November 09, 2015

Larry Scott on Stacy Coley, recruiting, UNC and being a father figure -- and info for Georgia Tech game


Before we get to Larry Scott, UM fans probably won’t love this news, but the final home game against Georgia Tech has been set for 12:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Sun Life Stadium, as announced this afternoon by the Atlantic Coast Conference.

 Does a breakfast tailgate interest you at all?

 Thought not.

 How about breakfast with some Mimosas?

 The game will be televised by the ACC Network, which means it will be televised by a local TV network. We don’t know which one yet.

 ***Congratulations to Larry Scott, who is 2-0 as the Hurricanes’ interim head coach. I enjoy what he has to say, but am really interested in what product he’ll put out there Saturday at Chapel Hill against a formidable Tar Heels team.

   The Tar Heels just took the Duke team UM barely beat and demolished it. It is ranked among the Top-15 nationally in passing efficiency, scoring offense, passing yards allowed, team passing efficiency defense and third-down conversion percentage.

   UNC, however, is 113th in the nation in rushing defense and 119th in punting.

  Scott made his weekly audio visit Monday morning to 560 WQAM for an interview with host Joe Rose.

  Here are some of the things he talked about with Rose:

Stacy coley

   ***On wide receiver Stacy Coley, who had his second 100-plus-yard game with seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown against Virginia: “…[He’s] just continuing to mature and grow up and understand that once work ethic, once preparation meets talent, that’s when you reach your full potential and become the player you should be. It starts at the beg of the week – ‘What are the details, what are the finer points that I need to make sure that I’m on top of on a daily basis to be the player I need to be on game day?’ Finally with him that switch is starting to turn on. He’s preparing, he’s watching film, he’s taking care of his body. He’s doing all the little things right on and off the field, and that’s allowing his talent and his preparation to come together at one time. We’re seeing some of the benefits of that. We just have to keep him going in the same direction.”

 ***On recruiting at this point of the season: “Right now you have to proceed as business as usual. You want to hold on to the guys that we feel are good enough to be in our program as people and as players. It’s part of your job and that hasn’t changed. The University of Miami has a great product to offer young people, so right now that’s what you go out and sell – the opportunity to go out and get a great education and the opportunity to play for one of the most tradition-rich programs in the country. You sell it with passion and you sell it with everything you have in you and continue to build the program. That’s what we do everyday. That’s our job.”

    Note that Sunday night, Columbus three-star senior defensive end Josh Uche went on Twitter to announce his decommitment from the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class

   “With the recent coaching change at the University of Miami and the uncertainty of the future, I would like to de-commit at this time,’’ Uche tweeted. “I would like to explore other options and when a new head coach at Miami is named, my family and I will reevaluate the situation.’’

 ***On being a father figure and counselor of sorts the past two weeks in the aftermath of turmoil: “As a coach, when you get into this business, if you’re in it for the right reason, you wear all of those hats constantly around the clock all the time. You have to embrace that part of what we do and love that part. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about developing these young people holistically all across the board in every aspect of their lives… to help them understand that far before you get to the field, if you’re right  in your heart and right in your mind and you’re doing all the right things and you understand that life is going to throw you curve balls, it’s how you respond to it all is what makes you go out and play the game the way you should play the game… Because [then] you don’t carry those things with you on the field if you’re doing it right off the field.

  “The biggest piece to it is making sure you have these young people’s hearts and you’ll get what you want from them on the field.’’


November 07, 2015

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya cleared and expected to start today against Virginia

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Very good news for the Miami Hurricanes.

Quarterback Brad Kaaya, who sustained a concussion against Clemson two weeks ago, has been cleared to play and is expected to start at 3 p.m. against Virginia at Sun Life Stadium.

Backup QB Malik Rosier is also good to go today, in case needed. Rosier did a great job last week at Duke in his first career start.

Kaaya has completed 140 of 229 passes for 1,846 yards and 10 touchdowns, with two interceptions.

Rosier has completed 29 of 57 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns, with three picks. 

The Cavaliers (3-5, 2-2) are ranked 88th nationally in passing yards allowed (allowing an average of 248.9 yards a game) and ranked 118th in team passing efficiency defense.

The Virginia defense has one interception this season.


Here's how the Hurricanes can win the Coastal Division -- and meet Clemson or FSU in the ACC Championship

   The Hurricanes must continue winning, with four games left in the regular season, to stay alive in the Coastal Division race of the ACC.

