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When it comes to fixing UM's defense D'Onofrio is thinking long term, not immediate

Here is the longer version of my story set to run in Tuesday's paper.

They rank 109th in pass defense and scoring defense, 89th against the run and 114th in total defense out of 120 teams in major college football.

Hurricanes assistant head coach Mark D’Onofrio is well aware just how awful his unit has looked. UM has given up 1,000-plus yards and 84 points through its first two games. The Canes haven't been lit up like this since they were coming off probation in 1998.

UM fans have roasted him on the radio and on internet message boards. Former Canes -- like Clinton Portis, Warren Sapp and Calais Campbell -- have taken to Twitter to express their embarrassment.

"I can't worry about any of that right now,” D’Onofrio said Monday of the criticism he’s received since Saturday’s 52-13 loss at Kansas State. “The only fans I need to worry about are my wife and my kids. As long as they still like me, I am in good shape."

Here’s something that might make UM fans like D'Onofrio a little less: he didn't offer any quick fix remedies Monday. Instead, he basically asked for more patience, and compared Miami's defensive mess to a reclamation project, like the ones he undertook as a linebackers coach at Rutgers and then as defensive corodinator at Temple with Al Golden.

There, D’Onofrio mixed what little talent he inherited with a lot of freshmen and sophomores. Eventually, the garbage was weeded out, and the defenses improved. With 17 freshmen and sophomores on the Canes' two deep on defense, the plan here is essentially the same.

"Go back and look at his statistics; His statistics say it all," Golden said of D'Onofrio. "We finished 17th against the score last year, 15th the year before at Temple. Again, is it what we want right now? No. But who is more upset than we are?

"I appreciate everybody's passion, but there were too many players out of position and too many plays we didn't execute, and too many times where we just didn't have 11 guys doing their job [Saturday at Kansas State]. We always look at ourselves as coaches first so we know what we need to calm down and what we need to call more of and what we need to eliminate based on what we're seeing."

"There's no panic button right now. We're in it for the long haul. We'll get this fixed. I've seen this before. I've seen this drill before, trust me."

As for the immediate future – including this Saturday’s home opener against Bethune-Cookman – D'Onofrio said he's trimming the rotation. Golden said 26 players have gotten into games on defense.

"It is not going to be like Pop Warner football where everybody gets in," D'Onofrio said.

“We have a base line to go off of good, bad or indifferent,” D’Onofrio said. “We have some guys that are playing well. We have some guys that haven't rose to the occasion. And we have some guys that are playing like their youth. A few more guys came to battle this week. I though [freshman safety] Deon Bush played well. [Junior safety] A.J. Highsmith played well. [Redshirt freshman linebacker] Eddie Johnson played well. We’ll just keep trying to building our team.

“I am sure Al has spoken about it, 17 of the two deep are freshmen or sophomores and the juniors are Shayon Green, Kacy Rodgers, and A.J. Highsmith. And you have seen how much they have played. That's where we're at. That's no excuse. But when we get this thing turned it is going to be turned for a while. We're working to get it turned. When we get it turned, there is going to be nobody leaving the team for a while and that is what we are working on what we are trying to do."

As for practice, the focus has turned to the basics. Coaches are preaching: fill the right gap and wrap up. The playbook? D’Onofrio said he has simplified his defense and kept the plays he knows his unit can execute. The rest get thrown out.

“My general rule of thumb is that if we aren't running it well by the end of Wednesday, I throw it out,” D’Onofrio said. “Just leave that burden off them. I try to keep it as tight as I can with this group.”

Unfortunately, D’Onofrio can’t do the same to the offenses UM is facing. D’Onofrio admitted Kansas State, a veteran team loaded with juniors and seniors, baffled the Canes’ last Saturday with different formations and personnel packages.

“I think the multitude of formations right now has guys seeing a lot,” D’Onofrio said. “The next time they see it, hopefully they play it better."

If there were encouraging signs from Saturday's loss, D'Onofrio said, it's that his players didn't quit.

"I have been in games like that where you get manhandled and guys lay down," D'Onofrio said. "We tried to put it on their fullback. We tried to put it on their quarterback. There were guys trying to be physical. I am encouraged by that."


