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Shannon: Consistency, depth UM's biggest foes

With critics like WQAM's Sid Rosenberg calling for his firing after Saturday's loss at Virginia, I asked Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon Tuesday why he thinks many people feel his team is underachieving. He gave me what I felt was a long, honest answer.

Randy Shannon "We just don’t have that consistency," Shannon said. "You used to watch defensive players play consistent. Every week you knew this guy was going to be there, make something happen. We’re just not getting that consistency right now and I don’t know why.

"It’s like one of the experts said to me the other day, ‘Everybody has their identity.’ A lot of people are trying to force this team to be something that was happening in the past. Everybody says you have all this talent. But Mike Irvin is Mike Irvin. Andre Johnson is Andre Johnson. Santana Moss is Santana Moss. You can’t compare those guys to anybody on our team right now. Everybody is trying to compare these guys to those guys. But why? Because everybody is hoping that’s what they end up being.

"Travis Benjamin is unlike anybody we’ve ever had here. He’s a thin kid that can run fast. I’m happy we got him and he’s doing well. But he’s not what everybody wants him to be. He’s not Santana Moss. Santana Moss was fast, thick, big – they’re totally different. Let’s talk linebackers. Everybody thinks Colin [McCarthy] should be like Dan Morgan. Two totally different guys. Body structure is different. Everything is different.

"When I was here as an assistant coach with Butch in 1995, we went 8-3. We had maybe five first rounders. The next year we went 9-3 again and had maybe 4 or 5 of them again. The next year, we went 5-6, didn’t have nothing. I went to the NFL and the next couple years we went 9-4, 8-3 and then 11-1. During that time, no matter how many first rounders we had, for some reason it just didn’t click.

"To me, it’s depth. We just haven’t been able to get there yet. If you look at our offensive line, we’re playing three freshmen – Jermaine Johnson, Seantrel Henderson and Linder. It’s crazy. They are pretty decent. They’ve given up maybe 12 sacks, compared to 35 when we had a bunch of veterans. Now, after them, it’s still a bunch of freshmen.

"We have depth at certain positions. You look at the guys playing well – like defensive backs. You wonder why they’re playing well. They’ve got somebody behind them that’s old, been here. You have a [DeMarcus] Van Dyke, Ryan Hill, Brandon Harris, you got some people behind them that is going to push them.

"Defensive linemen, it all depends on whose healthy. When we’re healthy, they’re all playing unbelievable. When somebody has to sit out two games, a guy has to add more. When you go 35-40 plays a game and all of a sudden you go up to 65, you’re just a different person. It's consistency and depth."

A FEW MORE NOTES/THOUGHTS...

> UM could use a big lift from Georgia Tech (5-3, 3-2) tonight. The Yellow Jackets (5-3, 3-2) face Coastal division-leading Virginia Tech (6-2, 4-0) at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN in what amounts to a huge game for the Canes. If Virginia Tech loses tonight or next week at North Carolina (5-3, 2-2) and the Canes (5-3, 3-2) win their final three ACC games, UM will make it to the ACC title game.

"I'll be their biggest fan for the first time in my life this Thursday night," receiver LaRon Byrd said of Georgia Tech. "But we just can't rely on them, we still have to do what we have to do. We definitely know now, one more slip up and we're out of the ACC picture. We have to handle our business."

Since the ACC created a championship game in 2005, the winner of Thursday's game has gone on to represent the Coastal Division. Virginia Tech has done so three times -- 2005, 2007 and 2008. Boston College, which came to the ACC from the Big East along with UM and Virginia Tech, has played for the ACC title twice. The Canes of course have never played in the ACC title game. 

> When Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith transferred out before the start of the 2009 season, the Hurricanes were left without a viable backup quarterback. A.J. Highsmith, a true freshman at the time, played the role behind then sophomore Jacory Harris. I asked Shannon Tuesday if the Hurricanes ever bothered to look for a Junior College quarterback to bring in before the start of this season.

Stephen Morris "We tried," Shannon said. "But JUCO kids are hard to find unless they come out of high school already qualified or they transfer like the kid from Auburn [Cam Newton]. He went to Junior College [after Florida] and then came back. Those guys are easy to get back in because they have the credits. They’re just hard to find. Not too many great quarterbacks go to Junior College unless they transfer. It’s hard to find them at that period of time. We were in a tough spot because we were at the end of August when those guys left. We always bring two guys in the same class, but one of them ends up leaving. You can’t keep doing those things. The thing were trying to establish is some stability for the long run."

