« Sun Bowl blog: UM-Notre Dame | Main | Golden, UM have talent to build around in '11 »

For Canes, time to pull the weeds out

ON A SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT HEADED HOME TO SOUTH FLORIDA -- After Notre Dame was done taking the Canes to school Friday afternoon at the Sun Bowl, I spent about 20 minutes behind the stadium watching UM close its chapter on the 2010 season.

One by one, as players and assistant coaches trickled out from the locker room, all I saw were somber, defeated and disappointed faces. This unceremonious finish wasn't the way guys like Damien Berry, Leonard Hankerson and Ryan Hill figured their careers would end after Randy Shannon took over four years ago.

Hankerson tried to hide his disappointment. But he couldn't. In the middle of talking about all the great times he had at UM with his "brothers" and his "family" he broke down, covering his face with a towel so we couldn't see him weep. Berry, who led the Hurricanes in rushing this season, started to tear up as he said good-bye to a few equipment workers and friends who came to watch him play. Hill, who along with the rest of UM's secondary had a rough afternoon trying to chase down Michael Floyd, didn't hide the chip on his shoulder. Now that he knew his ride in Coral Gables was over, he cut loose when I asked him if he thought the next coach could do what Shannon couldn't.

"I think [he'll turn it around], but it will definitely take some time. I don't know how much time," Hill said before unleashing a little displeasure. "But I think the first thing he has to do is weed out the guys who he doesn't think will be beneficial to the program. We have a lot of guys that have to do a lot of maturing, that act like little boys. There are points like this in November, late in the season that it hurts you. We have a lot of growing to do in this program."

I couldn't have said it better myself. What Hill said summed up exactly what we failed to see during Shannon's tenure -- real, sound, player development. For all the praise Shannon got for being a great recruiter (I'll touch on that later), disciplinarian and bringing the school's APR scores up, two things he failed miserably at were hiring the right personnel to make his football team better on the field, and being a well-liked, charismatic ambassador of the program. Like it or not, the last two are probably the most important when it comes to winning and being a successful coach -- with recruiting right in there as well.

If there we one constant under Shannon, really, it was coaching instability. In Shannon's four seasons, UM had two offensive coordinators, two recruiting coordinators, two running backs coaches, two receivers coaches, three defensive line coaches and three defensive coordinators. And then you wondered why guys never seemed to take a step forward. It's kind of hard for players to develop when they have start over with a guy who has new ideas constantly. It's even harder when many of those assistants weren't very good to begin with.

Shannon's personality -- as you well know -- wasn't sparkly either. For as much as his players may have loved him and still do, he never really won the fans or the media over, opting instead to be abrasive and at times combative when he really didn't need to be. Instead of letting people see the good side of his program that might bring people closer to liking it -- like the personality of his players (he shut down Twitter and cut off access to interviews), assistants and even how fired up he would get in the locker room (go back and watch those clips from Hurricane Gameday) -- he shut everybody out, closed the door for privacy. All we saw instead was that stern, disinterested look on the sideline from Shannon and a team that went 28-22 under his rule and did nothing but make people angry and frustrated on most Saturdays.

You want to talk about brand? That's not an image of a successful program, one you can sell to boosters, trustees and more importantly -- the people who buy tickets on Saturdays and the top high school recruits who might have been interested in coming to the program.

I said I was going to get into recruiting: Shannon was hardly great at that. To me, he did what was expected. He got many of the top players locally who wanted to come to UM and a few top-notch pieces from other places (Seantrel Henderson, Storm Johnson to name a few). But he still missed the boat on a lot of good players who wanted to come to Miami and didn't fill key needs (look at linebacker and cornerback). Coming out of high school, you didn't hear a lot about guys like Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard (Hollywood Hills) and West Virginia safety Robert Sands (Carol City). But you will in April during the NFL Draft. Both were in his backyard for the taking and now both will go on the first day of the draft. There are plenty of other examples -- UCF quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey (Maimi Central) is a big one.