   “That has always been our goal from Day One,’’ UM interim coach Larry Scott said this week. “That will continue to be our focus each and every week.’’

   To win the Coastal, which would catapult Miami into its first ACC title game against the winner of the Atlantic Division, the Hurricanes would have to defeat Virginia, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech at home and Pittsburgh on the road the day after Thanksgiving.

   UM also needs UNC (7-1, 4-0) to lose one game – Saturday to Duke (6-2, 3-1) in Chapel Hill would be advantageous; and Duke to lose one more afterward.

   That would establish a three-way, first-place tie in the Coastal, and Miami would prevail because of head-to-head wins.

   By the way, can you even begin to imagine if UM pulls off the unexpected and wins the Coastal? That would mean a rematch against Clemson or Florida State.

  Can you imagine?

   But even if Miami’s dream scenario doesn’t materialize, a win against Virginia Saturday would qualify the Hurricanes for a bowl game.


November 06, 2015

"Our student-athletes played their hearts out and won the game fairly...''

Yesterday, University of Miami athletic director Blake James wrote a letter to Miami season-ticket holders and Hurricane Club members regarding the highly criticized Miami victory against Duke, saying, in part, that UM submitted to the ACC "the plays we believed were incorrectly called as a matter of weekly protocol, and were notified by the league that multiple incorrect calls impacting our team occurred during the game, including a pass interference call on the final drive.''

Today, new University of Miami president Julio Frenk put the cherry on top with his own letter to the "University of Miami Community.''

A Message from President Julio Frenk: November 6, 2015

The two most striking paragraphs:

"As one of the newest members of the U family, I was deeply touched by the passionate and hard-won victory of our team against Duke University last Saturday in North Carolina. This is a team that in recent days experienced great adversity. They came together in a united and inspired effort to face these challenges head on. Our student-athletes played their hearts out and won the game fairly with a spectacular play that showed their commitment to winning to the very final seconds.

"In the aftermath of the controversy related to the officiating of the game against Duke, I wish to express my disappointment with statements that question the legitimacy of our victory. Let me be clear: Both teams fought hard and at the highest levels of competition, and in the the University of Miami won.''

 It's Alumni Weekend and Homecoming Saturday tomorrow for the 3 p.m. kickoff. Will be interested in seeing how many fans show their support after a very tough couple of weeks for the Hurricanes.

 In closing, check out this video UM produced on the Duke game and the moments leading to it and after it. Very touching.


November 04, 2015

Canes offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu is loud, happy and has perfected the art of scoring TDs



    All the talk following the UM-Duke game revolved around one play that will live forever, but all the pandemonium, excitement and controversy over the eight-lateral kick return for a game-winning touchdown as time expired has had many forget another key touchdown from a very unlikely source.

   That is, of course, 6-8, 318-pound offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu's fumble recovery in the end zone in the second quarter that helped the Hurricanes jump out to an early lead. It was story time with Sunny on Greentree Practice Fields on Wednesday as he took reporters through the entire sequence.

   Here's how it all went down through the eyes of Odogwu:

   ***"I always try to run to the ball and run to where the ball is on every play. After my block, I pushed my guy outside, so I saw lots of piles, everyone was laying down.

  ***"Then I turn around and I saw something brown roll out, and I'm like, 'Oh crap. That's not someone's leg. That's the ball. So I've got to go get it.'

   ***"I dove to the ball, so I ran to the ball and dragged it to me. -"I was just there to secure the ball, but then Kc McDermott started yelling in my ear, 'Sunny, you scored a touchdown. It's a touchdown.' I was like, 'HUH?!'

   ***The Duke guy, No. 48 [Deion Williams] was trying to put his hands to drag the ball. I was like, 'Dude, there is no way you're going to get the ball from me. There is no shot!'

   ***"I stood up with the ball. When everyone was screaming 'Touchdown!' I was like, 'Now what do I do with the ball? I do not know what to do with the ball. You know, I'm going to just do [Patriots tight end Rob] Gronkowski, spike the ball. Of course, that was the first thing that came to my mind. Nick Linder was like, 'Sunny, don't spike it! Penalty!'  I was like, 'Oh, OK. So what do I do with the ball now? Do I spin it? Do I throw it up?' I handed it to the ref, walked to the sideline and went on to the next play."

