable."

Irvin and Torretta, who host radio shows on WQAM, have echoed those sentiments this week. Irvin went as so far as saying the program could use "one or two more thugs." He later clarified it to mean hard-nosed leaders on the field.

Although he pointed the finger at himself for Saturday's loss to the Seminoles, UM coach Randy Shannon said Tuesday the Hurricanes need some more vocal leaders on the field. But when asked if the coaches were urging that in practice, Shannon said: "No. [The players] have to do it on their own."

"The coaching staff and myself can demand a lot of them. We can get on them, push them, all the things we do. But like anything, when you have somebody standing next to you pushing you, it's a different voice, a different person talking to you, that helps out a lot," Shannon said.

"You don't just make a leader. I said this on the radio, talking to Michael Irvin. When I was here as a player it was Kevin Fagan, [John] McVeigh, Julio Cortes, Jerome Brown, Mike [Irvin] got involved. It started snowballing. When I started coaching, it was the same thing. Any great football team or really good football team always has leaders that demand stuff out of everybody on the team, not just a coach doing it. That's when you start developing what you need. We've got those guys, they're starting to come out. But we need them to voice it a little bit more."

Bratton said Shannon is right.

"I'm not saying these kids are soft," Bratton said. "But somebody needs to step up on offense and defense and be a leader. I don't see that on the sideline. You watch the game and keep waiting for somebody on the defensive side to go to the offensive side of the ball and say 'What the hell are you all doing?' Jerome Brown and those guys, when we screwed up, he would go check [Vinny] Testaverde, myself, [Alonzo] Highsmith. If we saw the defensive backs giving up long plays, we'd go to the defensive backs and say 'What the hell are you doing dog? Tighten your [expletive] up.' These guys don't hold each other accountable."

Leon Searcy Searcy, who hosts the Canes4Life show on CBS-4 every Saturday at 11:30 a.m., said he sees a huge disconnect at the moment between alumni and the program. Searcy said it has become increasingly difficult for former players to reach out to current players, a trend he said began when Butch Davis took over the program in the mid 1990s. Fewer alumni, he says, are being granted sideline access on game day. Searcy believes connecting more former players with current players could help the young Canes, whom he said never had the opportunity to have mentors like Searcy and his teammates once did, become the vocal leaders Shannon is looking for.

"All this throwing up The U has nothing to do with these kids now," Searcy said. "It has to do with the guys who back in the day that got the University of Miami the reputation for whooping ass every Saturday. These kids don't have that same mentality. They don't have anybody talking to them about the tradition of the University of Miami. They don't have any old guys coming back. When I played at the University of Miami, the older guys had access to the field while we were playing. If we weren't getting it done, you got freaking Cortez Kennedy right there in the defensive huddle telling you what you're not doing. If the linebackers weren't getting it done, you had Winston Moss telling linebackers what to do. If they weren't getting it done in the secondary, Bennie Blades was saying 'Hey man you aren't coming off the edge.'

"That kind of access on the field where not only your coach is telling you something, but guys who have been to the NFL that you'll listen to are saying it too, that resonates. You're a running back. How are you not going to listen to Melvin Bratton, one of the best all-time running backs and fullbacks at the University of Miami. If you're a defensive tackle, how are you not going to listen to Russell Maryland? All that access to the game was a huge plus. It's not there anymore."

Aside from leadership, player development has become another growing concern. Bratton, who went to Miami Northwestern, said he's surprised some of the Hurricanes signed from the Bulls' mythical national championship team of 2007 still haven't been able to get on the field.

"Look at Sam Shields starting [for the Green Bay Packers]. Look at Bruce Johnson. Randy Phillips. Tavares Gooden. These kids didn't get drafted," Bratton said. "Let's be real. This is the NFL. There are only 53 people that can be on a roster. These kids at the University of Miami were part time starters, didn't make any All-American lists. But they can go to the league and dominate? Something is wrong. I don't know if it's coaching or if its scheme. But how can you go to the next level and start on opening day? Somebody isn't getting the best out of these kids.