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Same Old bovine fecal matter.
That performance Saturday on the Defense side of the ball was a complete embarassment- it's not like we were playng the Pittsburg Steelers. We did better against these guys last year- shows me a decline, not an improvement.We stabd so low in the NCAA defensive stats, I would require a deep sea diving explorer to find us. What really gets me, is its the same old plays that beat us- the bubble screen while the corner back is playing 10 yards off the line. The same old pass to a receiver 12-15 yards down the line with no coverage within 5 yards Same old QB sneak from the KSU Quarterback- no adjustments. Maryland last year was just as bad- They have enough with the boyz from the hood and the boys from the muck to do better We will not see a new Defensive cordinator this year, but I hope we do next year. Just opinion

With the DC's latest comment, much as I hate to say it, but no matter the points Georgia Tech gives us, BET THE HOUSE ON GA. TECH!!!!

Defunnio said: there were too many players out of position and too many plays we didn't execute, and too many times where we just didn't have 11 guys doing their job. We always look at ourselves as coaches first so we know what we need to calm down and what we need to call more of and what we need to eliminate based on what we're seeing."


This is disgusting coaches blaming players for the coaches incompetence. I would do their jobs better for gas money from Jupiter, FL.

I will guarandamntee you that 1. the players would be in shape if I had to bring in Navy Seals to run their azzes day and night, 2. there would be 4 down defensive linemen trained to turn end runs back inside with linebackers one yard behind the line ready to meet a run, man to man defense in the secondary with a couple of free safeties, blitzes.

And on offense, their would be timing patters run over and over and over and over until the ball was in the arms of the receivers on their last cut just like SF Niners Rice, and a big, refrigerator Perry running back for blocking and running in the offensive backfield, spread the offensive line, throw only 10-15 yard passes.

If these coaches do not understand such elementary, fundamental football, they should take up another profession.

Teams are putting up video game numbers against us; 84pts and over 1000 yards in only 2 games! This guy has had 14 games to show improvement and it's not happening. He doesn't know how to coach nor does he understand how to make adjustments. Every team runs the same 4 or 5 plays against us and they work every week! This is big time football not Temple!! Golden is turning Miami into the Temple Owls!

Man, Coach Doughnut is a lame......Blaming young adults, but not taking responsibility for your own short comings...

This guy makes six figures a year, and he can't even man up!! This arrogant prick has got to go!!

Where are our tight ends Shockey, Bubba Frank, etc?
Where are our Brattons? Where are our WRs like Michael Irvin? Where are our four down defensive linemen on every stinkin play collapsing the offense? We do NOT need penn state football or temple football or any other damn styles. Get us back to what got us 5 NCs plus 3 more almost national championships. Get us back to pro style offenses and defenses brought over from Don Shula and Howard, JJ, Butch. Hellooooo.

Go out and recruit in Overtown and the rest of the Florida scrub towns and big ole farmboys south of I-4.

Jimmy said he recruited speed and smarts. Welllllllll, it kinda worked, didn't it? He let the boys play and backed them up. Notre Dame players were the arrogant sonofbitches with the home town refs, not Miami.

I like the idea of simplifying the defense and let the players use their own athleticism to play and compete. I also like the idea of playing 25-27 players on defense so you can learn more about them in games rather than just practice.

Coach D is a badass, you gotta love him.
They cannot say what I would hope the Herald bloggers would say for him: the players are not any good. They will be good. But today, they are high school kids playing in the big league. there is nothing that can be coached about this situation. we have to wait two years, there's just no way around it.
For this lifelong Canes fan, you know what, I can deal with the pain and embarrasment of last Saturday. I will live. (If barely.)
Bc I love these coaches.
Because what they speak is truth.
I believe with all my heart in these guys. And I am thinking to 2014. And it is a long way away, and we will burn til then. But our day will come.
Thank you, coach D.

CaneFan'72 take a breath...this is College football and you as a fan are getting much too cranked up now telling Coaches where to recruit..Get a life and watch the Gayturds play then you can now call yourself.
We would all feel better for you..try not to watch the 'Canes play and while you are at it switch your allegiance since the 'Canes are so bad..Please.
Go 'Canes Always.

BreukelenCane well said.
Go 'Canes Always

With 26 guys on the defense, we should stop someone, no? Ah, innovation.

it seems each year, we are told it will be take more years. that was last yrs, and now this yrs excuses. we are young, but this isnt their 1st time on a field. there should be some resemblance of order, even if only at times. i guess with golden having a long contract, he can wait, i hope to see a beter game against GT.

