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After 20 games, Golden's Hurricanes at a crossroads between mediocrity, winning path

Taking a team from mediocrity to greatness is probably the toughest coaching challenge in all of college football.

But it's a feat that's been achieved here before at the University of Miami. Not once, but twice really.

Howard Schnellenberger took over a 6-5 program in 1978 and in five years went from 5-6 to 9-3 to 9-2 to 7-4 and a national championship in 1983.

Then, in 1997, after NCAA sanctions began to take their toll on UM's program, Butch Davis went from 5-6 in 1997 to 9-3, 9-4 and then 11-1 before the Canes won a national title the following season under Larry Coker.

Why the history lesson? Because that's what Randy Shannon failed to do after he took over in 2007. And now, it's what Al Golden is attempting to do after Shannon was cut loose following the 2010 season. 

Our Linda Robertson wrote a column today that it's time for Golden's Hurricanes to make a statement. I couldn't agree more.

Golden, who will coach his 21st game tonight for the Hurricanes, is in a unique position -- a lot like Davis was after his first two seasons. He knows sanctions are going to cut scholarships, bowl games, etc. It's going to make recruiting even tougher.

UM gave Golden a contract extension through the 2019 season because they knew finding somebody to deal with this mess isn't going to be easy. Golden seems eager, passionate about his task.

But does that necessarily mean the program will be resurrected like it was under Schnellenberger and Davis? Will the Canes eventually head down a championship path?

After 20 games it's really hard to answer that question -- especially with the NCAA hammer still hanging over head. In the end, none of us really know how far the rabbit hole goes when it comes to punishment.

But so far, after his first 20 games, Golden appears to be on a path more similar to Shannon than he does Schnellenberger and Davis. I went back and looked up the first 20 games for all four coaches (Davis I studied his third and fourth seasons because that's when he really dealt with the NCAA scholarship reductions) and found some interesting numbers to share with you in terms of what they accomplished.

> For starters, Davis and Schnellenberger never lost to teams with losing records in their first 20 games at Miami. Golden and Shannon did twice.

Shannon got beat by what turned out to be 4-8 North Carolina team in 2007 and a 5-7 North Carolina State team later that same season. Golden lost his first game to what turned out to be a 2-10 Maryland team last year. He finished the season by losing to a 4-8 Boston College squad.

> Golden and Shannon each went 10-10 through their first 20 games. Two of Golden's wins came against FCS opponents (Bethune-Cookman twice). Shannon only played one FCS school (Charleston Southern).

Golden, meanwhile, is 1-4 versus ranked opponents -- his only win coming against an Ohio State team that eventually finished 6-7 last year. Shannon went 1-5 versus ranked opponents -- his only win coming against a Texas A&M team that finished 7-6.

Shannon eventually finished his second season with four straight losses including the bowl game to Cal. UM was 7-6.

> Howard Schnellenberger went 11-9 in his first 20 games, but beat three ranked opponents -- at No. 18 Houston in 1980, at No. 19 Penn State in 1979, and at home versus No. 9 Florida State in 1980 -- and suffered six of his losses to ranked teams including an 11-1 Florida State team, 12-0 Alabama, 9-2-1 Notre Dame and a 10-2 Penn State team. Schnellenberger went on to finish his second season with five straight wins including a 20-10 win over Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl.

> Butch Davis went 12-8 (one win over an FCS school) over his first 20 games amid NCAA sanctions. His best win during that 20-game window? Knocking off 13th-ranked West Virginia in 1998. The Mountaineers went on to finish 8-4 and play in the Insight.com Bowl. Davis would close out his second season with an embarrassing 66-13 loss to Syracuse, but bounced back the following week to beat No. 3-ranked UCLA and then win a bowl game against N.C. State by 23 points.

The point here is Golden and UM have an opportunity to deliver a message over their final four games. They can finish strong like Davis' group did in 1998 and Schnellenberger's team did in 1980. Or they can limp toward the end of the 2008 season like Shannon's highly-touted, freshman loaded team.