"You want to have chemistry and allow the players on the field to be who they are. The Ray Ray Armstrongs of the world, when he came in there, the reason he wanted to go to Miami was because he fit the Miami mentality, Sean Taylor-type mentality, knock the [expletive] out of you. You can't pigeon hole those kids. You got to let them go.

"It's not like they don't have it in them. Go to the innercity. Go watch those Pop Warner and Little League football games. You got parents fighting, kids fighting. They know football is their way out. You go to the University of Miami now, it's like a country club."

QUICK HITTERS

> After giving up two long kick returns Saturday, Shannon said Tuesday the Hurricanes have made some personnel changes on their kickoff coverage and punt return teams. Running back Lamar Miller, who returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Ohio State, practiced full-contact Tuesday and should be back for Saturday's game at Duke after sitting out against the Seminoles.

> The Duke Blue Devils might be really good at basketball and only 1-4 on the football field, but Shannon said the trip to Durham this week won't be easy and he's asking his players not to "fall into a trap and just go through the motions."

"Offensively they do a great job of throwing the football around," Shannon said. "They're averaging close to 400 yards on offense. It's going to be a real challenge for our secondary and also our front guys to control the game and get after it a little bit. They have two quarterbacks they use; one is more of a scrambler. They run inside-outside zone in their run game, will try to establish that a little bit and also take shots.

"Defensively they blitz. They bring the corner blitz, free safety, Mike, Sam blitz, every blitz known to man to stop the run but also get you in bad, negative plays on first down. So we have to do a great job on first down of getting positive yards. Second and nine is positive yards; second and 10 is positive yards. You can't get in second and 15 or second down and 18."

> Shannon said quarterback Jacory Harris, who at the very least tweaked his groin against the Seminoles, ran well Tuesday at practice and looked "back to normal." Since Jacory is still unavailable to the media, here is what fullback Pat Hill had to say about his quarterback: "Coming into his freshman year, a lot of people were talking about how small he is. But he's a tough guy," Hill said. "He's battled through injury after injury. He continues to fight for the team. He battles through what good is said about him and what bad is said about him. He's a competitor, he's a fighter."

Comments

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Man, that was a great article and great posts by the readers. This program is in dissaray. If you've been watching the Canes for 30 years (as I and most of you out there have), we see the incredible difference. This school wanted to get away from the "Thug U" reputation so desperately, that they extinguished the FIRE that made us Champions in the first place. Let'sz face it, football is not played by choir boys. You have to be a nasty SOB to get out there. The Michael Irvins, Ray Lewis and Ed reeds (on and on) didn't only want to beat you, they wanted to REMOVE YOUR SOUL FROM YOUR BODY. Teams were beaten before they even walked on the fields. No one fears the U anymore. I is a countty club over there. They are also messing with tradition. Tradition at the U is that ALL Football Alumni are welcome on the sideline. ALL OF THEM. And yes, it does help. It brings accountability. But I agree it all starts at the top. The team will take on the personality of its coach. Shannon is a wionderful person and a heck of an X's and O'd guy, but he is NOT a leader of men. Nor is he a good teacher. To have bench players go on to the NFL and become starters in perfect evidence of the "coaching" inadequacy. Platers like Ray Ray, Forston, Spence, Jacory, Aldarius and B. Hsarris were ferocious LIONS in high school. Now they play like tame lambs. The fire has been sucked out of them and replaced by fear and doubt. Why does Jacory go to the sidelines all alone and pray on 1 knee? Would he have done that in high school? No way! The culture at UM has to change. And it has to start from the top levels. That means Shalala must get rid of Shannon, swallow his contract, and bring in an "edgier", tyake no crap coach. If we have to "bend the rules" a bit like we did in the past and like most schools do today, the so be it. Back when the U was the U, we were hated by the rest of the country. Did we give a bleep? NO! Miami was happy because we were winning and the school was happy with the multi millions the football program was bringing in. For crying out loud, who the heck helped build the huge expansion of the school in the past 20 years. FOOTBALL DID! Don't forget that Shalala. You can thank that incredible Medical Program to waht the footbal team started 300 years ago. THE CITY OF MIAMI DEMANDS you return the team to prominence. Whatever it takes. The football team is more than just a little program at a small private school. NO! The football team is almost a public trust. It belongs to the city of Miami residents. It's important to us. I'd hazard to say morese than the Fins. Things need to change. NOW!