  It's not the first time Odogwu has scored points in a game. In high school, he doubled as a kicker/punter and scored on field goals. He has also played soccer. Odogwu says he was 3 for 3 on field goals as a kicker, and when punting, would just punt for distance.


November 03, 2015

Fired up Canes: Brad Kaaya back at practice, still going through concussion protocol

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The Canes are fired up.

 They returned to Greentree Field for practice today, and they were loud and motivated and just plain fiery from the moment they ran out of the facility onto the field.

 Can’t blame them. They’re the team everybody is talking about, but as has been the case in one way or another for many years, not in the most complimentary way.

 I’m thinking UM (5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) going to take their new-found energy and channel it into the Virginia (3-5, 2-2)game Saturday – 3 p.m. and broadcast on the ACC Regional Network.

 As for this morning, Brad Kaaya was back, taking snaps with the first team. However, he is still going through UM’s strict concussion protocol, a series of steps that must be undertaken before Kaaya can play again. Some of that includes going through a practice with contact. We were told by UM that he has not been cleared to play yet, but I’m guessing he will be by the end of the week.

 Quarterback Malik Rosier, who put on a super performance Saturday in his first career start (20 of 29 for 272 yards, two touchdowns, with one interception), was out there, too. I can’t say for sure whether he was limited or not today. But as we were told Sunday by UM, Rosier stayed overnight after the game because he “sustained an injury during the game. In the abundance of caution,” a UM spokesman wrote in an email to media members, “he was evaluated in Durham before returning to Miami.

     “He has been released and will continue to be evaluated by our doctors.’’

   I was on the same flight into Fort Lauderdale with Rosier, who was accompanied by head trainer Vinny Scavo and team physician Lee Kaplan.

    Rosier was tired, naturally, and slept on the way home. Otherwise, he looked fine. He told us after the game that he had the wind knocked out of him.


November 02, 2015

Jermaine Grace and Corn Elder earn ACC Player of the Week honors after impressive performances


Congratulations to Corn Elder and Jermaine Grace, both recipients of ACC Player of the Week honors, announced by the conference on Monday afternoon. 


The ACC Players of the Week, in case you're wondering, are selected by a 14-member media panel.

Elder, a junior out of Nashville, Tennessee, scored the winning touchdown in UM's 30-27 victory Saturday against Duke. He was on the receiving end and the final person to touch the ball in the now famous eight-man lateral that won the game for the Hurricanes. He was named as the specialist of the week.

Elder's kickoff return, officially 75 yards but much longer than that as the Canes kept weaving back and forth to keep the play alive, is the only player in college football this season to record an interception, punt return for a touchdown and kickoff return for a touchdown.

Grace, a junior from Miami Gardens, was, as the ACC wrote in its release, a "one-man wrecking crew Saturday'' as he totaled a career-high 17 tackles at Duke. Grace also forced a fumble. Grace is the starting weak-side linebacker for the Canes. He was the ACC linebacker of the week. 

Both Elder and Grace are super players and very nice young men.


UM and Adidas unveil new all-black 'Military Appreciation Day' Alternate Football Uniforms



The Hurricanes and Adidas on Monday unveiled another alternate uniform to be worn this Saturday when the Canes host Virginia at 3 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium.

Designed in collaboration with the UM athletic department, the special edition uniforms "pay homage to the U.S. military and creates a bold new alternate look for the Hurricanes,'' according to a UM news release.


Here's most of what the release says:


To honor those who have served and currently serve our country, players will don a camouflage TECHFIT baselayer with an oversized metallic silver “U” overlaid on top of it, khaki socks and camouflage adizero 5-Star 4.0 gloves that all incorporate the colors of U.S. Army Delta Force uniforms. Prominently featuring an oversized metallic silver “U” logo, the adizero 5-Star 4.0 gloves feature 4-way stretch mesh for compression fit and GripTack 2.0 for consistent control in all weather conditions.


Accenting the camouflage theme, the helmet, jersey and pants are a bold black and feature metallic silver oversized “U” logos on the shoulder pads, pants and helmet.  The jerseys are highlighted with player numbers in the Hurricanes’ signature orange colorway and outlined with metallic silver. Additionally, the pants feature metallic silver striping on the right leg that incorporates hurricane style cuts and patterns, while left leg features “Miami’ in oversized metallic silver text. To cap off the look, the “Canes” moniker is strategically placed across the chest in metallic silver with orange outlines.