The fact that the Defense is getting worse and not better from last year, tells me that it's not just the players. No improvements means undeveloped talent and that is all on the coaching staff. This defense does have a couple of good players to build around,they just need a good leader to lead them. It's not like we had bad recruiting classes in the past few years, the talent is not developing and I blame the coaches. How bad does this defense have to get to realize we need a new D coordinator? Coach D is in over his head, your not at low expectation Temple anymore, the stats speak for themselves.

BreukelenCane well said.
Go 'Canes Always

Posted by: UGoCane | September 10, 2012 at 09:01 PM


I'm with you guys.


Bruekelen Cane right on
We are what we are but I as well believe in Golden and what he is doing.

Bud Foster does it every year. Brings new guys in. His D isn't great every year but competitive. So i say if the d does not improve this year he has got to go.

The OC said that in time the bad players get "weeded" out....he said he has been here before at Temple.

"D’Onofrio mixed what little talent he inherited with a lot of freshmen and sophomores. Eventually, the garbage was weeded out, and the defenses improved. The plan here (17 freshmen and sophomores on the two-deep depth chart) is essentially the same"

Thats a very disturbing statement since it implies there are underlying problems with players. Its funny Golden says with confidence that the defense at Temple (2009) finished 15th (teams they beat - Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Ball State , Army, Akron, Miami OH, Kent State, Navy).......and 2010 17th (teams they beat - Villanova, Connecticut, Akron, Kent State, Army, Bowling Green, Buffalo)

These coaches accually think is the same thing down here. This is going to be very interesting on what lies ahead. Stay tuned.......

Man, get this DC outta here, the more he talk, the more I believe he dont know what the hell he is doing. Trimming the players being played, hell, the other team may get a 100 on you..talking to the DC, man, its call a blitz, blitz, blitz, blitz, the great defenses of old, did just that, and thier DBs covered, plain and simple! Let them athletes run, let them come off the edge with DB blitzes...go down fighting!!! This prevent defense called keeping the play in front of you, is not working, test those new 5 Star and 4 Star DBs we now have in the secondary with man on man coverage!!

Goldens shinning endorsement of the DC ability was wins against those teams......he should have been above 10th at least, lol.....I can't believe that all this bravado of confidence from Miami fans is to a coaching team who glows in wins against Bowling Green or Akron....this is too painful. I think I have to become a gator fan and I hated Florida all my life.

"It is not going to be like Pop Warner football where everybody gets in," D'Onofrio said.

Funny, this guy's defense looks an awful lot like Pop Warner football. Two more seasons till maybe I can finally look forward to watching Canes again and not dreading it.

Coach D should have taken the Temple job!

Sister of the Poor High School would not hire this guy now!

Phucka Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am starting to fear that these coaches are out of their league. They have not played the kind of competition UM faces. Or been in a program with NC aspirations and history. D'Onofrio doesn't seem to convey a sense of urgency about how embarassed his defense should be.

Reminds me of Jacory throwing INTs and announcing, almost proudly, that he wasn't going to worry about it. It showed.

This guy has the same vibe. Where's the urgency? This ain't Temple, so open your eyes for a fresh look at the situation! And the fans do count, pal.

I like Golden, but his loyalty to a Lame DC is killing us!

"FCS" BCU will expose us even more! We will win, but we will get sliced up in the process! They will have about 400 yards of Offense!

DC: Players failed to....


DC this is not about rebuilding and installing your zoning system schemes; this is about man to man, UM football, or else do your friend a favor and RESIGN. Take it elsewhere, a year and two games has been ENOUGH

Players not plays...play one-gap and upfield, this thing is turning and when alums and nfl canes turn against the current staff it won't be pretty.

Disrupting multiple offenses by attacking with speed and athleticism is easier than hoping 11 separate players on D can read react the same thing...get a clue Coach G & D!

If you want to prep for coaching in the nfl do it elsewhere!!

Bunch of idiots, you can't man up with no pass rush. At least no football before posting. There's no talent on the dl, period .

When a coach says he is weeding out all of the juniors and seniors and playing sophomores and freshmen, he is saying he is a failure at coaching the older, more mature kids. He does not know football. The younger kids are enthusiastic and running in every different direction. The older ones are looking at the coaches like they are crazy because the coaches do not know what they are doing. They just are helter skelter out there on the practice field instead of knowing anything about football. Every year it will be the same just like since Butch left.