Hey all. Sorry for some if the misspellings in my prior post. I got FIRED UP and was typing too fast. I wrote that the football programs success has been around for 300 years (obviously I meant 30 - lol)! Yeah, back, back, back in the day, George Washington was our QB (threw only 2 times per game), John Adams was a heck of a tailback, Thomas Jefferson could get deep on anyone, and Ben Franklin...man, he was just lightning!

So hey guys.....I'm a Georgia Tech fan. Please hear me out for a sec. Remember in 2008, when the U came up to Atlanta on a Thursday night, ranked in the top 15, just had to beat us and the Coastal Division was yours? Not to bring up bad memories....but we stomped you, up and down the field over and over again.
Now....last year, Tech came down to Miami. Miami players all summer were talking about that game, eat sleep and drink getting revenge.
Then the game started....and Miami DESTROYED us. It wasnt even pretty. You took out our running back, hurt our QB, were in the backfield every play and NEVER stopped. It was the biggest ass kicking i think i had ever seen...but after that game, it seemed like the fire starting slowly going out and has never come back.i'm a huge ACC fan, i want all the teams to do well. I really thought Miami was going to do something special last year, this year as well. But there is no fire. None at all. And its a shame. Because with your talent level, you should be in the top 5 year in and out. I have to blame the coaches on that one. No leadership. Want leaders on the field. THEY LEARN BY EXAMPLE. BE ONE. THE PLAYERS WILL FOLLOW SUIT. GET ON THIER TAILS...AND THE PLAYERS WILL DO THE SAME TO EACH OTHER...realizing that doing that makes everyone play to thier potential and beyond. Communication is vital...not mosing around on the sideline. Together we stand..and win...divided we fall...and lose. Good luck to you guys. Sorry, but i think Randy SHannon has to go. Put our coach with your talent....you would win the NC this year.

Gotta love a good beat down of UM. Welcome to the real Cellar Club of Coral Gables. Go Noles

Justin you are absolutely correct in your statement and analysis of our team. I thank you and good luck to your team the rest of the way. But if you really want to see an asskickin you should have seen what we did to Texas and other teams back when Jimmy and Dennis were coaching the team.
Also Big George don't worry about the spelling, we know how you feel and what you meant. All we can do is hope that someone that makes decisions will hear us and fire that piece of crap Shannon.

wow, reading this has made me vomit!!!

DONNA S> is the problem--she messed up MIAMI--coker-shannon-orange bowl ect. SHE HAS GOT TO GO and take SHANNON WITH HER!!!!!! been comming to 3 0r 4 games a year since 84--havent been back since the ASS kickin to close the O.B.-----wont be back till THE MIAMI HURRICANES ARE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jacory harris is one of the worst quarterbacks i have ever seen. can't spell "SUCK" with the U

lets see:Randy took over about the same time Saban took over Alabama!He has to go or this will be your miami hurricanes as long as he coaches them!keep blaming the players coach!YOU SUCK!GO CANE PLAYERS NOT COACHES!

your doing the alumni a favor by keeping them away they dont have to watch this sorry coach and his team get thier ass beat!

Ok, what we have here is not good. If U wanna start letting old school players on the field, then does that mean there will be defensive bounties also? heck, if I knew I had $500 coming fir a "blow Out" hit, I'd play my butt off. While U're at it, anybody seen Luther Campbell?