To complete the military homage, the Hurricanes will debut the new Delta Force inspired Dark Ops 2016 adizero 5-Star 5.0 x KEVLAR® and 2016 Freak x KEVLAR® cleats, constructed from a durable, flexible canvas – similar to military accessories and footwear. Embroidered stripes pay tribute to the insignia found on elite forces uniforms, and stitching reinforced with KEVLAR® provides durability and strength.  The 5-STAR FRAME, featuring a KEVLAR® reinforced plate, is the optimum blend of lightweight, strength and traction.

Further honoring our nation’s active duty members and veterans, the University of Miami has partnered with the Miami VA Fisher House to host honorary captains and provide 1,000 free tickets to veterans and current members of the military. Additionally, the Hurricanes will and donate game worn jerseys and helmets to be auctioned with proceeds benefiting the Miami VA Healthcare System.



The last time UM unveiled an alternate uniform was the all-white "305 Ice'' unis for the road game against Cincinnati. UM lost that game, but I thought those unis were cool. 

Maybe all-black will bring a different result.

Check out the Adidas info here.



November 01, 2015

Does anyone have any aspirin? And congratulations to the Miami Hurricanes.

Completely amazed.

I have covered this Hurricanes football team as an occasional backup, full-time backup or beat writer since Butch Davis took over in 1995.

I covered the double-overtime national championship game against Ohio State.

I covered UM's national title win against Nebraska in the 2001 season.

I've seen several overtime games and several just plain crazy games.

But I've never seen anything as crazy as I witnessed tonight on that last, breathtaking play.

There are photos that Mark Walton's knee touched the ground, and others saying there was a UM block in the back at the 15-

yard line on the final play, but after nearly 10 minutes of discussion on the sideline by officials, they called it a touchdown -- and there's no turning back once that's done.

They can suspend the officials, they can demand an apology from the league, but there's nothing the Duke Blue Devils can do to reverse the result.

And for now, I'm just happy for Artie Burns, a prince of a kid, and for quarterback Malik Rosier (what a debut starting performance) and for the defense that produced that early goal-line stand and might have saved the Canes' season. I'm happy for interim coach Larry Scott -- and for the entire UM team.

After so much misery this past week, it's nice something good happened for them.

And now, at 1:30 a.m., and only because we just turned back the clock, I'm heading to my car. 

Good night.




October 31, 2015

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes at Duke Blue Devils

Live Blog Miami Hurricanes at Duke Blue Devils: Oct. 31, 2015

Game Day. What do you think? Is it possible? My take today on Miami Hurricanes at Duke.

Durham, N.C. -
- So, we know that Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya (concussion) is back home in Miami today as the Canes take on No. 22 Duke at 7 p.m. (ESPNU).

And I was told by a source Thursday night, at the same time that I learned the Kaaya news, that UM's top receiver Rashawn Scott (seen in photo above, No. 11) wasn't expected to travel to North Carolina, either. But I haven't confirmed that he isn't here, so we'll see. 

Scott wasn't even put on the injury report, which is strange if he didn't travel and it's due to an upper body (possible shoulder) injury, which he did sustain at Clemson. Again, won't know for sure his status until later.

But even if Scott didn't travel, that is not necessarily a major factor as to whether the Canes win or lose today. Kaaya gone? That is a major factor.

 This Duke team (6-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is not the Duke I used to write about when the Canes were winning Big East and national championships.

This Duke team has a top-10 nationally ranked (according to statistics) defense in several categories: total defense (281.3 yards allowed per game), passing yards allowed (151 yards allowed per game), scoring defense (14.1 points allowed per game) and third-down conversion percentage defense (not something the third-down plagued Canes want to hear) among them.

Duke safety Jeremy Cash, who went to Plantation High, was recruited by Miami but opted to go out of state, is second nationally in tackles for loss.

 The Blue Devils also have a quarterback in Thomas Sirk who leads his team in passing and rushing -- and the Canes have not done well against running quarterbacks over the past several years.

 In the kicking game, Miami has Michael Badgley No. 1 in the nation in field goals per game (great that Badgley has been dominant, bad that he has been used as often as he has been), and Duke has the No. 3 man in in Ross Martin.

  Among punters, the Canes are strong with Justin Vogel, ranked 20th nationally and third in the ACC with his 44.6-yard average. He also has put 13 punts inside the 20-yard line.