The schedule certainly isn't that tough. Virginia Tech is 4-4. Virginia is 2-6 and winless in the ACC. USF is 2-6 and winless in the Big East. And Duke is 6-3, but still Duke.


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Good article Manny, thanks!! Much better than the crap Linda presented earlier. Now if we could just get your Marlins twitter crap off the UM homepage it would be a win/win!!

How about someone cook us up a recruiting article?

I normally like your stuff a lot Manny, but this has some false facts. Shannon beat Oklahoma in 2009, another ranked team. Golden was technically already dealing with sanctions for the Maryland loss last year. I don't think anyone believes Miami loses that game if they were full strength instead of all the players being suspended. Davis took a team that played for a national title in 1994 and started 1-3 in 1995. Only the easy back-ended Big East schedule helped him to win out that year.

You of all people should know, what with your excellent take down recap post of the entire Shannon era two years ago, just how bad things got under Coker and then Shannon. The talent level of this team is already at near sanctions levels.

If Miami wins the division, but loses handily to FSU or Clemson in Charlotte, is that enough to contend Golden is on the right track? What if Miami loses tonight to VT, but finishes 3-1, and looks great in the final three games (Offense/Defense/Special Teams all finally clicking together)?

I agree its time for goldens team to start wining. I also agree with anton.

An interesting perspective, Manny...Appreciate it and hope the comparison with Shannon and Golden is incorrect in terms of like ly outcome.

In the meantime, Go Canes! Beat the Hokies tonight!

Stop Logan Thomas.

Morris et al have a strong breakout game! Come on young D! Go Duke, take it to the house!

See you at Sun Life fellow Canes! Let's rock 'em!

The sad part about this is that Shannon was the only one to sniff out and stand up to this snitching coward while being undermined the whole time and got fired. The new coach comes along and gets an extension because he had to coach and recruit whith sanctions looming. No one else had any sense to do anything about it but Shannon. Manny could you write some articles about how dumb the administration is for creating this mess.

I don't mind Golden working on the offense. He's the head coach and he's accountable in the end.

Posted by: Canesjunkie | November 01, 2012 at 04:27 PM

I don't think i need to say this, but of all the units goldie needs to be working with, we al know what side of the ball that is. The offensive side will take care of itself.

This article is a good talking point article. goldie is more closer to butch davis when it comes to having talent to work with but not winning with it.

Last year, us losing to the turtles had more to do with coaching than it did with anything else. We had more than enuff talent to beat the turtles, the problem, like this year, is this for those "wise owls" who like to say all that matters is the score at the end of the game when it comes to defense.

That's false, because a defenses job is not only to stop the other team from scoring but also to get the ball back for the offense as often as possible, because the more offensive possesions we get, the more chances we'll have to score. When you let teams march up and down the field on you all game long, this is where giving up all these yards on defense hurts our offense the most, it limits the amount of offensive possesions our offense gets, so it'll always be hard for them to get into a zone if they can't get the ball back on time.

The turtles just kept the clock running and shortened up the game and came out with the victory. We are not only fools gold to our own fans in wins, but in losses we're even fools gold to our opponents, because if they beat us, they think they have a stronger team than they actually do, that's how the turtles ended up going 2 & 10 last year. So the troublesome part to that is, how did we lose that game, should've been an easy victory.

The rest of this schedule is easy, no way we should win out, but it's all on the coaching once again as usual. To many times we're hearing excuses about "we don't have the depth" so i guess NC St. has more depth than us that's how they beat Fsu.

How do we have depth issues against Fsu when we were only down by 3 points going into the 4th quarter. 3 of those points handed to em by the defensive scheme. I didn't hear about our depth issues after the 4 victores over garbage teams.

We beat a Georgia tech team that had a garbage d-co, we beat a boston college teams that has a garbage d-co, we struggled with BETHUNE COOKMAN more than the previous 2 schools mentioned and than we beat NC St., nothng special. Looked like trash against those ranked teams, barely made em sweat and that's more of the problem than the over hyped victories we have against garbage teams.