Just my opinion, but the fact Shannon didn't have a capable backup ready to go last Saturday was inexcusable. Had Stephen Morris been groomed as the backup from the get-go (especially since he came in early and participated in the spring, and Highsmith was going to be redshirted this season anyway), Morris would have been on the field right away once Harris left Saturday's game with a concussion early in the second quarter. Instead, the Canes had to wait through walk-on Spencer Whipple totally tanking it (not surprisingly) before Shannon was forced to burn Morris' redshirt at halftime. In the end, once Morris shook off the nerves, he and the Canes simply ran out of time trying to come back from a 24-0 deficit in a game they should have never lost to begin with.

FYI, Shannon said Morris, who ran the scout team for at least the first five weeks of the season, didn't start getting more reps with the first and second team until three weeks ago when Highsmith first hurt his wrist.

> One thing Shannon did this week -- as his team prepares to play in back-to-back noon starts -- was move practices from 6 a.m. to the mid-afternoons. "Everybody thinks our goal was to keep kids off the streets," Shannon said. "But it's the weather. The hardest thing now -- unlike when I went to school -- is we have thunderstorms now. When I was playing, it was just rain storms. We counted up, we might have missed 12 to 14 days [of practice]. Not in August, I’m talking during the season."

What Shannon means of course is that now -- unlike when he played -- there is more hi-tech lightning detection. Shannon said the school's radius for lightning is three miles wide.

"I’d like to put them under stressful situations, but we haven’t had no heat games until now," Shannon said. "It’s different and it’s hard [practicing in the heat]. When we went in the morning, it was fun, it was easy and you could get a lot of things in."

> The Hurricanes are among the most penalized teams in the country, ranking 118th of out 120 teams (only FIU and Troy State are worse) averaging 9.13 flags a game. But it's not the "aggressive penalties" Shannon says bothers him (he considers holding aggressive). It's the dumb lack of concentration penalties like jumping off sides, false starts and illegal procedures that are eating him up. I went back to the stats and added it up: UM has been flagged 21 times for false starts, 14 times for holding and 13 times for offsides. I'll have more on it in the paper Friday.

> Shannon said he can't put a finger on why the normally reliable Matt Bosher has struggled as much as he has the season (missing 3 extra points), shanking the occassional punt. "It’s just one of those things," Shannon said. "You work on him, work on him and he’s missing extra points. He hadn’t missed that all in his career. It’s just one of those things that happens – like a pitcher in baseball who can’t throw strikes. We work on it at practice everyday when everybody is tired. Last week, he punted the ball well. The week before, he was bad at punting. Last week, he shanked an extra point. That ain’t right."

> Shannon said his defense has been sorely missing senior defensive tackle Josh Holmes. Over the past month, Holmes has missed three of UM's four games with an undisclosed injury. "He really gets those guys going at defensive tackle," Shannon said. "He motivates the guys on the field and he’s the guy were really missing up front – big time. If you watch him on tape, he’s always in the backfield, causing some havoc, allowing a guy to make some plays. And he could play both spots. We’ve missed him a lot."

Comments

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Lets talk about players who are a bust so far:
A. Johnson-WR
M. Forston-DT
C. Ford-TE
K. Tompkins-WR
K. Robinson-LB
T. Streeter-WR
R. Gordon-TE (all block no catch)
The juries still out on the following:
R. Buchanan-LB
J. Futch-LB
A. Ojomo-DE
B. McGee-DB
J. Harris-Qb (mainly because of the int's)
J. Figuroa-OG
B. Jones-OT


fire randy now!

hes lost!

sounds like randy the coach is criticizing randy the recruiter for not having enough talent.

you need to go randy.

do the right thing: resign!

He does not get it...they are not exactly like others, but they have the same play making abilities....What they are lacking is the hunger and desire the others had....The biggest problem with this team, they don't care about their careers, the history of the program, or their coach....They play like they just don't care....and that comes from the coaches...Don't blame the players and look for a leader..if one has not stepped up by now, do it yourself, cause at the end of the day....RS is the one that will get fired....