  Duke's punter Will Monday has fared even better, ranked ninth nationally with his 45.6-yard punting average.

  This Duke team also has an excellent coach in David Cutcliffe, the 2013 National Coach of the Year who has brought the Blue Devils back from a 4-8 record in 2008 to ACC champs in 2013 and a 9-4 record in 2014.

  With Al Golden gone, tight ends coach Larry Scott has taken over at Miami as interim head coach, but what an uphill challenge he has in these last five games beginning with Duke -- all of them Coastal Division games.

 Last night, Duke was favored by 13 points.

 The Blue Devils have not played as tough a schedule as Miami. The Dukies have played at Tulane, North Carolina Central, Northwestern (their only loss), Georgia Tech, Boston College, at Army and at Virginia Tech (Duke won last week 45-43 in four overtimes; Miami beat VT at Sun Life Stadium two weeks ago 30-20). 

  So, the question is, can the Canes overcome all the turmoil from this past week, from this season, to win one, as the players are saying, for Golden, for cornerback Artie Burns (whose mother Dana Smith died on Tuesday and for whom Artie is dedicating the game), for themselves?

  With backup quarterback Malik Rosier making his first career start, it will be very difficult. The Canes need to run the ball, which they haven't been able to do the past two games. The offensive line needs to improve in a hurry. The defensive line needs to put pressure on Sirk. And the Canes need to stop getting penalized so much for every reason you can think of, including for unsportsmanlike conduct.

   Can it be done? Yes. But it will take an unbelievable effort, and with what has transpired recently, I can't, in all honesty, see it yet.  

  Maybe these Canes will overcome the odds tonight. For the Hurricanes and their fans, that would be an uplifting, badly needed treat on Halloween.


October 29, 2015

Canes captains for Duke do not include Kaaya -- you know what that means


Judging by the captains for this weekend’s Duke game tweeted out by the Miami Hurricanes’ football feed, Brad Kaaya will not be flinging the ball at Wallace Wade Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday.

But we've figured Kaaya probably wouldn't play for days now.

However, he will be listed as questionable on the injury report by UM. Go figure.

The good news: receiver Rashawn Scott is not listed on the injury report.

According to what I've been told, he likely won't even be traveling.

   Given the facts that the Canes’ quarterback sustained the concussion last Saturday in the 58-0 debacle against Clemson, and did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, and still wasn’t able to watch film on Wednesday, according to his roommate and probable starter Malik Rosier, his chances never looked very promising.

   The announced captains: tight end Stan Dobard, safety Dallas Crawford, receiver Herb Waters and cornerback Artie Burns. Burns is playing just four days after his mother, Dana Smith, died at age 44 of a heart attack.

   Also, for those into game-day unis, the Canes are wearing all white Saturday.



October 28, 2015

University of Miami Hurricanes update on Artie Burns, Brad Kaaya and Rashawn Scott

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Miami Hurricanes football update:

*** Cornerback Artie Burns, whose mom died of a heart attack yesterday, inspired the Hurricanes by showing up for practice Wednesday morning. He will travel with the team to Durham, North Carolina, to play Duke at 7 p.m. Saturday. He gave his teammates a huge lift, and they did the same for him.

*** Miami has not made any official announcement, but as we reported today, Brad Kaaya, who has a concussion, is not expected to play against Duke. However, interim coach Larry Scott said UM coaches and those within the program are discussing the possibility of Kaaya traveling with the team if he doesn't play. The cabin pressure on the plane flight might prevent him from going on the trip, as well as other factors obviously. It's a shame the Hurricanes aren't playing at home Saturday, because Kaaya's presence would be a bonus.

*** Top receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder) was back at practice catching some balls today, according to Scott. Receiver Herb Waters said he was doing better and expected him to play, but I'm not so sure about that. Coach Scott isn't being specific about injuries. 

Here's what Scott said today about Kaaya and Rashawn Scott:

"Brad wasn’t able to practice today but he’s doing better. Again, with those things, those are touchy so we’re going to let the doctors handle that day by day but I did have a chance to speak with Brad. He looked great and he sounded great. You have to calm him down because he’s ready to go, and that’s the competitive nature in him.

 "Rashawn was able to get out today, catch some balls and get moving which is part of what’s going on with him, the soreness. That was great to see him out in cleats and a helmet and pads and catching the football. We’re encouraged by Brad, too."

   Will Brad travel?