I got the sense toward the end of his tenure, Shannon and his staff got a little complacent when it came to recruiting -- thinking they could go in at the last minute and swoop up local guys they wanted. Sound familiar? Ask local coaches like Miami Central's Telly Lockette, who just led the Rockets to the Class 6A state title with a roster loaded with nearly two dozen D-I recruits, and he'll tell you the Hurricanes didn't begin recruiting a single one of his players until Shannon was fired. Southrdige coach Patrick Burrows, who has two legit defensive backs headed to BCS programs, said he sent his top two players down to UM in his truck nearly every day during spring practice when they were juniors.

"They just kept coming back telling me 'Coach, they're just not interested in us,'" Burrows said two weeks ago.

The point here isn't to bash Shannon as his era comes to an end and his players begin walking out the door. There really is no need to pile on here. The point here is to learn from four years worth of mistakes.

There is no reason a talented player like Sam Shields should go through his career at UM as a mediocre player at best only to go to the NFL and start for the Green Bay Packers (where he's learned the basics of playing the cornerback position with flash cards). There is no reason a player like Leonard Hankerson should have to go work with former Dolphins receiver Mark Duper to learn how to become a better receiver. There is no reason a player like Jacory Harris, in his third year at UM, should still be looking like a freshman in his third bowl game.

I'm not saying players don't deserve some blame themselves for underperforming. But how can a football team continue to make the same mistakes game after game after game? How come the Canes looked progressively worse at the end of each and of Shannon's four seasons? UM ranked 114th in penalties this season, led the nation in interceptions thrown and probably was first in missed tackles (nobody counts those).

If you didn't think so before, I hope you know now that Al Golden has a heck of a job in front of him. Not only does he need to mend and solidify the fence that fell down locally in recruiting, he needs to hire a top-notch staff that is going to start making the players here a lot better and put them in situations to be successful. He needs to bring fans back to Sun Life Stadium and a sense of excitement back to the program.

Do you realize that if the Gators win their bowl game today, the Hurricanes will be the only in-state FBS program that didn't win its bowl game? Do you realize Miami's 7-6 record was tied with FIU for the second-worst among the FBS state schools (FAU finished 4-8)? The Golden Panthers won their bowl game. And right now I'm not sure UM could beat the Golden Panthers. UCF, meanwhile, not only won its bowl game, but is going to finish in the Top 25. The Canes lost to USF. And those Seminoles up at Florida State, they won 10 games in Jimbo Fisher's first season and seem primed to start ruling the state again. Sure, the Gators are down. But they've got a new head coach and Charlie Weis is supposed to be the team's next offensive coordinator.

It's time to start realizing how big a hole the Canes are really in.

It's time to start pulling out those weeds in Coral Gables.

It's time to start moving forward.

Good luck, Coach Golden. You've got a nation full of Canes who are praying you get the job done.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

it was always funny watching true freshman come in and you would say to yourself: "wow, he has alot of promise. maybe he can be a future star for this team" and it made you really optimistic for the future. gave you hope that someone could provide a spark. and then as the player got older and spent more time under shannons influence... u watched them slow down... make less plays... play without heart... play dumb... play soft.

the players were brainwashed by shannon. whether they would like to admit it or not.

Manny, I like all your blogs but this one was great! Made some great points. I dont think anyone who is outside of this program really understood how much of a cancer Randy Shannon was (including myself).

Manny,
P.S. I read the article, a couple of weeks ago, about what the Packers coach said about Sam Shields (which you mentioned in your blog) That said it all for me. Here is a great talent, who came out of UM with NO skills regarding reading defenses. The coach was astounded, so was I.

actually i did so go f*** yourself. go back to your own teams blog.

lllUMINATI, You have never been to see 1 game in person so dont say 1 word about what you see. The people that actually show up to the games are tired of fans like you that read what other people say then just repeat it. Go back to cheering for your other team

Manny,

Outstanding write up!

I'm glad Shanon is gone. He did not improve on Coker, since he started 7-6 and the program ended 7-6.

HOWEVER, some of the blame also has to go to the AD Hocutt as well as the President Shalalalala!

They should have seen the problems in the football team, BUT they did nothing about it. In fact the AD renewed Shanon's contract.