The problem i got with coach goldie, and i like his approach here, but after we beat Georgia tech, he's trying to annouce to the college football world about how good Georgia tech is, same thing with boston college and the same thing with NC St. So the question is, does goldie really understands and knows what a good team really is, he doesn't give me any confidence he does in that department right now. Right now, i know art kehoe is making sure he continues to help raised the bar for what a championship unit should look like.

This o-line is not playing bad ball, i'm not sure what these evaluators are seeing but the o-line has been getting the job done definitely in pass blocking, just haven't been consistent in run blocking for several reasons, the play-calling doesn't stick with it,, and, the type of runs. We normall get more yards with mike james running the ball when maurice is out their blocking for em.

What about the team's experience level relative to the Davis and Schnellenberger teams? This team seems much younger. Also, Davis was a Jimmy Johnson guy so the transition to Davis was less disruptive to the players than the Golden transition.

Also, those Miami teams were somewhat unique with the types of players they fielded and the offensive and defensive schemes. Other teams have copied and improved upon the Miami model.

So, I'm not sure what advantages Miami has to get back on top in a short period of time.

The sad part about this is that Shannon was the only one to sniff out and stand up to this snitching coward while being undermined the whole time and got fired. The new coach comes along and gets an extension because he had to coach and recruit whith sanctions looming. No one else had any sense to do anything about it but Shannon. Manny could you write some articles about how dumb the administration is for creating this mess.

Posted by: Tallycane | November 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM

Spoken like a True Cane. This administration handcuffed shannon from the time he got hired. Those of us who know, know why. All shannon had to do was hire an decent oc, which really was one of the last moves he needed to make, because, and just of his hires, they normally were always and upgrade over who he fired. So had shannon be given the opportunity to hire an oc and keep the program going forward. it would've been hard for UM to justify getting rid of shannon.

So nipple(double agent) was planted into the equation, hired by the administration to help cause loses and help to get rid of shannon. shannon wasn't kiss!

Manny your comparison is not valid..

How many players did Shannon have that had to sit out games through supsensions?..How many key players did he have that left for the NFL early?.
How many freshmen did Shannon have to build a competitive team around?.
Finally how many players did Shannon have with depth on our team that he could have a full rotation going at any point of the game?.

An attorney could tear your argument apart because you are not comparing apples to apples.
You are quoting stats, and as everyone knows you can juggle numbers and create anything that you would like to bolster your argument.

So let's level the playing field here and look at the total picture, not snatches of thought to fill out your picture .

Finally did Shannon use his BEST players in games or did he play favorites with some very talented players in and out of his doghouse?. The development of players last years spoke volumes.

I totally disagree with you because Coach Golden could never reload, he had to REBUILD and Coach up Freshmen which is a World of difference.
Go 'Canes Always

Calvin, Shannon hired Whipple.

"So Shannon spent much of the past month searching for someone he'd be in sync with, and ultimately decided on Whipple, whose reputation in the college game was an impressive one."

"Aside from being innovative at his craft, Mark is a tremendous individual who will positively impact our student-athletes on and off the field," Shannon said."

My question to you stands unanswered. If Randy Shannon failed because he was a first year head coach (debunked by Fisher and Muschamp) and because he couldn't hire expensive coordinators, how did Miami go to 11 championship games without hiring expensive coordinators?

I'll leave you to grasp at straws and try to justify your complete nonsense argument, I'm off to the game!

While Shannon was coaching vtech was never this bad and unc was eligible to win the division. Here you all go again with this player development. Does Jaquan Jerret count as player development?

Numbers don't lie!

Hiring Golden was a lateral move. We should have kept Shannon.

He would have gotten right by now.