AMEN!! I totally agree with Bratton and Searcy. This team has no fire, don't play with any emotion and don't play help defense. To be honest this team is SOFT. Yes SOFT. I never thought i would say that about a U team. Hank and Benjamin were intimidated. Spence had a horrible game. It's time to play Streeter, Thompkins and Hurns. We need play makers at receiver and Benjamin and A.Johnson is not getting it done. The linebacker are also soft and need a youth movement. It's time for Cain and Nelson. What has happened to the tight end position? there is talent there sitting on the bench. It's time for a youth movement. That the only way U are going to get the attention of the senior and juniors.

i dont know what to feel. depressed or pissed!!

Agreed on player development. How is it that Frank Gore fails to crack 1000 yards his senior season, then goes to the NFL and becomes a Pro Bowl running back in his second season? Good points on Sam Shields (!) and Bruce Johnson. Undrafted due to their performance in college, yet they evidently had the raw talent to become starters in the NFL. Obviously this is a failure by someone on the coaching staff. And this extends past Shannon and into the Coker regime.

I think we all better get used to the fact that "The U" was lightning in a bottle. Those teams changed the GAME. They call it Tampa 2, they should call it The U2. The U was playing 4-3 Cover 2 with smaller faster guys before it became hip. It was a paradigm shift. The PRO's COPIED THE U after JJ took his philosophy to Big D and won Super Bowls with Canes and a Gator or two.

I'm sorry but I've lost all confidence in Shannon. I applaud his efforts and success in the graduation rate that the football team enjoys, but last time I checked college football was about who scored more points on Saturday, not which team had that higher IQ.

This team has no sense of pride and no leadership. They don't stomp on people when they have them down and they sure as hell don't have the balls to FIGHT until the end.

I've been a Canes fan my whole life. Graduated from FSU and rooted for UM in
'96-'97 when they got blasted 47-0 by the Noles in Tally. Even those Canes would fight somebody.

It's time to stop talking about what you're capable of and just F-ing DO IT. Catch the ball, block the man in front of you, play the coverage that is called, get off the blocker and make a tackle.

The sh*t we see is no hitting, grabbing, laying around, sloppy, lazy, lackidasical, bull that will ultimately get Randy a pink slip and get the U back to square one.

Kirby Hocutt, you're on the clock. Who's our coach??

Randy Shannon was given the head coaching job with two weigh points set by Shalala, with only one being a deal breaker, which you will find as #2:

1. Try to win more games than you lose
2. Clean the program up…no more arrests…no more dancing and preening on the field…no more mugging for the cameras…AND NO CONNECTION WITH THE PAST AS WE, THE ADMINISTRATION, BELIEVE THAT PERIOD IS A DARK STAIN ON THE UNIVERSITIES RECORD.

You can scream, kick, insult, curse and threaten, but Randy Shannon is doing EXACTLY what he has been ordered to do.

All of the misguided hysteria about Randy’s demeanor on the sidelines is just that, misguided hysteria! For those who keep pointing at former UM coaches as examples…puleeeeze…Dennis Erickson wasn’t and still isn’t exactly a fire breather on the sidelines nor is Howard Schnellenberger who wore a sports coat with arm patches and smoked a pipe...and between the 2 of them they won 3 National Championships.

So, you, Melvin, Leon, Michael, Gino and all other Canes fans can slam Randy, but you are only shooting the messenger … if you want real change, then Donna Shalala, Kirby Hocutt and the UM Trustees are your go to people. But, I wouldn’t threaten them with holding your breath until they acquiesce to your demands, unless of course you can do so ‘til hell freezes over.

The U has lost its edge. I can't believe I'm freaking typing that. I thought The U was all about having that us-against-the-world, forget the haters, do what you do attitude. That's what made Miami great! Those old-school Canes players had a passion, a fire for playing the game. They were trying to prove something with every hit, every run, every damn play. I just don't see that in today's Canes. There's been such a campaign to clean up The U's image lately that The U is not even a shell of its former self. The U used to represent Miami the city because it embodied everything Miami stands for. The U was edgy, controversial, unapologetic, and a force to be reckoned with. Nowadays, it's like The U doesn't even care about winning anymore. Wow that upsets me. Since when does The U cease to care about winning?