Not coaching the juniors and seniors, ignoring them, using small just out of high school young guys, No junior college transfers, immature, using loser formations and plays on offense and defense, not getting players in shape. All these are coaching failures. Fans and alum and U management accepting coaching failures means years more of the same.

Whats painfully obvious is thet athe higher ups (Pesident & Athletic Director) really dont seem to be concerned that the "Miami" brand is gone. They dont seem to REALLY want the 80's back like us fans. Maybe we need to get on board to the new "U". Yesteryear is gone. The coaching staff feels they can recapture the brand by doing what they did at Temple...I dont see it. But soon the pocket-book of the Athletic Dept will be hit. I live in the NE now and I know how Miami fans are.....they wont drive to Sun Life or buy athletic brand clothing....too much to do on a Saturday than to drive a million miles to an empty stadium. Students wont waste their Saturdays. Nobody likes a loser no matter where you live in the country although some schools like VT or ND you go because theres nothing to do there....but not in a city like Miami. My neighbors are Boston College alumni and ever there the stadium was at 70% for them...Miami had just as much fans that Saturday....If Miami keeps losing this will hurt really bad financially.

Come on with the upperclassmen. Porter is always hurt, Robinson starts one game and throws a fit, VT just doesnt get it, Ray Ray gets throws off the team. Look at the way Denzel and Eddie Johnson have played, they are golden recruits. Temple was really at the bottom, throw out of big east, told to give up football. Even at Virginia Golden moved their Defense up almost 100 spots. I remember no one wanted Jimmy Johnson or Dennis Erickson, I remember when people wanted Butch out. You really need for this upper classmen to be gone to change the culture.

Jim Gallo you just don't get it..

A legacy cannot be changed it stands on it's own.

Miami is a Private University funded by independent sources not like FSU and UF.

When Miami is winning there is no problem with fans in Miami( key games at the OB are good examples)...if Miami is loosing then they don't show up.

That is a given.

You may not be aware but Miami went through a similar situation with Butch Davis, and also if I remember with JJ when he started, so we are not on new territory here.
It matters though how it is handled, and I think that Coach G has changed the attitude, and culture to that of fighting to the end of the game, and believe in the team and your fellow players.
This is a process, and those like you, who want instant gratification will not find it in this years Class.

In 2 years you will be strutting around your neighborhood very proud to be a 'Cane.

Rather than financial, I think this is more of a commitment to ride the rough times out with the team, and as the wins start happening, know that you were supportive and not whining about plays, Coaches, Administration, attendance, funding, and what not.,

We have been here before and we will be back..Listen up : IT IS A PROCESS.
Go 'Canes Always

Your right..when they start winning I will be struting. At my age I dont support loser only winners, I've done that "I'll support no-matter what thing"....guess what, it was a waste of time. Alos Notre Dame is aprivate....Brian Kelly is rumored to be getting close to 3 million. BTW he is 188-66 win/loss....at ND he is 8-5, 8-5, 2-0 and 2 bowl appearances. Your too young to understand any of this. We wont be back in 2 years....trust me.

I am with Jim Gallo on this issue. I was in the OB watching Cane football when Schnell came along. 12,000 fans if that many, in the empty bowl until he beat Number one Texas. Then, fans began to take an interest. There are way to many things to do in South Florida than to waste time watching a losing team. I would rather watch great college football on TV like the Purdue Notre Dame game going down to the last minute of the game tied up than watching Canes get beat badly because of poor coaching.

When the Canes were in big bowls, they were getting ten million bucks for the school. Hire great coaches like Ala and LSU and Ohio State just did hiring Urban Meyers or ND did. Look at USC, always in the thick of things. Look at Spurrier with recruiting players and constantly having exciting teams. Even USF and UCF seem to be better now than Miami the last couple of years much less FSU. Not too sure about the Gators although they did well against the Texas Aggies. Meanwhile we Cane Fans get to suffer humiliating losses and seasons, excuses and see the Canes and their coaches where the average fan can see the weak formations better than the coaches can.

Fans gave Coker 4 seasons. He did not produce.
Fans gave Shannon 4 seasons. Nice guys but he did not produce.
You want to give golden and his staff 4 seasons of question marks after last Saturday and after the first quarter of the BC game???????????

In all fairness Notre dame does have 6.8 billon in endowment vs Miami at 718 Million, but ND has been around alot longer. The point is in the end being cheap cost the U more in the end.....orange Bowl move, years of not paying coaches...run down equipment...look at oregon, unbelieveable faclilites. Tons of rich guys in Miami (alumni)....start collecting from them as well. There is nooooo much money in a town like Miami.