Bricka bracka firecracker sis boom bah! Hurricanes! Hurricanes! RAH RAH RAH!

I wish I could join the cheerleaders hoping for a GA Tech win but seriously, are any of you watching the same Canes team I've been seeing on the field?

Wouldn't the Canes still have to beat the 3 remaining ACC teams on the schedule? Anyone who believes they could do that probably thinks the real problem with this team is depth. LOL

Hey Negative Nancy -not only will THE U win out right because GT is winning but Stephan Morris will win the Heisman, Colin McCarthy the Butkus, and Randy will win the Toastmasters National Championship!

Go Canes!

Hey Manny, when Randy starts talking about how we don't have depth, could please ask him how many years he needs to build some. Its not like our players are all leaving early to go in the first round....does he need them to stick around for say 6-7 years to learn how to play. Seems a coaching issue.

"When I was here as an assistant coach with Butch in 1995, we went 8-3. We had maybe five first rounders. The next year we went 9-3 again and had maybe 4 or 5 of them again. The next year, we went 5-6, didn’t have nothing." --Randy Shannon

Just to clarify....in '95 we had one first round pick (Ray Lewis), '96 we had three first round picks (Yatil Green, Kenard Land, Kenny Holmes), '97 we had one first round pick (Duane Starks).

I heard that excuse last season...Our coaching is the problem. Randy Shannon needs to go!!!

B.S. this school can't afford to pay a big name coach. UM Football made a profit of 6 million in 2008 (the latest figures published). They made 27 million gross and had 21 million in expenses for the year. 6 million went somewhere????????????

His responses to questions is embarrasing. "We didn't have thunderstorms", you've got to be kidding me.

After reading this article I realize Shannon Should be working at NASA.. he is a GENIOUS with an AMAZING insight...wow he just figured out his team is inconsistent!!!! Shalala got the steal of the century hiring this LOOSER!!!!

Shannon is the stupidest head coach in all of the NCAA. My god I thought Miami had high academic standards, how did he ever graduate from kindergarden much less a University. SHalala how can U want to be the Harvard of the south when U have an idiot like this as a head coach. PLeeeeeaaaaasssssseeeee!!!!!!!!!

I will change the subject from racial fingerpointing to football. Shannon's comments again show how clueless and incompetent he is. Whenever he has been praised as a good recruiter (which he definitely is not), did Shannon ever say, "No, you are wrong; I am recruiting players with the wrong body type and guys who make the same stupid mistakes as fifth year seniors. Why would he recruit eight receivers but no linemen? Miami has 85 players on scholarship, just like everyone else. If there are position imbalances, it is because Shannon has mismanaged recruiting. Counting a few walkons, there are FIFTEEN linebackers on the team, all recruited by Shannon. If Miami can't put three LB on the field who can tackle, it certainly makes the case that Shannon's recruiting is a disaster. As far as blaming lack of leadership on inexperience, how would he explain Oregon, a team ripping everyone to shreds with a sophomore QB and a sophomore RB? The reason the team lacks leaders is Shannon cannot lead. If you cannot lead yourself, you cannot develop leaders. Shannon does not know why the team gets lots of penalties. Since this is not the first year under Shannon that UM has been heavily penalized, it is safe to assume that he will not identify the cause nor the solution.

screw all you haters! I'll still love my canes. Shannon and these guys are here for the rest of this season. let's support them. Although he hasn't shown us much, true canes want shannon to prosper. He's a true Cane! Go Canes! Haters gonna hate!

Shannon does many things well, but his teams are characterized by inconsistent effort, mistakes, and lack of cohesiveness. He seems to do a pretty good job recruiting and with team discipline, I appreciate the fact that the U is no longer associated with convicts and NCAA sanctions.

However, I think its time for the U to start looking for a new head coach and staff. Maybe if Randy kept the staff he inherited from Coker things would be different today.