Shannon you need to get your team in order. U use to be a player for the U and you know the history of this program so get it back like it was. If not your gonna loose ur job real soon bro. Jacory be a f@#king leader u dummy stop looking stupid when u mess up. go and talk to your teamates and get their minds in the game.

Spence #31 boi your a beast, I would like to see you be the leader on Defense Allen Baily & Harris ya'll included as well. Come on fellas let's win and kick some a## like we use to do. Whipple throw the long bombs like the U use to do and u also need to use your tight ends more that's Miami is known for.

Seems as if everyone is placing the blame on the coaching staff and players when the blame really starts on top with the university president. Ms. Goodie Two Shoes doesn't have a clue as to who/what it takes to win a national campionship. Step up and share a major part of the blame, Donna.

Just look at FSU - mostly the same kids, new coaching staff and philosophy - better results. As FSU learned, good recruiting only gets you part of the way - you need to develop the players.

I love how 'The U' fans love Randy Shannon one, day, then blame him for your sorry ass team the next day. The U is not back. Enjoy the next few weeks of victories because come Nov 20th, the Hokies are gonna embarass you again. You better get your weak ass team up, and teach JH12 how to cut back on his league high INTs or it will be ugly....again....

Posted by: HokieNation

The U is back. You are probably the racist troll who calls randy a racist for picking the unproven black QB over Marve. After we narrowly escape the Blue Devils, we will be back in the title hunt. We got beasts on the defense and we will be chucking bombs all day long. If not Holcutt tweeted he is prepared to offer everything to Belicheck to coach THE U.

Go 'Canes!

reading the quotes from them "bad boys" from the past got me hyped again...but reality still sets in. those days are long gone and we might never see them again unless something changes from the top. who won't allow the former players access to the sideline? i doubt randy won't allow it... i think it comes from shalaala.

Seminole fan here,but hear me out......

Welcome to our world of the past 8 years. As a true Nole fan,let me start by saying I love the Canes...until they play FSU that is. Its like playing against your brother, you love them but you love to beat them even more. Thats what makes the rivalry so special. FSU/UM was "THE" game. Growing up it was like the super bowl to me. It has always been the hardest hitting, fastest running, blood pumping rivalry in football...and it has always been respectful. Never blatent late hits, cheap shots, or fighting (minus the pregame festivities that are expected and enjoyed as much as the game itself). But now UM has run into the situation that we had. Your team doesnt believe in your coach. We brought back stars like Deion Sanders, Derrick Brooks, Charlie Ward, and Warrick Dunn, but the players didnt buy into it because its a different generation. Michael Irvin is great but some of these players were in elementary school the last time he played. It took FSU getting a new, passionate coach to turn our program around. Thats the case for you guys aswell. I like Shannon, but if the "U" is gonna come back, Shannon is not the man.

On a side note, the student section doing the warchant saying "F*ck the Seminoles" on national tv was completely classless. That would have never happened a few years ago.

Great ARTICLE! AMEN!

We can not Fire Shannon we need to bring in help for him like Leach from Texas Tech or another Diamond in the rough as we also do not have the money to spend like the State schools in The Nation do. Yes and bring in the Thugs lets get a title... Help them out with thier Grades like tutoring whatever it takes but lets not do nothing like the mild mannered School pres and the coach are doing we need fire under our rear ends lets get fire I'm not giving up.... lets roll... Pierre

Coach Shannon can "expect" the players to demonstrate the Leadership that is obviously missing, but like most of you, ANY organization I've ever worked in adhered to the motto: "LEADERSHIP STARTS AT THE TOP"...Last time I checked, that's you Coach Shannon! Regardless, GO CANES!!

shannon is the only one to blame.it is his job to get those players fired up and ready to play.it was clear we were not ready to play fsu.we had a better showing against ohio state.its time to get a new coach .

we are soft. randy shannon isn't the right coach for us. look at him on the sidelines and look at the team on the field. both listless, lifeless and uninspiring. leadership starts at the top.

