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For D'onofrio, "it's all about player development"

The South Florida media got to meet and spend a half hour with new UM defensive coordinator Mark D'onofrio Monday. If there is really one thing you can say about D'onofrio it's that he's hungry -- and wants his players to play that way. 

Mark D'onofrio The former Penn State middle linebacker, now 41, had the opportunity to become a head coach at Temple and passed on it to follow his former Nittany Lion co-captain and close friend Al Golden to UM.

Making brash decisions is nothing new for D'onofrio. He had a chance to become the defensive coordinator at Virginia and instead decided to go with Golden to Temple to try and make the nation's 120th ranked defense better. He and Golden started out with only 53 scholarship players in 2006 and eventually made Temple relevant.

His defense his final year improved to 17th nationally in total yardage and 16th in scoring defense -- allowing only 19 points a game. Temple ranked in the Top 25 in 12 defensive categories in 2010 -- including 45th in run defense, much better than UM. Six players from his defenses in 2008 and 2009 who were two star recruits or worse are now in the NFL. He expects to have three more in the league off this last defense.

"It’s all about player development," D'onofrio said Monday. "Whoever we have here we’ll coach and we’ll coach them to be the best they can be. And I’m proud of that, because I think we’ll get our guys to play hard. I think they’ll play disciplined. I think they’ll tackle well. that will be at the core of who we will be. And we’ll put them in the right position to make plays.

"That’s finding the right guys who love the game, who want to learn, who want to work and teaching them the fundamentals. Teaching them how to get off blocks and tackle and learn how to prepare and learn situational football and all those things. I’m confident that now, stepping up and being able to recruit at a higher level will only pay off for us really as we try to go from where, you know, there’s a top-25 defense here and try to move higher."

D'onofrio wasn't in El Paso with Golden when the Hurricanes took a beating of Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl. He was with his parents and two sons up in Jupiter watching the game on TV. But what he saw between commercials turned his stomach as much as it did yours.

"Well, I’ll preface it with I know any transition is hard, and obviously this was a hard transition here," D'onofrio said trying to be nice. "Anytime there are coaches that are going out and players staying on, I think that’s a tough situation. I haven’t been in that one, but I can imagine it being tough. I think the things that stood out to me are really at the core of who we want to be defensively. If you had a pyramid built up of what our goals would be on defense, I think at the very core, it’s going to be that we’re going to play really, really hard. we’re going to finish. We’re going to be physical. We’re going to knock back piles. All 11 guys better be in the frame when we freeze it. that’s where it starts and that has nothing to do with talent. That has nothing to do with talent. We want to play harder than they played the other day.

"I think we want to be disciplined. We can’t have penalties. Obviously a lot of penalties in that game led to touchdowns. Right there we have to eliminate that. and we have to tackle well. we have to tackle better than they tackled in the game. again, those are things that you can talk about. Those can be your philosophy, but if you don’t have a plan to execute those, you’re really not going to be able to get it done. and those are things we work on everyday, those are things we teach, those are things that al makes a big emphasis on as far as penalties go. tackling. We tackle everyday. We tackle every single day. at the end of the day you can’t play defense if you don’t tackle well.

"I think sometimes people get caught up in schemes and all these other things, but at their core they have to be fundamentally sound. So I think that’s where we’re going to start. We’re going to start with that foundation, clean that up with what I saw the other day needs to be cleaned up based on how the season ended and then get into the execution phases of stopping the run and third-down defense and red zone and all those things that we feel we do a good job of teaching."


> Being a Penn State grad, you might believe D'onofrio's heart won't be in coaching The U. But he knows the program well and respects it. "Before I was a college football player and before I was a college football coach I was a fan," D'onofrio said. "I know the history here. I know the players. I was just talking with Micheal Barrow and he was talking about a recruit. I said this guy kind of reminds me of Bill Hawkins, No. 54. He looked at me said 'Yeah, Ok.' I don't know how many guys from Penn State know what number Bill Hawkins was, but I'm one of them."

> D'onofrio said he watched four bowl practices and a few UM games on tape to study the Canes defense. He feels he has a good grasp of what's missing and what is needed in terms of personnel. He said the top needs at the moment are linebacker and cornerback.

"It's really not about the players. It's about playing with passion, playing with energy, playing with discipline, tackling well, playing like you love the game, not faking it out there," D'onofrio said. "Showing passion, enthusiasm and that you really love the fact to wear that Miami jersey and be a part of this tradition. Guys need to respect that. And I think at the end of the day, they need to appreciate that and what they have here and respect that."