Im not racist. Nor am I defending racism. some of my good friends are black and if they were indecipherable I would have no problem poking fun at them and saying that. But theyre not. the only reason race is being discussed as an issue on this board is because youre playing the race card even when its not in the deck. If you would stop shouting “racist!” from the hilltops there wouldn’t be an supposed racial divide. No ones directed racial hate. no ones calling them less than human. Someone commented they need rosetta stone to understand Irvin but what does that have to do with race? You don’t hear someone making that same comment about espn analyst tom Jackson because he’s very articulate and well spoken. If someone was to then make the rosetta stone comment, then it would be racist. But I can see how some people find it hard to understand Irvin (even though I don’t agree). And if someone points out shannons deficiencies as a coach all you do is call them a racist. It just seems to me youre blowing it way out of proportion just to create a rift in the fanbase.

And as far as tearing down the kids the worst thing ive seen is “jaskinny”. But you know what? This is football. you should be mentally tough anyway. you shouldn’t baby the player. Theyre going to college to become grown men. You shouldn’t hide them from criticism and shield them from society. From what ive seen, we have a bunch of softies for football players.

im just saying do the mature thing and IF its there (which, to be fair, it has been FROM TIME TO TIME in the past), ignore the idiot like everyone else. and stop accusing everyone on earth of being racist.

Manny:

You said coach Shannon's answer that depth and consistency are UM's biggest problems seemed like an "honest" one. Well, who is responsible for the consistency of the college football product? The coach. The players are resources, recruited to help ensure consistency. Speaking of recruiting-depth is only achieved by recruiting good players and DEVELOPING them into better players...coaches' job! If you believe Randy Shannon's answer was "honest", you must believe it is an indictment of himself! (or at the very least, his staff). To me his answer seemed rote, rehearsed, and robotic. ...don't think so? just read through his interviews for the past few years! I love the U and hope it's football glory is restored, but let's take the kid gloves off AND KEEP EM OFF with coach Shannon.

to the blogger that said we should collect our money to pay for a HC.....

we absolutely would do that, but when the school calls us alumni for a donation they ask us where the money is to be applied and "no" there is never an option for HC or Asst Coach Salaries. They do allow us to give to UMs greatest need and to me that is the HC Football Salary upgrade. This team is a failure and it needs to be fixed or this program is done....you just can't keep taking hits every year for 6 years and expect to just rebound at some point....this program continues to find new lows instead of creating new highs.

You have to spend money to make money....

Us fans are not comparing the players themselves, we are comparing the QUALITIES they embody!!! It is wrong for SHannon to complaini that we want Benjamin, and McCarthy to be Moss or Morgan, etc. But we (as fans) have come to expect that they have EXACTLTY the same will, fire, passion, and determination as their predecessors!! Andre Johnson wasnt Michael Irvin, but they both dominated. Ed Reed wasnt Bennie Blades, but they both dominated. Remember Leonard Conley (Mr. "pound 4 pound")? He was the smallest guy on the field but played with as much heart as anybody. It is wrong to expect the players to be the same physically, coach. Its NOT wrong to expect the same APPROACH to the game-imposing your will on the other guy. NO MORE EXCUSES!! Just get results Randy, you have ALL the tools you need.

''And I don't know why''. And people wonder why we are calling for his head. Also im pretty sure we get run on every game because we dont have our two biggest DT's the last month.

fire him yesterday please-the mounting excuses are pathetic!

There is a pattern at the U and its called incompetence within the coaching staff!

its so obvious and everyone keeps being redundant with why this and that?

Please just fire this HC and start over or this program regresses back to the pre Howard Schellenberger days!

Palm Beach Post 8/30/2010
“It’s a different team,” Shannon said. “We’re a bigger team, a faster team and we’re so much more competitive now because we have so much depth. It’s almost like my first two years (2001-02) as a coordinator – have fun, no distractions, just coach. That’s what it’s like now.”

WQAM Radio 11/1/2010
"To me, it’s depth. We just haven’t been able to get there yet. If you look at our offensive line, we’re playing three freshmen – Jermaine Johnson, Seantrel Henderson and Linder. It’s crazy. They are pretty decent. They’ve given up maybe 12 sacks, compared to 35 when we had a bunch of veterans. Now, after them, it’s still a bunch of freshmen.