People PLEASE...IT'S NOT THE U ANYMORE AND PROBABLY NEVER WILL BE AGAIN. TV, Money and a lazy athletic dept. have softened up the whole culture of what the U stood for. Even Miami is not as tough a town as it used to be. When I lived on Miami Beach in the 80's you did'nt go down to South Beach/Alton Road without looking over your shoulder. Now with ESPNU and high school players being touted before they ever get to college it is a whole different atomoshpere. I get tired of hearing about the U from these current players. What Searcy is saying is absolutely correct. WE HAVE BECOME SOFT!!!! You can see it in body of work that Shannon was handed from Coker. Once our real ballers left after 2000 it was a steady decline. Going to the weak football conference that is the ACC did not help either. We have been playing down to our competition since the move (barely beating Duke twice in the last 5 years.....seriously?) I know all the fans in South Florida have been hoping of a return to glory, but I don't see it EVER being like it was before. Just look across the country at USC. A tough renegade program that had celebrities, agents, former players all hanging around the games and the practice field. They were ladened with talent and toughness. When things came out about Reggie Bush it all started to unravel. Pete Carroll knowing what was coming bolts for the NFL and his protege Kiffin(another known cheater) takes over a program that is in disarray. Now look at them...they can't beat Stanford, or Washington and their defense like ours gets bullied in conference games every week. It is all over at the U. Those glory days are gone. Unless we move to the SEC, or become independant again get used to it. We lack the toughness the old U had, and these young pampered Canes have no idea about the hard work players like Irvin, Bratton, Hill, Highsmith, Blades, and Fagan did to pave the road for them. Shannon does shoulder the blame for not making this clear to his guys and making them respect what players before them did holding the future teams accountable for their play. He needs to let the past help build the future. He above all should know this. Tell Kirby and Donna to let these Hurricane greats come back and share their road taken. If these baby Canes don't appreciate what real Hurricanes can teach them then this slide will continue.

No U moron that is me callin shannon what he is A emotionless, worst coach we have had, racist piece of crap who's promises to his skinny little drag queen harris has come back to haunt him. HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think all of us are starting to see that Jacory Harris is really not that good. You can see using the eye test that he lacks leadership and makes critical mistakes by turning the ball over to much. I think that the defense is solid but not great and cannot overcome a lackluster offence. The big time difference makers on both sides of the ball are just not there right now. If you want to begin the process of regaining national championship status Miami will need two things. 1. A great QB, 2. A good coach.

Agreed

Lol, New Boise State Fan.... what has Boise State won? Oh, that's right. NOTHING! Shut up, please.

Bratton's is 110% correct, and I know it pains him to speak of Randy and Randy's team that way. I was at the game, and expected to see Warren Sapp, Gino, Ken Dorsey, or someone of that talent. Unforunately, all I saw was Edgerrin James and a bunch of forgettable faces. It's sad. Shalala needs to realize that you can make the University both an academic institution and a football power, you just have to be able to separate the two. It's time for multiple changes, going from the top down.

The old schoolers make some valid points, but what as some of them DOING about it? Talking s**t won't fix anything. Just makes you part of the problem.

Bratton. Irvin. Morgan. Searcy. Torretta. Come on down to The U in your spare time and WORK with these kids. Why is Mark Duper helping Leonard Hankerson when he didn't even GO to UM? What about all the past legends? Where are they?

If Dan Morgan has such issue with what's happening to this defense, get down here and help the new #44 get it together.

If Jacory Harris continues struggling, tell Gino to get off the airwaves and to put his Heisman pedigree to use, working WITH Harris instead of just talking about the issues.

If the offensive line is weak. tell Searcy - one of the best ever at UM - to come teach technique in his spare time.

Be a part of the solution, guys. Any idiot can go on the radio and talk about what's wrong. Real ballers FIX things.

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