> D'onofrio said he likes the defensive staff that has been put together. "Paul Williams has been our secondary coach and been with us for five years at Temple and really instrumental in the success we've had there. There's no question he and I are on the same page. We work really well together and have a good feel for one another as far as game planning goes, adjustments and all those kind of things. I'm definitely fired up to have him," he said.

"Jethro Franklin, our defensive line coach, was only with us for one year. We were fortunate enough to get him last year from USC. He got caught in that whole Pete Carroll change and what not and he was available. I got his resume and said 'I'm going to call this guy up. He probably doesn't want to come.' Sure enough he did. I'm going to give this guy a shot. We were getting all kinds of resumes. Here was a guy with eight years of NFL experience, two years at SC, Fresno, played in the NFL, has an unbelievable resume. Gave him a call. He interviewed. Hired him. And now we're glad he's here.

"And obviously Mike has been tremendous. Mike is a year younger than I am. Mike was playing in that '91 game. He was the middle linebacker on the other side. You want to talk about a guy that bleeds UM. He's excited. We're here right now and we're excited to have him. But he's really bright, a football guy, he's passionate, works really, really hard. Does a great job in recruiting. I think we have a great staff -- guys I'm really excited to be working with. Again two of them I worked with. Adding Mike will make it a smooth transition. Plus, he's a UM guy, so that will be great."

> D'onofrio said he hasn't spoken with cornerback Brandon Harris about his future. Harris could opt to leave early and is currently projected as a borderline first round pick. "I tried not to get involved in that," D'onofrio said. "It’s one of those things where I just casually said hello to some of the players while this whole thing was going on. I didn’t think it was fair to the outgoing staff and those guys involved to really be a distraction. Obviously, those guys got home just the day after the game and will be home on break right now. I’ll be catching up with all the defensive guys here over the next week, trying to get in touch with all of them and talk and do all those things.”

> What's his philosophy on blitzing? "I don’t think you could ever blitz as much as the fans and you guys want," D'onofrio said. "Everybody says, ‘Why don’t you blitz? Why don’t you blitz?. A lot of it depends on personnel, first and foremost. You have to first have the guys that can be able to cover. And you have to be able to have the guys who can get them on the ground if something does pop when you’re aggressive, but we mix it up. I mean, we will pressure a bunch. We’ll mix up coverages. We’ve played a lot of zone coverage , we’ve played man coverage, we’ve had the flexibility to get in and out of an odd front. We’ll drop eight at times or we’ll max pressure and we’ll bring seven.

"I think you just have to mix it up and you have to find spots where it’s the right thing to do. But I don’t think you can be blitz happy. I think one of the things we pride ourselves on is that at the end of the day, scoring defense is the no. 1 statistic. At the end of the day. I mean you don’t want to give up points, so however you do that, whether somebody decides they’re going to blitz 70 times a game or maybe it’s, you know, a third of the game. whatever you can do to get the points down at the end of the day and not give up big plays and do those kinds of things is the way you have to play. But obviously, personnel will dictate that."


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oh yeah! a defensive coordinator who
will teach and demand passion from his players!
Go Canes!


Looks, sounds and feels like a winner!

Now, let's get going and recruit the players we need, including 2 QBs (desperate need!!).

Let's also get an OC and QB Coach quickly!!

These two positions are critical to the recruits we can land this year, given the lateness in the process.

lets go after 2 real QBs and a good OC to make the buffet more tasteful.. chokeory Harris sucks... he needs to get the F... out of miami...

Can't wait to see who the OC and Qb coach is. This staff just keeps getting better and better.

Wow!!!!!!!Now I like This New DC ....Getting back to the Basics and that's Tackling and getting off Blocks....

You can't not be excited about this guy!

"All 11 guys better be in the frame when we freeze it. that’s where it starts and that has nothing to do with talent. That has nothing to do with talent. We want to play harder than they played the other day." WOW refreshing

Let's hope Lawton Anderson comes back to football. He would start this year if Randy wasn't being Randy. Manny, any word on Lawton Anderson?


At least we can be optimistic with this new staff that seems to be much more competent, passionate and intelligent than the prior regime.