I seriously want to punch Oh-no-frio in the mouth

Another agonizing day of trying to understand Canes72 and Jim Gallo's insight. It probably would have helped if we had two cupcake games like the Gators and Noles to get our new kids some real time reps. There will be several more learning experiences that will test real fans this year but the U is coming back. As for the idiot fans comments, just ignore them. They always slow down mid morning because they have to start stocking the shelves again.

Rocket: Your support of the product has nothing to do with the brand. This is a business.....your a kid with no business experience. Its really simple, we went from a Cadillac to a Chevy....use that as an example. How did Cadillac come back? Complete product and heirarchy change. Top management got cleaned out.....anybody get fired at Miami? Keep doing what your doing and keep getting what your getting. This whole program needs to be gutted and rebuilt. Spend whatever it takes...BCS is the goal. Just ask yourself...can Miami get to a BCS bowl with this management...what is the probability of that? Smarten up!

Miami went from a caddy to a junk car in a junk yard.
It ain't running except when it is let go down hill or off a cliff. It has a couple of blind guys (coaches) driving it.

Unless they get four big guys on the defensive line, move the linebackers up right behind them, blitz occasionally from the corners, play man to man defense in the secondary except for the safeties, always having a big tough running back to block and run, always in the backfield, get the players in fantastic shape, then these drivers will continue to drive the wreck off the cliff. And you are looking at a less than break even season.

At some point with game-time adjustments, you have to decide to take away either the pass or the run. With KState we should obviously focus on stopping the run at all costs and make Klein beat us with his arm. We did neither. We stayed in pretty much base defense from what I saw and well off the line, and of course KState did what they wanted all game. You have to attack the line of scrimmage with extra players to make them get out of whatever they are trying to run. It's better to go down being agressive than reactionary. Even with 1st and 2nd year players, a Miami team should never be as bad as we are on defense, just by scheme alone.

Well actually Cane football turned around when Jim Kelly beat No 1 Penn State actually.NOT Texas.Anyway......this DC has got me worked up because he s so clueless.Why do D line folk Not know to stay in their lanes??????Why did Bush and the secondary always take bad tackling angles and allow the opposing WR s to get around them on the ends constantly???????Bad coaching...that s what it was.Guess the D line are not strong at all when they can t keep the lanes closed or/and get pushed back 3 yards on all running plays.So much for being a stronger and better-conditioned team.It was all propaganda and does not convey results on the field most certainly so far.THIS defense is more than embarrassing.THEY haven t been able to learn anything either.Now THAT part HAS been shocking.Either the players are dumb or the Coaches are dumber.


CaneFan72 and Jim Gallo must be best buddy's. You guys seem to always post about 10 or 15 minutes apart. I guess you could be the same person.
Dicky did you come up with some new names

Our biggest problem as I see it is that we do not have the front line to play the DC's defense.
He needs to prove he is a good coach and find the best way to use the players he has.
I would like to see the LB's, and CB's closer to the line. Show blitz than drop back, or blitz. Give the OL and QB something to think about.
Just my 2 cents.
win or lose


This D'Onofrio coach is singing "losers'lockerroom" tune. You have to play the hand that you are dealt. They have had enough time running this program to see some sort of improvement. If you don't have the large defensive tackles, you make adjustments. I can not imagine that after all of the time put into last year, spring practice, and fall practice- that guys are this far off in their preparation and game execution assignments. After all, isn't that what the coaches are supposed to be doing?

Naaa. I do not know Mr. Gallo although we are both in New England enjoying the brisk cool, fall air and watching some leaves beginning to change colors. We just both agree that we expect more out of Miami. And I believe it is coaching mistakes both in recruiting and in failures on offense and defense that is going to give us another excuse filled mediocre year unless the Cane coaches are reading some of the suggestions and implement them in a big hurry.

I agree with one post that said the run needs to be stopped first. To do that, I would even go to a five man defensive front on every play if I had to with blitz from the blind side. That still leaves a middle linebacker and free safety and three DBs playing man to man. The DE must turn the plays back into the middle and into pursuit.

The offensive passing game must throw on ten yard or fifteen yard timing patterns. We need a huge big refrigerator Perry back for blocking and a guaranteed 4 yards.

Miami needs to be in much better condition and more enthusiastic.

To: Terry King...........I HEAR YOU.

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