Different players different times. Apples and oranges

I have finally be vindicated.....excellent article Manny. The real issue is Goldens stats do not indicate that he can be a Davis/erickson or Jimmy. I say he cant bring Miami to BCS status because he was really mediocre at temple when you look at his record and game stats. I think he is limited with both experience and knowlege. it shows in the stats now and in his past. the best path to success is with the staff..our coaching staff is weak...plain and simple compared to ND or FSU etc. Replace the DC/OC. Both dont want to be here anyways...who are they kidding. Golden needs to save his career as well....his stock has dropped no doubt....personally I dont think if he left Miami he would get hired...so make the easy choices and clean out the staff first. Then focus on recruiting for next year. Got to find "diamonds in the ruff" NATIONWIDE....forget even going after the top south florida guys...dont waste your time....in the end they arnt comming. The legacy of the U is done...use the campus/weather/city as the lure...build upon that. You cant recruit guys with the old stuff if they were not even born then..it wont work

I feel good about the team tonight. I'm supporting Golden, win or lose. I don't think he can be evaluated until after 3 years.

I agree, Junk. There is no true way to really evaluate a coach in a rebuilding project until year 3 to year 4 when they have the program pretty much geared to what they are wanting to do. Really that evaluation is dependent upon whether there are penalites or not. If there are then the time would need to be extended. The look of the team's body language and effort on everyplay is the true indication that Golden has the team far ahead of his two predessesors. Canes rock the house.

I disagreechamps with the 3 years as a general rule. I believe it depends on the players inherited by the new coach. Now in Golden's case, I'm glad he is willing to stick it out. With the ncaa looming, I'm hoping he can give stability to the program. Something Shannon could not do, constantly hiring coordinators. Maybe Golden should make a new hire on def. I believe Golden WILL turn us around, his recruiting efforts show promise. Something we haven't had for many years.

Who are these idiots calling the game, they need to STFU! Keep talking like smo was the full-time starter last year, saying "he has so much more control of the offense this year".

Once again they knew the middle of the field was going to be wide open for logan thomas and the sea just parted wide open, lol. Great job knowing down and distance and when you're being set up.

I had a feeling deon bush was going to eventually get hurt, that man gives it up for the team, lol. For the rest of the year i just wanted that man to stay healthy and get bigger for next year, cause he's out their playing like he's bigger than what he actually is. Laying it all on the line for your teammates. I know jamal carter has got to be saying, man, one of them spots in that secondary mines. If he can come in and play at least to the level of deon bush, we'll have 2 nasty safeties.

I like seeing jimmy johnson being frustrated on the sidelines watching that offensive series in the redzone, i know in his mind he's thinking, "next time i get al on my boat, i'm going to let em know, look, you and you need to tell your oc, enuff with all this cute stuff in the redzone and take hold and let it be known that this is where were going to prove we're a physical team".

2 trips in the redzone and we keep wasting the 1st 2 plays on offense.

I think deon bush either fractured his collarbone or got a real bad pinched nerve.

This staff continues to abandon the run, why is mike james not getting any carries. Whoever is in charge of rotating the runningbacks is doing a terrible job. Than when they bring in mike james, who's calling for the toss sweep with him running the ball.

I know one thing, these coaches need to settle down, one of the most anxious coaching staffs i've ever seen. You can tell by the way the play calling has gone the last few games, this coaching staff is feeling the heat, that's why they're calling stuff that doesn't make sense!

Article is wrong. Butch coached in 95, and the 94 team did go 11-1 and lost to NEB in Orange Bowl, Neb won nat title. So he had a loaded team even though sanctions hit. He finally, in 99, went 9-4(4 years later PEOPLE) by playin fresh like goldie is doing.
Schnellie lost 4 games the year b4 we won the Nat title.
Jimmy lost 5 gmaes his 1st year. BUT, GOLDEN HAS 30 something fresh or soph playing in the 2 deep. Not since Butch in 96/97(bad lean years) did we do this.

Shannon sat ARthur brown who is now 1 of the top LB;s at KST in the nation, played favorites, and didnt build the team. AND, 7 juniors all left too early last yr. Vernon, 3rd round, lamar miller, brandon washington ,streeter. I mean, You add those 6-7 guys and its a better team
3 of 4 losses were to top 9 CURRENT BCS RANKED TEAMS. KST Is #2, ND is #3, FSU #9. 4th loss was by 4 pts where we could have won late if Morris had not got hurt.