D'onofrio on WQAM today was more insightful and intelligent in 30 seconds than Shannon was all year in his mumbo jumbo/non-speak press conferences and interviews. Hearing Golden and D'onofrio speak about strategy and program goals makes one realize Shannon was such a simpleton who had no business being a head coach.

Finally we have some real football coaches who understand the game and will be able to develop these young players. Good luck.

I like everything I hear, but I hope D'onofrio has a plan of attack for Ga. Tech's option. I don't think he's had much exposure to it at Temple or even as a player at Penn State. The departed DC held GT to 26 points in two games, I believe.


No one seems to have an answer on Latwan Anderson at this paper. With all the recruits were losing & the losses in the secondary, he would be a major help. Steve over at the SunSentinel is looking into it & said he'll have an answer for us this week.

D'Onofrio is a mad man as a coach. The under achieving Canes players are in for a rude awakening with this guy and the staff he brought with him. Barrow's already outstanding and he will be even better. They will do it right or they won't be there. In case you didn't get it he just called out every defensive player from the Sun-less Bowl. Players better be prepared to come to work. Nothing but their best will be accepted.

I'm excited about the influx of new blood. This team really need it. Every since Shannon was D-Cord the team started developing bad habits like missing tackles, tackling shoulders and not legs, no gang tackling, confusing and blown assignments and never pushing the pile back. That's how UUU become a soft team.

Stop bashing Jacory and Shannon. I am all for benching Jacory and firing Shannon, but these are Miami guys. I mean Shannon played and won a championship...was the D.C. of another national championship. It didn't work out and they got rid of him...so there's no need to bash him as a person. As for Jacory...same thing...the guy is a team player. I fully expect him to support Morris next year, and I'm sure it will help Morris mature as a player.

I agree okiecane, Jacory Harris is a team player who has played poorly and deserved to be benched, but not bashed. Same goes for Randy, he was a great player and DC who couldn't cut it as a head coach, but he gave it his all and did what he felt was best for the U and the players. Everyone agrees he was Fired for good reason. Let's move on and stop bashing these guys.

Wasn't it Duper who worked with Hankerson lasy offseason? If so, with Hill leaving for gaytor county, can we get Duper as our WR coach? If not, any suggestions on who our WR might be? We need to get the max outta our WR corp.

another blow hard..holcutt golden now this clown..talk talk talk..temple won how many conference titles?..00000000000000

For D'onofrio, "it's all about player development"

U do make sure that U breath deep when U free dive down past 18 feet down Coach D' n families .

follow the bubbles back to the surfice ...

I hear there's Gold off of Elliot Key

As of a month ago West Virginia was holding a scholarship open on the expectation that Latwan Anderson was going to join their football team after he runs track this year for UM (which he has to do because he took Fall courses on the track scholarship). Haven't heard anything in a while, don't really care about some Bryce Brown problem child anyway, UM's fine at safety.

Not far from Golden's office though, if he has some down time he might think about doing some recruiting over at the athletic center.

screw both Jacory and Shannon. All that has been said is the truth. Shannon ran Marve, and Cook off so his boy Jacory could start. They both are getting what they deserve. Shannon alienated players on the team in favor of others as well as recruits right in our back yard. So as far as Shannon goes I could care less. Jacory on the other hand, I do feel sorry for the kid in the respect that the poor guy is just beat down. U have to give it to him, to be as boney as he is that kid has taken a beaten from opposing defenses and other than Virginia, he popped back up. So I do say Jacory U have shown alot of toughness.

Hey championship. Can you stop the bashing of a cane great. I never agree with you during the season but you were correct on many points about this team. So you have a coach Shannon guy that seeing it your way now. But please stop bashing cane players and coaches who are true canes for life.....

championship is right. Shannon was arrogant to a fault. If he was a bad coach, but personable and listen to advice, and made some corrections (like when he fired Kehoe, Warner and others after the LSU debacle) that's one thing. But Shannon alienated everyone, would not return e-mails or phone calls, was stuck on the Miami Northwestern obsession, burned bridges, and could not coach his way out of a wet paper bag. He single handedly set this porgrma back 3 yrs.

On another note:

Way to go Va Tech chokies, for representing the ACC. Way to step up and live up to all that Chokie hype. Typical. Pretenders but never contenders. Always ranked in the top 10 preseason. What a bunch of jokes. Can't even hold up the ACC banner for the rest.