   Coach Scott: "Even if he can’t play, that’s something we’re talking about and working through and evaluating. We’ll see. We’re hopeful he will, but we’ll see what happens." 







October 27, 2015

Dana Smith: Rest In Peace. GoFundMe set up for Miami Hurricane Artie Burns and his younger brothers.

Can it get any harder for the Hurricanes family?

Dana Smith, the mother of University of Miami star cornerback Artie Burns, died overnight after suffering  a heart attack. Smith was 44.

Smith, like her son Artie, was a former track star at Miami Northwestern and worked as an accountant for a hospitality company.

Last week she told the Miami Herald for an article about Artie that she felt very good about what he and his brothers have achieved.

  "I am so happy and so proud of Artie,'' Smith told me. "Through all the adversity of not having a father here, he's overcome it and has been a positive role model for his family.'' 

   She was an amazing woman, very smart and warm and generous and loving to Artie -- the father of a 1-year-old son -- and his two younger brothers. Smith raised Artie, 20, and brothers Thomas, 15, and Jordan, 12, mostly by herself.

Artie's father is in prison in South Carolina, though the two talk whenever possible.

Safety Dallas Crawford said after Tuesday's practice that at least 15 Hurricanes gathered at the hospital last night to support Artie, who obviously missed practice and according to players is with his grandparents.

"It's a sad situation,'' Crawford, said. "It feels like we haven't gotten good news in a while.'' 

Fellow safety Deon Bush talked about his emotions. 

"I was there last night,'' Bush said. "I can’t tell you how he’s doing right now because I know losing a mom is unimaginable. It hurts. It hurts all of us to see our brother go through that.

 "His mom was like a mom to us. We’re here to support him. It’s crazy."

 Continued Bush: "You’ve got to push through, man. We’ve got to rally for him. We can’t be down because we can’t be negative right now. We’ve got to be positive. We’ve got to rally around him and support him as much as possible. That’s how we’ve got to do it as a team."

  From the Hurricanes:

 UM has established a GoFundMe donation fund to help Artie and his family.

NCAA rules permit an institution to run a fundraiser for student-athletes in catastrophic circumstances. The University of Miami has begun this process for Artie and his family by setting up a GoFundMe page to provide support for funeral, medical, and related expenses.

It is imperative that any member of the Miami community who wishes to donate money to the Burns family follow the procedure above in order to ensure Artie’s eligibility is not put in jeopardy.

Please make sure all money is provided through the GoFundMe page and not given directly to Artie or any member of the Burns family.
As of 5:30 Tuesday the donations had approached $25,000.

Burns has started at cornerback in every game this season and is one of just nine players nationally that has at least five interceptions. The Miami native also is an accomplished track and field athlete. He finished second in the 110m hurdles with a time of 13.70 seconds at the ACC Championships and also competed in the NCAA Championships.

The entire University of Miami family thanks you in advance for your generosity to Artie and the Burns family.



October 26, 2015

Dana Smith, mother of Hurricanes CB Artie Burns, in grave condition in hospital

   Tragic news on the University of Miami football front.

   Dana Smith, the mother of University of Miami star cornerback Artie Burns, is at a local hospital in grave condition, according to someone close to the team.

   UM's football staff was informed that Smith had a heart attack, though that has not been officially confirmed.

    Miami coaches, including former head coach Al Golden, had gathered at the hospital  Monday night.

   Smith, a former track star at Miami Northwestern High, has raised Artie and his two younger brothers, Thomas, 15, and Jordan, 12.

   Thomas, a sophomore football player at Northwestern, has committed to the Hurricanes. 

     Artie Burns is tied for third in the nation with five interceptions.

   His status for the Duke game in Durham, North Carolina, at 7 p.m. Saturday is obviously not known.

   Burns' latest tweet Sunday, after Golden was fired: "Finishing the season strong for coach golden. wise men did a lot for me.''  

   Dana Smith talked to the Miami Herald last week and seemed to beam through the phone about her sons.

  “I am so proud of Artie,’’ Smith said. “Through all the adversity of not having a father, he’s overcome it and has been a positive role model for his family.’’

   Smith said not to assume that her son would turn pro after this season. He is a gifted hurdler who has goals of being in the 2016 Olympics.

   “To do that, he’d have to stay at UM,’’ Smith said. “I’d love for him to get his degree, especially when it’s free.’’

   Facebook friends have been sending out mass prayers.