"We have depth at certain positions. You look at the guys playing well – like defensive backs. You wonder why they’re playing well. They’ve got somebody behind them that’s old, been here. You have a [DeMarcus] Van Dyke, Ryan Hill, Brandon Harris, you got some people behind them that is going to push them.
"Defensive linemen, it all depends on whose healthy. When we’re healthy, they’re all playing unbelievable. When somebody has to sit out two games, a guy has to add more. When you go 35-40 plays a game and all of a sudden you go up to 65, you’re just a different person. It's consistency and depth."

So which is it Randy?


Thats the funny thing. There is only like 2 lineman that are hurt the other people that are hurt are no big losses. These players never showed up. I can't say im over them yet because the will all be back next year.

Excuses, excuses. Wasn't depth the problem last year? Its always an excuse from him and I have yet to hear him take some blame. Guys are inconsistent? Look in a mirror because that kind of play starts with the coach.

Blah, blah, blah. No excuses right? The goal was to win the ACC Coastal Division, win the ACC Championship game and play in a BCS bowl game. Now the "U" must hope that V-Tech loses at N. Carolona just to have a shot. But can we really say that this team belongs in a BCS bowl game? That this team would have a good chance against a top ten apponent? From what we have gathered the "U" would get killed playing in a BCS bowl game. Heck with the way the "U" is playing right now the "U" could get rolled on by freakin Maryland. By the way I don't think fans wanted the current players at the "U" to become just like the players from the past. What Cane fans want is the current players to WIN like past UM players.

Coaching has as much to do with consistency as talent. As a coach you find what your players do well and what they don't do well. You put them in position to do what they do well and you limit what they can't do well. If a linebacker can't cover a running back you don't put him in position to cover a running back. When Virginia ran out the clock they had a 3rd and 6 with 2:39 remaining on the clock. Stop them and you get the ball back with a chance to pull out a miracle. The Canes hadn't sacked the quarterback all game in 26 throws. Third and six and the Canes don't blitz. They don't go after the quarterback. He sits in the pocket all nice and clean taking his sweet time and Brandon McGee makes a stupid decision to leave their best receiver alone and after a 20 yard completion it's first down and Virginia can just kneel to run out the clock. That's not inconsistency from the players that's bad coaching. It's obvious they are and will be a mediocre team in a mediocre conference. Oh well at least they have a high graduation rate like Stanford. BTW Stanford, with its high graduation rate, is ranked #10 in the AP poll and #13 in the BCS. Go Cardinal.

after all the thrashing of travis benjamin, shannon is finally giving him props. if i were travis, i would have quit on shannon. SHANNON - DO NOT call out and humiliate your players in the media. you call it tough love, the players might see it as a "screw you, i'm leaving". at least that's what I would do.

Um fans are know for one thing- nickel and diming. Fans, if you are so fed up with Shannon then pony up some cash. Try opening your cheap wallets and help fund our program. I'm tired of you fans that want it all but can't make any monetary contributions to the team you love. So, either cough up some money to help the problem, or just remain cheap and be the problem.

407 canes fan: Why would I give my hard earned money to this dumbass president just so she can throw it away on a new building for something other than football at coral gables. All I need to hear is we are getting our own stadium and i'm all over that untill then shut the hell up with your stupid comments.

Oh and doesn't Shannon look like he is doing the superman pose in the picture for this article?

Shannon has had enough time to recruit depth!!! No longer an acceptable excuse! Coaching consistency, or better yet a lack of coaching leadership at the top, better characterizes the real problem.

Before the season, everyone was saying we had tons of depth on the DL. Said it before and I'll say it again. You can NEVER have enough defensive lineman. A few will always go down at some point during the season. The key to the great Hurricane D's of the past is that we could rotate 8 or 9 to keep them fresh and there would be little or no dropoff.

Im tired of this crap every year,having to depend on other teams to lose so we have a shot.Get rid of santa and his elves and get some real coaches in here!GET RID OF THIS BUM,RANDY THE EXCUSE SHANNON!

I'd like someone like dabo sweeney as coach. he probably has a ginormous contract with clemson though.

"It’s different and it’s hard [practicing in the heat]. When we went in the morning, it was fun, it was easy and you could get a lot of things in."

Are you kidding me???? Thats the point idiot!! You take away our one advantage of playing in the heat by making them practice in the morning??? This is what we're working with Canes fans.
President of the Shalala's gotta go foundation. Please jion!

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