Reminder to the UM haters:

Stanford was 1-11, 5-7 2007,2008 and played in the sun bowl last year.. As bad as Miami has been of late, it hasnt been that bad. All it takes are three fundamental things:

1) passion
2) a good QB
3) good coaching

The pieces are in place. A team can go 1-11 and still play in a BCS bowl with the same class. They just have to want it more. And I dont want to ever hear anything about Randy Shannons academic progress report. Stanford players are above Miami on that they just got done putting a beatdown on Va Tech.

Get rid of the players that are going through the motions and dont have any pride for the green and orange. bench them, or dismiss them. They are like weeds that need to be pulled out.

For those of who are wondering why Anderson left, here are some speculations. He came in late to fall practice because he had some transcript problems. He fell behind some of the DB's and was never in the running for playing time. He should have redshirted. But his parents didn't want him to, so he took his ball and left. The canes had a lot of problems, but the defensive backfield wasn't one of them. So where would he have play had he stayed, Played over Brandon Harris, Ryan Hill, DVD (who didn't start), Brandon McGee.

Well, he has the talking part down, as they all seem to have. All that's left is to taste the cooking.

Like the man said, it's not about talent as much as it's about refusing to lose: playing with focus and with passion.

And running fast and fancy schemes and dazzling plays are dramatic, but this game is about blocking and tackling. If a team can't or won't block and tackle, then it won't win.

wake up our defense backs got beat over and over all year long anderson probably should have been starting over harris and hill

Well, ents we got 8 1/2 months to wait and see...I am not sure what we are going to see...Morris looks like the guy, Streeter shows up in a bowl game late again...where is he during the season? RBs - we are loaded! OL looks pretty good, DL - SOFT, SOFT, how do 300+ lb dudes get blasted and pushed around constantly? ND this yr, WIS last yr...manhandled our guys...has anybody seen the weight room lately? That more than anything bugs me the most...getting flat out-physically played on the line of schrimmage...Talent's there...just need to see some fire, energy, and desire to win. Oh well, God Bless you all, have a great new year, and GO CANES!

Wow, watching Stanford completely obliterate Va Tech "best team in the ACC" showed me just how piss poor the ACC really is.

Well Masochist you're an idiot then. ANY team that can lose their first 2 games and then win 11 in a row is a helluva squad. Hats off to Stanford, they played their tails off, but the ACC as a whole went 5-3 or something like that in the Bowls. The Big10 got blasted and is like 0-5. Their only hope is OSU tonight.

If it is true that defense wins championships, then you gotta love D'Onofrio's attitude. Yes, you start with talk, but the real test is what is on the field.

As noted, we need the OC and QB coaches in place. A great choice on Coach Richardson for RB coach. He has talent with which to work. Let's see our RBs break long runs, juke the LBs and get into the secondaryand outrun them.

Coach Golden is a winner. You can knock that he came from Temple, but this guy will deliver.

Penn State has produced teams that play hard. Their strength has been defense, but the players put it out there. They have not had the kind of speed and athleticism that the U has attracted. Combine all the elements and you see a promising future for the Canes.

And some Northeastern guys won't hurt either. Or some west coast kids. Check out Stanford last night, especially LBs #11 and #49. These guys are BUILT like LBs should be, and we need the size of Ray Lewis type players at that position. They looked like the Canes of old in terms of desire and intensity.

Friends, it is gonna be good! We will get there! GO CANES!

"It's all about player development"

if that statement isn't an indictement on Shannon, Stoutland and Whipple, I dont know what is.

Cola Cane- BC still has to play Nevada. I would call it 5-4.

Lou Holtz is a d--a--. He said something about Va Tech PRIOR to the game about being bullies and beating up on the little guys and never beating the "big boys". Recall, Mr spit mouth, that VT beat FSU, who dismantled both UF and South Carolina.

I'm tired of his goofy saliva-throwing speeches. Then he smiles and looks around like anyone cares. Go pick up some leaves of grass, Lou and shove them up your... Where the sun don;t shine!

I could care less about the ACC and would piss on VT if I could. I'm glad Stanford rand them off the field last night. I'm a Cane fan and I don't care whether or not the ACC, the Big East, or whatever other conference will give us the most money is doing well in bowl games. That's fun for sports commentators, but I don't care. If we go undefeated and beat FSU and a good non-conference opponent, then we go to the title game regardless of how good our conference is.