Is that ridiculous or what???

One final point, was it me or did it feel that the UM players were playing without desire and want to win? Were they throwing the game on purpose to prove their point?

Just asking???

Yeah, Weis has three superbowl rings as an OC. YEah, he couldn't win at ND with pixie white boys so he sucks right? If you're going to type absurd posts, at least use your real name Sarasota. You're not the sharpest tool in the shed.

youre a f***in idiot. i live 11 hours away. i go to 3 games a year because thats all i can afford on a college budget. ive never missed a game since i was 10; either being there, or watching it. so how about you STFU.

Manny is a coward to wait until now to post an opinion. you spent the entire pre-season with inane J12 glorification.

these are our only (even remotely considered) successful players recruited from MIAMI (not including other parts of the miami AREA) from 2002-2007. per rivals.com

Sinorice Moss
Kareem Brown
Bryan Pata
Antonio dixon
Kenneth Phillips

dont believe me? look it up:

http://rivals.yahoo.com/footballrecruiting/football/recruiting/commitments/2002/miami-11

Sadly Manny, this is one of your best columns...fact based, hard hitting, and a thorough assessment of our Miami Program. Keep up the good work, and as Canes Fans we will have to move forward...hopeful of a better day.

he couldnt speak out previously w/ shannon still employed because he would lose media access. if u ever posted on the cover-it-lives(where no one prods to see what was written) during the year, u would see manny gave his take on shannon plenty of times. moron.

Keep up the lies lllUlNATl. Instead of doing all that research you claim to be doing of Miami stats why dont you try getting your story straight before you post in here.
You and 3rd Party Source must be good friends. I see he wants to put everyone on blast because only he claims to know what is best for the Miami program but yet he doesnt know how to spell the new DC name. Its D'Onofrio.

since when are facts lies? you really are a clown lol

honestly, not counting pata because of his murder (RIP), i personally would only consider kenny phillips as a successful player.

It doesn't matter whether Illuminati goes to a game in person or watches it on TV, he is still a fan and like it or not his info and analysis is correct. So get over it, Shut the hell up like the man said.
Hey Illuminati, have U heard who are candidates for the offensive coordinator?

Coach Golden will be successful and the 1st step he needs to take is to revoke Jacoff Harris scholarship and send him wherever Shannon will be coaching. These 2 are inseparable and need to reunite a spread their misery to some other.

i have not. hey maybe josh mcdaniels wants to coach college? lol

good posy manny, but as a reporter, you should be discussing these issues sooner. It shouldn't take 4 years to address a lack of maturity in the program.

On another note, who are we looking to get as an offensive coordinator. No one is talking about the short list. Please do some research and give us some "news".

Thanks, Great article Manny; to coach Golden I am one of the Canes who are praying you get the job done.

i didnt miss any. i said MIAMI specifically. check again.

3rd Party Source is the perfect example of a Miami fan claiming to know someone within the program. A neighbor that works for the U, now ive heard it all. Why is it that all you morons are trying to bump your chests like youre some kind of insider that knows all the inner workings of the Miami program. Why dont you start your own blog since you have all this access to the program? Could it be because you dont have the 1st clue about whats going on with Miami

too much animosity being created on this blog...

Recruiting kids from F and D FCAT schools is not beneficial in the long run unless they are stellar students. What you failed to mention is that you need kids who can graduate.

I really hope JH is not on the team next year. He is beyond aweful. He could not play for a Div. III team. He brings the entire team down with his play and constant mistakes. You cringe everytime he throws the ball. Morris played with a lot of passion. He has flaws but I do see some upside with him. The game would have been a lot closer if Morris had started.

Post of the year Manny!! You hit the nail on the head...

All you Golden doubters who think winning at Temple is no big deal are blind. He didn't turn around a good program that had fallen on hard times like at Miami (OH). He won where NOONE ELSE HAD EVER WON! Think about it. In the last 50 years, more coaches have won back-to-back national titles than have had back-to-back winning seasons at Temple. Give the guy a chance!

