FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN
As the UM administration stands publicly behind coach Al Golden and his staff, frustration and calls for change grow, behind the scenes, among some Board of Trustee members and donors, some of whom have started to express those views to high-ranking UM officials.
Some feedback from four prominent trustees, who asked that their names not be used:
### All four said Golden is expected to keep his job beyond this season.
Among the reasons: He’s signed through Feb. 1, 2020, and a multi-million dollar buyout would be a major obstacle; athletic director Blake James believes in Golden; there’s a sense of loyalty to Golden for steering UM through the NCAA investigation; and there’s a strong belief that president Donna Shalala would not fire her most visible coach before her May retirement.
“She doesn’t want to leave on a sour note like that,” one of the trustees said. “She’s not going to fire the coach and walk away,” another said. “She’s not going to leave that financial burden on a new president,” another said.
### How much anger is percolating among trustees and donors? “Everybody is very, very upset,” said one trustee. “We would like to see changes.”
Another respected trustee, who advocates defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio’s dismissal, said: “There’s a lot of frustration [among trustees]. And it’s not just with D’Onofrio. There’s also criticism of the defensive backs coach [Paul Williams]. And the criticism is starting to lap over to Golden.”
One trustee said “the donors are unhappy. They’re making noise and the pressure is starting to build on [athletic director] Blake James” to force Golden to make staff changes.
One trustee said he could not envision D’Onofrio being replaced during the season and said James has given no indication whether he would ask Golden to make staff changes after the season. One associate of Golden said that even though they are friends, people should not automatically conclude that Golden would not part ways with D’Onofrio if the problems worsen or persist.
### Could donor and booster pressure force the administration to fire coaches? Two of the trustees said they doubt it.
“One or two donors don’t make a difference, but when you have a lot of them, it’s a problem,” the trustee said, adding he has no indication that it has reached a point of many donors withholding contributions.
### Among the criticisms raised by one trustee: “You expect to see halftime adjustments and the coaches don’t make them. And you don’t see enough development and improvement from enough of our players.”
### Golden still has some trustee supporters.
“The reality is he got handed a bad deal,” said one influential trustee. “I wish people would settle down. He stayed here when he found out we were being investigated. Every coach was recruiting against him during the investigation, and as a result, we don’t have the caliber players we used to. You have to give him a couple more years to fill holes created during probation.”
If a change is eventually made, one trustee said do not look for Butch Davis to get the job. (Former UM player Joaquin Gonzalez said Davis, now with ESPN2, “would take the job in a heartbeat.”)
The trustee said Davis not only angered people with the way he left UM for the Cleveland Browns, but there are serious concerns about his departure from North Carolina under the cloud of an academic misconduct scandal. (Davis wasn’t implicated by the NCAA.)
### Knowshon Moreno said today that trying to carry the ball with a brace on his dislocated elbow "hasn't worked that well," but he wouldn't rule out playing Sunday.
### A Dolphins player said Mike Pouncey again lined up as the first-team right guard for much of practice, with Samson Satele at center. That would be the best way to get Miami's five best linemen on the field, but Satele was still limited somewhat by a fibula injury, which makes the decision more complicated. And Joe Phibin said no final decision has been made about whether Pouncey will play guard or center.
### One criticism from some players (but not Cam Wake) about Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is that he occasionally puts Wake in pass coverage.
So how has Wake done in coverage? Since Coyle became coordinator in 2012, Wake has been targeted 11 times in pass coverage, with seven of those completed for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
Wake said he doesn’t mind: “I love it. I’m elite at everything I do. Nothing is a challenge to me.”
How disciplined is Wake? He said he ate one pastry in Paris this offseason – the first non-fruit dessert he consumed in many years.
### Defensive end Dion Jordan, who had been receiving treatment for a substance abuse problem in California, has returned to South Florida and is doing well and in good spirits, a teammate said. He will return from suspension on Oct. 20.
### Whereas the Vikings are paying Adrian Peterson (facing felony child abuse charges) while on suspension, the Dolphins aren’t paying Derrick Shelby, who was charged with resisting arrest (a misdemeanor), while he serves his team-imposed suspension, a decision which seems rather punitive and arbitrary considering the case hasn't been adjudicated.
One teammate questioned that, adding it’s easy to banish a role player and that the team needs a set policy on arrests to remove any perception about key players being treated differently from others. Joe Philbin said the Dolphins have no arrest policy and that he instead prefers to take it case by case.
### Add Adam LaRoche to the handful of first basemen of interest to the Marlins in free agency. He hit .259 with 26 homers and 92 RBI for Washington. The Nationals are expected to decline a $15 million mutual option.
### Udonis Haslem said Erik Spoelstra hasn’t made any significant changes in the Heat’s defensive approach (gambling, at times, is still permitted) but has made changes offensively.
“There will be a lot more ball movement,” Haslem said. “Everyone can take a page from the Spurs’ playbook. That’s the way we want to play – quick ball movement. But we won’t mention the Spurs. [Coaches] have not and I won’t either.”
### If you didn't hear, former Heat forward Michael Beasley left Memphis Grizzlies camp to sign a lucrative deal in China. He can return to the NBA when his season ends in March.