Butch Davis is interested in becoming UM's next coach, but is UM really interested in him?

Bovada lists him as the favorite.

Former players have said they would love to have him be the Miami Hurricanes head coach again.

But is Butch Davis, 63, really in the running to be UM's next head coach?

Depends on who you ask. 

“Obviously, I’d love to be considered for that opportunity,” Davis said on 790 The Ticket Monday morning. “Time will tell whether that’s the direction the school wants to go.

“I’ve told people many, many times: everything I ever accomplished as a coach has its roots in Miami. When you spend 11 years there, you’ve got an awful lot invested in the community. Hopefully my name will be one that will have an opportunity to be considered.”

Internally we've heard over the years how UM trustees and others with power have rolled their eyes when Davis' name has been tossed around because of how his tenure at North Carolina ended among an NCAA investigation and academic scandal. Davis, who cleaned up Miami and its image in the six years he was in charge, has maintained throughout that he was was never implicated by the NCAA for what happened at UNC and has the letter to prove so. He reiterated that on the radio Monday.

A donor I spoke with after Al Golden was fired Sunday told me trustees have urged athletic director Blake James to seek proof from the NCAA itself that Davis was not implicated if James intended to consider Davis to be UM's next coach.

"Up until this year Butch was always met with 'Yeah, he's not going to come back,'" the donor said. "But now Butch is the only person whose name I've heard in hypotheticals. Last year it was [Mario] Cristobal. I don't know if it's the new president, but I think they're willing to consider Butch now."

The donor said UM ended up eating $7 million by firing Golden on Sunday and not waiting until the end of the season. The buyout, the donor said, would have been about $4 million less had UM waited until after the season. But trustees, not James, the donor said, pushed the issue of firing Golden during Saturday's 58-0 loss to Clemson, the most lopsided in school history.

That said, UM apparently had the money to do it and will have the money to offer its next coach upwards of $4 million a season, the donor said. Golden, who was extended through 2019 after his first season on the job, was making $2.5 million, the 42nd highest annual salary for a head coach in college football according to USA Today.

Only 16 coaches in college football are making $4 million or more a season and only one is in the ACC, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher.

"They know that they have to pay to get a big-time coach," the donor said. "Personally, I don't think they're going to settle for an assistant coach or a MAC project. I think it's going to be Butch, [Greg] Schiano or [Rob] Chudzinski. If they're prepared to spend that much whose to say Cristobal doesn't come back as an assistant or a coach in waiting. It's not going to cost a lot to hire Butch."

James set a precedent last year by doing that for baseball when he named longtime assistant Gino DiMare the coach in waiting once Jim Morris retires after the 2018 season. So, that might not be a stretch.

"I've heard Butch would come back at a significant discount," the donor said. "He made North Carolina relevant instantly. He put kids in the draft. Fans can never say he didn't give them what they wanted. The only downside is his age. But you can address that with Mario."

Now, time will only tell if UM's athletic director is thinking the same way.

"The most important thing is to rally the family," Davis told 790 The Ticket. "We all played for Miami — it doesn’t matter who the head coach was.’ You have to rally the fan base, you have to rally the alums, rally the former players. … There is no school in America, and I don’t care who it is, that has that tight bond. If you were part of that program, you’re a Cane for life."

> Former Hurricanes safety Ed Reed told Rich Eisen on his daily podcast Monday he would "entertain" a phone call from UM about the vacant coaching job if called. Reed has no coaching experience. 

"The NBA did it with Jason Kidd and now I even thought about it," Reed said. "I was like 'I'll even put my name in for a coaching job because it seems like the head coach job is just to manage everybody, manage the game and try to help the offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators make the best decisions. I haven't received a call from a 305 number, just so you know."

Bovada: Butch Davis, Mario Cristobal, Rob Chudzinski the favorites to be Hurricanes next football coach

They're only betting odds. 

But if you want to know who the favorites are to be UM's next football coach, Bovada put them out this afternoon and as expected three former coaches with UM connections are at the top of the list.

> Former Miami and North Carolina coach Butch Davis is the favorite at 7/4

> Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal is at 7/2

> Colts assistant head coach Rob Chudzinski is at 5/1

> Memphis coach Justin Fuente is 11/2

> Marshall head coach Doc Holliday is 8/1

> Former Tampa Buccaneers and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano are 8/1

> Houston coach Tom Herman is 9/1

> LSU associate head coach Frank Wilson is 9/1

> And Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville is 10/1

Hurricanes coaching search shouldn't be hard: make it Mario Cristobal, Butch Davis or Rob Chudzinski

It's time to give the people what they want.