Now I see we have 3rd party going to the he/she knows all the players card. Just stop with all the lies already. Its getting old and boring. You have been proven to know nothing about this program. So where is that site of yours that you created so people can come read all this wise news you have about this program? Instead of sinking to the mother jokes like a little child would do why dont you come clean and admit youre a lying a-hole who has been roaming this site telling lies over and over just looking for attention. Oh and before I forget, why dont you explain to your fans that like to follow everything you say that you really dont care how the new DC spells his name. I thought you knew and cared so much about this program you lying scumbag. Now go ahead and tell the truth and promote what it is you always end up doing you moron

This was the best and must truthful article I have seen about this program since 2001, I think it's ashame the way the communications slowly broke down between the Local High Schools and Coach Shannon, I think Golden although not being the most high profile hire will ultimately turn out to be a home run. Energy, Passion, Communications, and his willingness to sell the program to the masses will bring sucess back to UM

Manny, on any team you will not have 85-100 guys pulling in one direction. I think this team just needs some good coaching on defense and decent QB play to win 10-11 games.

I do not know why Kirby Holcutt has not been fired. Randy Shannon's limitations have been known for a while and KH pleaded for the contract renewal this year.
RS and many of his staff should have been fired last year.
I do not know any great moves KH has made at UM or at Ohio University.
I wish Al Golden well but I have little confidence that KH could select the best coach possible for the U.

ThirdParty - I posted earlier the list of OCs from NFL teams whose head coach was either fired or on the chopping block, none of them seem to have any connections to UM or Golden or more qualified than Mark Whipple.

Chances are they're going to be bringing in an offensive assistant, not an OC. We'll see what happens.

Your 7:46 post looks like something that could have been written a couple hours after Randy Shannon was hired. Yea, Golden might be the real deal and get this thing turned around, but he has never been successful anywhere he's been (if you're impressed by his Temple tenure then you're following the wrong team here with UM). Maybe wait and see before declaring the new savior a success.

And no one on a blog is going to believe someone who claims to know players and know what's said in the locker room. Not saying you're a lying blowhard, but chances are that you are.

Good article....but the FIU homeboys like Manny should hold up....there is no way FIU would beat Miami....don't care how good a year that had. No way. I know all you guys in Miami like FIU cuz you went there, and it is great that they are doing well....but if Miami went 1-11 they would still have beaten FIU

I think Kirby Holcutt is the bigger problem. People haveknown about Randy Shannon's
limitations and flaws for years. Randy was not a good hire and his regime has lessened the value of the football program at The U.

I do not understand why KH insisted on the new contract for RS this year.

I have not seen any wise moves by KH or at Ohio University. That is Ohio University not Ohio State.

I have little confidence that KH has hired the best coach for the football team.

I think KH should be fired now.

I wish Al Golden well and hope he revives a sinking program.

Arty/Curse Pig,

You suck Sean Wilson.

I think Weiss is a great hire for UF compared to Addazio "D" Bag, but it's nice to know that I and THE U still consume every single minute that you're awake!

It's funny that the "Paraniod One" who changes his already fake name everyday to hide his fake identity is consumed with figuring out who all the other fake named people "really" are!

Happy New Year!

Go 'canes!

Anyone that can make Temple a 8 or 9 win team in consecutive years after they were nothing is going to be a savior compared to SHannon and Coker. I'll take my chances with someone who knows how to win (Golden) versus someone that should know how to win and doesn't (Shannon).

Thats right chris f.

Despite how bad Um looked against ND, fact is, if Morris had been started, the game would have been closer. He has a stronger arm, more passion, and can run and throw the ball. He can also take a hit as he demonstrated on that one play whe he was hit helmet to helmet and jumped back up. harris would have lied there semi conscious..

Not everythingis as bad as we make it sound. Things could be worse:

- Michigan, with its huge football tradition, including the biggest stadium in football, hasnt won a NC since 1997, and had 52 points pasted on them.

- Texas, all that tradition, was 5-7

- Penn State, all that tradition, was beaten by Fla and also finished 7-6 despite being ranked #4 to start the season.