If we lost to bos college, and bethune, I understand. BUT 3 losses , 2 are current top 3 ranked, and 3rd is #9. THATS THE TOUGHEST SCHEDULE IN NATION, pLAYING 3 of top 9 teams

Jim gallo......canes win.....you have been unvindicated.....haha.....troll.....

Like I said, we win out. 8-4, lose to FSU again (unfortunately), then win a mediocre bowl game for a 9-5 record. Not bad Coach!

GAllow Jim where are you???

Calling Little Jimmie Gallow?

Lost and Found....

Gallow is around but lost as always...same post same script....All F****** U*

Guaranteed you will not hear from him....
Go 'Canes Always

Good Morning CanesFans Faithful, First off...

-Good win.

-I'm ashamed of the Miami crowd that showed up. Pathetic. Even the student section was poor. I understand that it's a school night and there's classes tomorrow but this again shows that Joe Robbie stadium is too far even for the students to attend all the games. The OB was better on every level in comparison to Joe Robbie except in regards to the bathrooms. Ya, they were pretty bad back at the OB but no one really cared because everyone was going nuts in the stands anyways. The OB was our 12th Man.

-DLine stepped up in a major way last night especially with the reemergence of Curtis Porter. Can't wait for him to be in full condition. He has been sorely missed. But my complaint with the defense lies with the DBs. Once again Coach No D has not taken any heed to what the NFL SCOUTS REPORT said in regards to playing more aggressive man to man coverage. Miami had 15 1stDowns while VT had 24. The majority of those came from WRs that were completely WIDE OPEN since our defensive schemes are setup in such a way as to play no less than 8-9yds off all opposing WRs. It equates to almost 2 pass plays, on average, to make a 1stDown. "Here's your sign."

-Morris needs to work on his touch big time. He has all the power in the world but continues to either put too much or far to little on his short passes. There was one play where Duke Johnson ran left to the flat for a pass and Morris practically threw the ball at his feet and couldn't get it. Had the ball been a foot higher it would have equaled a Long TD for Duke with nothing but air in front of him. I honestly would like to see Golden re-open the QB competition this upcoming spring going into next season. I think it would be very interesting.

-I really would appreciate, for the Love of God, that Fisch will stop running the sideline to sideline run plays to the short side of the field. "Can you do that for us, Fisch, can U???"

Other than that, alot of players stepped up and really contributed and held containment on Logan, (minus one long run for VT's only TD).

My Canes should be proud of themselves holding VT to only one TD and containing VT's only real threat on offense. WAY TO GO CANES!!!!

GO U!!

""Golden lost his first game to what turned out to be a 2-10 Maryland team last year.""

This is a factual statement yet is missing all of the filling. In this portion of the statement there is no stating whatsoever that the Canes were just hit with a scandal and 9 players, 7 of which were starters, were suspended literally moments before the game took place. Out of those 7 starters, 5 were on defense and 2 on offense. Players were moved around and forced to play positions that they had not prepared themselves for. Had a full Hurricane squad stepped out onto that field that night, the score would have gone the other way. If a fact is going to be stated, then state the entire fact. Otherwise the individual writing such an article is only stating what they want others to hear instead of what they should know. Facts are facts so give them or don't.

C'mon Manny. I gave you props the other day and now we're going back to this???


U crack me up man!!! Great game, I'll take it!! The Coastal belongs to THE U!!!


Way to tell it like it is DOM! I dont get these RS apologists! Lazy dude man! Lived off the NW haul and hardly any of those players were developed by HIS staff! No recruiting relationships built locally ! Didnt even recruit the kid at Dwyer -Brissett! Golden almost got him with 3 weeks worth of effort! Said it before if RS was such a hot commodity why is he a position coach and not even a coordinator!

Sorry I'm so late to the party Manny. Outstanding work. Very, very good. Thank you for writing what I've been trying to say it looks like to me.

Thanks for what you've. This really is the most effective submit I’ve read

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