I was rooting for Stanford last night because I think that Golden is going to shape UM in the same mold that Harbaugh shaped Stanford. Tough, physical, smash-mouth football with a constant deep threat and an aggressive defense that bloodies the QB every game (loved watching Taylor get patched up last night, and he couldn't get away because Stanford constantly had a swarm of players in the backfield). I hope Golden succeeds too, because to me, there is nothing funner than having the entire defense know you're going to run the ball, stack the line to stop the run, and you still get 5-10 yards off the play. That's domination, and it demoralizes the other team.

I hope we see some of that next year. Go Canes!

This pretty much says it all about U ...

Marquise Williams, North Carolina's early enrollee 4 Star duel threat Q.B. on rumors that he is considering switching his commit to the University of Miami ...

"I move in on the 8th of January at UNC. I don't see that happening. Not interested in that train wreck program or no-name coach"

And if U don't think that's not the Consensus opinion, outside Ur lil Miami media blog bubble, of all National recruits as to what's happening down in Coral Gables, U are sadly fooling Urselves.

U still have a Football Program that is being held together with gum, paste, construction paper, spit wads and 50,000 Empty Seats. And U have no other way to react but with false hope because where U are and have been for going on 8 years, there is really nowhere else to go ... That's called the bottom.

But look on the bright side Cane Fan, U just might be ready to compete and win a Title in the MAC Conference with all Ur no-name Temple and UCONN retread Coaches.

Kirby and Donna keep feeding U and U continually ask for more ... That's called being "Owned".


Arty, their enthusiasm is admirable, yet so sad at the same time. They take it time and time again and come back for more over and over... We tried to warn them years ago. Looks like more of the same for years to come down in the City Beautiful.


Yea. For those that want an example of the type of offense we will see here under Golden, Stanford was a good example.

As far as the defense goes, Mark D'onofrio will produce some the best defenses this program has seen. He and Golden have a very strong and proven record for developing players. Combine this with the talent level we have now and will continue to garner over time.

And just a word to those of you that are not on board yet or still swimming in doubt;

I will go out on a limb and say - "these guys will immediately put a quality product on the field next season. And will win 10 or more games next season."

Go Canes!

Fiiiiinally, Somebody that's talking FOOTBALL!!!
And knows WTF he's talking about!!!

No more babysitting in this team

I totally agree with the posters who are urging other posters to stop bashing Randy Shannon and Jacory Harris. What is done is done and should stay in the past. This is a time to be positive and get behind the new coaches and players.

Yes! YEs! YES!

This is the right Person with Passion and Principles based on the Fundamentals we've been Looking for!!!

This guy has Defensive Coach of the Year written all over him! NOW I'm Excited!

Would Love to have seen Bailey play under this Defensive Coach.

he was a bad arse LB for penn st. I remember those games and was at the 91 game. He is really intense. Contrary to what some of these UF and FSU posters say, we have top talent on this team and only need leadership. Face it, im not bashing shannon but he was a horrible coach with no intensity. period. that reflects on the players. we have 3-4-5 star guys filling up 75 slots, hence why we only have 15 available. we are loaded. I mentioned b4 but look at UF from 02-05. zook loaded up top ranked classes, had #1 pick grossman as his qb and other stars, and LOST 4-5 games a yr. Meyer came in and BOOM, won. WE HAVE TALENT ON THIS ROSTER PEOPLE----------its coaching--------BAD COACHING WE HAD

mannnn ive been waiting for a coaching staff like this since butch left!!! tear it up next year!!!!!!

PASSION!! Player Development!! Recruiting!! Coaching!! Since we have to wait to see his work I'll buy into his sales pitch. Man I haven't been this optimistic since I took that drunk girl home. Go Canes!!!

We can't undo the past. The administration and boosters realized that you can't buy a D-1 Championship with D-2 money. They got rid of Shannon as they should have. They hired the coach they believe can rebuild the program and gave him money to hire qualified assistants that can all coach and also recruit.. Think about it, if Shannon was able to win 7-8 games, then its not inconceivable that a better Head Coach and staff can't win at least two more games. Without playing a game I already know that Golden and staff will develop players, be better at game planning/making adjustments, mending relationships with recruits and HS coaches and better at public and professional relationships. So why be somber when the future is obviously BRIGHTER.

I like this guy, seems very bright.

DOnofrio defenses were 5-1 vs Army and Navy option offenses while at Temple. the one loss was when Temple fumbled running out clock and NAvy returned for TD. GT will have better athletes but AG and MD are familiar with defending option

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