- Wisconsin, the same basic team thatbeat Um 14-6 last year, scored 19 points on the vaunted TCU defense. And lost. And they havent won a NC

- Michigan State, ranked in the top 10, gets 49 pasted on them by Alabama, with their 4th string rbs

I'm telling you, Morris is for real. he is better than harris. we need 2 more QBs for depth tat the position and we need to clean up the weeds like Manny said. I am confident Golden will do that

As a kid I bled orange and green, I'm an alum and a season ticket holder for over a decade. Passion was once a part of the U. The passion is still there for the student body and the fans. The team had none under Shannon. The bowl loss simply was the exclamation point at the end of a sad affair. How many players were not provided the leadership to maximize their skills? Sad. The U has not had a decent coach since the days of Jimmy and years later Butch. I still bleed orange and green. I hope that the U does not go the way of the Dolphins, i.e., crushing fans year in, year out.

how do you sum up miami since their last bcs bowl appearance. unmotivated unskilled un-anything. horrible coaching good players. thats what miami has been for the past five seasons. golden looks like a butch davis or jimmie johnson. he has hunger. much like the great miami teams. this team lacks hunger. shannon's bowl of crap is gone. step up be men and play football. thats it. stop being everyone else's b*****s. this is the U. maybe golden realizes that.

I guess Shannon would describe his tenure as a "head executive injury"

Canes have 16 seniors coming back next year. They will be mature and better. This story is Kirby hocutt hype to make golden look better. Lower expectations and then succeed, simulating a miracle. There's tons of talent on this team. The only reason you,re seeing new coordinators is hocutt fired the head coach. Give hocutt your byline if you're going to write spin.

its going to be an interesting off-season! deep hole we're in, but we have the atheletes to climb outta this. go Canes... good luck

my round up from yesterday. No EMOTION. Even the announcers made the comment "what would Irvin or Bernie be saying on the sideline right now"? Except for Berry there was no one really trying to get guy pumped up. Berry, you will be missed next year. I hope Golden can change the attitude really fast.

I believe that Golden will get it done, did you see how mad he was when J12 threw that pick..he was telling them,"Just run the ball"....we will get there..

Manny, really great article. I think you are right on point with this one. Let’s hope coach Golden can fix this before it gets any worse.
From a Canes fan in Afghanistan.

TPS,
Don't know what is fact or not, but if that is what Coach Golden told the players prior to his first press conference, then it works for me! That is what he SHOULD have said!

As others note, we do have some good players on this team. Morris is bright and a competitor, and plays tough. Sometimes a QB can set the tone for a team.

I am sure Jacory is a well-liked kid, and it would be tough to be him at this juncture. But he is currently in over his head and that has been painfully clear. Nonetheless, he did some good things at times and I wish him well. If he wants to compete next year, then have at it. Why not? Competition is always a good thing for a program.

And we do have a new, enthusiastic staff now running the program. That is the good news.

And if UF wants to hire Weiss, have at it!

Let's give our new coaches the benefit of the doubt, no matter where they coached. We need a BIG change in attitude, and hopefully the program will begin to reflect that soon.

Open your eyes and see that UM got a young gem in Al Golden. This alum and diehard fan says watch it happen over time with this guy, and give him a fair shot and your support!
GO CANES!

Manny excellent article ! Keep writing more of these . its all true and it all makes sense. its time for the canes to forget the past and move forward to go from nstional chumps to national Champs !!! Go Canes !!!

Coker and Shannon: All it took was these two fools to destroy one of the most successful programs in CFB. This is the worst Miami team EVER. Even in the dismal '60's and '70's our undermanned teams showed more character and heart. This bunch never shows up and plays. They just totally SUCK. I wish Al Golden the best. He's going to need it with this band of slackers and donkeys. None of these clowns deserve to be Canes. They soil the name. Cut them all and start over.

Golden will do fine at UM. It's going to take him a couple of years to get his players and system in, but he seems like a good coach.

I like the fact that he came from a bad program like Temple. If he can win under that type of adversity, he should do fine in the best recruiting grounds in the country.

The comments to this entry are closed.