Firing Al Golden was the first move.

Making the right hire -- and having him in place by Dec. 1 -- is the next, more important move.

This doesn't have to take that long either.

The list is pretty short: Mario Cristobal, Butch Davis or Rob Chudzinski.

That's what former players and local coaches were telling me this morning, less than 24 hours after Golden finally got the boot.

They want one of their own.

"I actually got calls from both Butch and Mario last night," newly minted University of Miami Hall of Famer Joaquin Gonzalez said. "They are both extremely interested. I am fortunate to have been coached by both. I think they would both assemble great coaching staffs, do amazing in recruiting, and restore the killer instinct in the program. Maybe there is a possibility where we get both... you never know.

"Butch wants to end his career associated with Miami, still has a lot to give. I would love to see him in some capacity on the new staff, maybe starting as the head coach and then transitioning to AD. The one thing I do know, he will put a great staff together. With Mario here, we would not lose a single recruit we wanted!

"If they bring a no name up and comer, they will be calling for Blake's head! This hire can solidify recruiting, ticket sales, and bring lore back into the program. All that would be left to do is win some damn games!"

And that's ultimately what this all comes down to.

The Hurricanes have been sub-standard for too long. Finding the guy to fix the problem doesn't have to be nearly as complicated as trying to get the players to figure out Mark D'Onofrio's defense.

"Butch or Chudzinski, that simple," former Hurricanes receiver Randal Hill said. "Butch has done it before. He led us through one of the toughest times in UM's history and put the program back on the map. I don't want to hear this stuff about him being responsible for what happened at North Carolina a couple years back. He was cleared of any wrongdoing, has the paperwork to prove it. The NCAA sent him a letter clearing him.

"Chud [currently the Colts associate head coach] is a younger version of Butch. I don't want to hear this stuff about how he wouldn't come back to coach in college because he's been in the NFL too long. They all would come back. They bled for this program. I'm close with both of those guys. Mario would be great too."

Miami Jackson coach Earl Little, who played safety for the Hurricanes, said UM's next coach can't be an outsider. It has to be "100 percent Hurricane."

He said the right fit will lead to immediate winning.

"The players are there," Little said. "Look at the kids who are NFL rookies this year. Talent will always be at The U. We need to get back to UM's 4-3 defense. We need to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball. That's Miami football.

"We need to play with more swagger. It kills me when I see other schools play with more swagger/energy than us. For instance: the Cincinnati game. Those kids look like Miami kids. You know why... their head coach [Tommy Tuberville] was my defensive coordinator at The U."

And that's ultimately the most important part of this next hire.

I'm talking about the coordinators and the assistants.

Golden may have been the 42nd highest paid coach in college football according to USA Today, but his assistants are another story.

I speak to enough people around college football to know the Hurricanes don't pay their assistants very well. I also know how to read.

Look at the list of assistants and where they've come from and the look at where former assistants have moved onto since leaving the program. Other than Jedd Fisch's move into an NFL offensive coordinator position, who else has climbed the ladder? Who else has been plucked from this staff over the last 10 years because they were doing an outstanding job?

I love Tim "Ice" Harris and Kevin Beard, two of the best, most passionate coaches on staff. But both came from local high school programs, and both came cheap. You could make those hires at some of the better programs in the country if you had other great assistants around them. The Hurricanes simply haven't had any.

"I'm with you, I like Mario," said Luther Campbell, Norland's defensive coordinator who knows a thing or two about UM's history and South Florida recruiting.

"They just have to give him enough money to pay coordinators. Mario would bring the same fire that Dan Campbell is bringing to the Dolphins. Plus, he would lock South Florida down."

Golden did an okay job recruiting South Florida. There's only so much an outsider could do with an off-campus stadium, NCAA sanctions and a recent string of losing as background. He tried. But he was never the right fit. His defensive system was never the right fit.

"First of all I want to thank Al Golden for all he has done for the high school coaches in the South Florida area. He did a great job in building tghe important relationships betweeh the U and the high school coaches," said Belen coach Rich Stuart, who became the winningest coach in Miami-Dade history on the same day Golden sustained the biggest loss in UM history.

"With that said, I would love to see Mario Cristobal as the new coach of the Canes."