At the press conference this morning, this is one of the things I asked coach John Lovett, UM's defensive coordinator who was fired by Al Golden and will end his career at UM Friday in the Sun Bowl. Also leaving on the defensive staff are defensive line coach Rick Petri and defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff.
UM, by the way, finished 16th overall in the nation in defense, and second in the nation in pass defense. I believe they are 81st in run defense, however. As Coach Lovett pointed out, it doesn't matter what you're ranked in any category if you don't win enough.
Here are my questions about this subject and his answers. He makes some powerful points.
Can you talk about the commitment that you’ve made to continue follow through with all of this and how you are all together and how frustrating it is that you’ve done a good job and know you won’t be coming back?
It’s part of the business. When you’re in this business, it’s a people business and it’s driven by a lot of different people. It’s not necessarily the guys in the room, the guys on the field. There are a lot of things that go on: T.V. revenue, fans, whoever. People make decisions on how things are going to be and they go on with it. When you make a change, for whatever reasons you make a change. Bottom line was that we didn’t win enough games to keep people happy around here. The statistical part of it really doesn’t make much difference. We could be 116th in the country or we could be 1 in the country -- if we don’t win enough games to keep the right people happy, then change is made for whatever reason.
Has it been emotional for you and the team?
I think for the players. You make bonds with kids and that part is always tough. You get friendly with coaches and you’re used to being around them and that’s always difficult. You understand coming in. I remember reading a book by George Allen, “Merry Christmas, you’re fired” was one of his famous lines in there and you understand that when you get into this business. It’s a rough business, it’s a people business. You all out there, when you write, you sit there and say we’ve got to do this, this and this. Well, we do need to do this, this and this in order to keep our jobs.
If I did this, this and this I may be walking in there and saying “I’ll see ya.” I may be going somewhere else because somebody wants to do something else for me that the University of Miami may not want to do. That’s all part of the business and we’ve all been there. Head coaches come and go. A head coach will get hired and when they do, they bring their staffs or people they are comfortable with in. That’s kinda what’s happened here. I know Al Golden very well and I have no animosity toward him at all and I have no ill feelings toward the University at all. I knew when I came here, I knew what this place was and what the expectations were and didn’t think anything short of this would happen with what happened this year at the end of the year. I’m just going to leave it at that because I don’t want to get into anything else. It’s a tough business and it’s toughest on the families. We just move forward as we go.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN