Miami coach Al Golden has dealt with his share of adversity in his three years with the Hurricanes.
Nine Miami Hurricanes were selected to the 2013 All-ACC Football team by the league’s 14 head coaches, the ACC announced Wednesday.
Miami’s first- and second-team All-ACC selections mirrored those selections made by ACSMA last week. Junior LB Denzel Perryman and graduate P Pat O’Donnell were both named to the first team. Sophomore RB Duke Johnson, senior WR Allen Hurns and senior OG Brandon Linder were named to the second team.
Senior QB Stephen Morris, a third-team All-ACC selection by ACSMA, was named to the coaches’ All-ACC third team and was joined by senior OT Seantrel Henderson, junior C Shane McDermott and freshman specialist Stacy Coley. Henderson, McDermott and Coley were All-ACC honorable mention by ACSMA.
Perryman, who has started all 12 games at linebacker, leads the Hurricanes defense with 104 total tackles – 65 solo stops – along with 5.0 tackles for loss. Perryman, who was honorable mention All-ACC by ACSMA and the league’s coaches in 2012, has tallied 10+ tackles in six games this season.
O’Donnell ranks third nationally with a 47.3 yards-per-punt average, which leads the ACC by nearly 3.0 yards per kick. O’Donnell has 20 punts of 50+ yards to his credit and 17 that have landed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Despite missing the last four games of the season with a fractured ankle, Johnson collected second-team All-ACC honors after rushing for 920 yards and six TDs. He was averaging 115.0 rushing yards per game before his season-ending injury. He averaged 174.1 all-purpose yards per contest.
Hurns is currently enjoying one of the greatest receiving seasons in program history. The senior leads Miami in both receptions (60) and receiving yards (1,138). He is only the fourth player with a 1,000-yard receiving season in school history and 19 yards shy of breaking the school single-season receiving yards mark. Currently, Hurns ranks seventh in Miami history in both career receptions (119) and career receiving yards (1,867) and eighth in career receiving TDs (14).
Linder, a preseason All-ACC selection, helped anchor Miami’s offensive line that paved the way for the Hurricanes to average 446.8 yards of total offense and 35.9 points per game. Miami’s offense scored 40+ points five times in 2013.
Miami’s four third-team selections were led by Morris, who has thrown for 2,868 yards and 21 TDs through 12 games. For the second straight season, Morris has posted four 300-yard passing games. The Miami native ranks third all-time in Miami history with 7,736 passing yards and 49 passing TDs. Morris is the only QB this season to throw a 50+ yard pass in nine different games.
Joining Morris on the third team were Henderson and McDermott, who were part of an offensive line that allowed only 13 sacks in 12 games – tied for the fewest in the ACC. Coley is the only FBS player this season to score a TD four ways: rushing, receiving, punt return and kick return.
No. 25 Miami (9-3) will play No. 18/16 Louisville (11-1) in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28 in Orlando. Tickets, which are priced at $77 and $82, can be purchased through the UM Ticket Office online at CanesTix.com, in-person at BankUnited Center (M-F 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.) or by phone at 1-800-GO-CANES.
Miami is also hosting BankUnited #CanesFest Family Friday Bowl Practice from 5-7 p.m. Friday at Cobb Stadium. Admission is free. Sebastian the Ibis, Miami cheerleaders and the Sunsations will be at practice. Bounce houses will be on site for the kids, who can also take their photo with Santa. The Hurricanes will also be collecting toys for “Toys For Tots”. Fans in attendance will also have the chance to purchase Russell Athletic Bowl tickets.
MIAMI HURRICANES ON 2013 ALL-ACC FOOTBALL TEAM (COACHES)
LB – Denzel Perryman, Jr. (30)
P – Pat O’Donnell, Gr. (31)
RB – Duke Johnson, So. (27)
WR – Allen Hurns, Sr. (17)
G – Brandon Linder, Sr. (19)
QB – Stephen Morris, Sr. (11)
OT – Seantrel Henderson, Sr. (15)
C – Shane McDermott, Jr. (9)
SP – Stacy Coley, Fr. (10)
Nine Canes named to Coaches' All-ACC team
Stephen Morris and Allen Hurns will represent Miami at the East-West Shrine Game next month.
'Canes Stephen Morris, Allen Hurns to East-West game
College football recruiting is far from an exact science. Furthermore, it’s a long-term investment that can’t be properly assessed until well down the road. Today’s 2-star high school safety could be tomorrow’s NFL Draft first-rounder while yesterday is littered with countless 5-star flame-outs.
In 2010, Randy Shannon and the Miami Hurricanes signed what Rivals.com ranked the No. 16 class in the nation. Fresh off a 9-4 season, Shannon and staff reeled in upwards of 30 players—including two last-minute 5-star prospects—and “The U” continued its quest to rebuild.
By year’s end, the Hurricanes stumbled to 7-6, Shannon was let go and Al Golden inherited a roster full of players he didn’t recruit, most of which couldn’t even pass his conditioning test. Months later, a recently departed cornerback spilled the beans regarding a broken culture that included insubordination, immaturity and an affinity for the sticky-icky.
Almost four years later, the 2010 class is wrapping its senior season, having amassed a 29-20 record at Miami with one game left to play. Of the 30 players signed, 13 left the program. As for the remaining 17, some blossomed, others had respectable careers, but way too many simply didn’t pan out, which crushed overall depth.
Golden began cutting what he felt was dead weight five months into his tenure, including three members of the 2010 class—linebacker Kevin Nelson, cornerback Devont’a Davis and linebacker Travis Williams.
Months prior, 5-star athlete and late signee Latwan Anderson hit the road before ever suiting up.
By summer, tight end Andrew Tallman had transferred while defensive tackle Jeffrey Brown was booted soon after being charged with rape. Six players from one ill-fated class all gone within months, not counting defensive tackles Tavadis Glenn and Delmar Taylor, and cornerback Jeremy Davis, who failed to qualify.
This was also the offseason Miami watched running back Storm Johnson transfer to Central Florida. The Georgia product felt that the backfield was “crowded” and was unwilling to fight for the starting job.
A year later, more casualties were made when offensive lineman Jermaine Barton, running back Darion Hall and defensive back Keion Payne left or were sent packing. Tight end Chase Ford was also done after the 2011 season with only two years of eligibility as a JUCO transfer.
Shannon’s 2010 class also hurt Miami due to it’s size versus lack of productivity. The 30-player haul-in threw off the Hurricanes’ numbers, leaving Golden only 16 available slots in 2011.
In 2012, it was another monster haul for Miami with 33 signees; though, the reason was three-fold. The Hurricanes saw 21 scholarship seniors depart the previous December while pending NCAA sanctions and Golden’s in-house clean up left big holes to fill. The Hurricanes simply needed bodies in order to remain competitive.
As 2013 winds to a close, 17 players from Miami’s 2010 recruiting class remain on the roster. Of that group, there are certainly some stand outs who deserve recognition for leaving their mark on the program.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns wrapped the regular season with a nine-reception, 173-yard performance at Pittsburgh. It was Hurns’ sixth 100-yard game of the season, his fourth in a row, and it moved the senior to No. 7 on Miami’s all-time career receiving leaders list, with 1,867 total yards.
Days before Hurns’ record-setting performance, Golden gushed to Fox Sports Florida about his go-to wideout:
Obviously that’s how you build your program around guys like that. A picture’s worth a thousand words. I could sit up here and say this is about process, this is about preparation, about having a great attitude. It’s about studying film.
Or I could say, ‘Just watch him.’ It’s as simple as that. That young man works his tail off. Whatever talent God gave him he honors it with the way he prepares and executes, by the way he practices. He’s cultivated it. He’s a very skilled, young man. He’s done a great job with his hands, he’s unselfish. He’s a great leader for us. Can’t say enough about Allen Hurns.
The Hurricanes also landed and developed a few quality offensive linemen in Brandon Linder, Shane McDermott, Jon Feliciano and Malcolm Bunche; though, the heralded Seantrel Henderson has grossly underachieved.
The 5-star talent originally signed with Southern California, but a coaching change allowed him to look elsewhere. Originally thought to be a huge coup for Miami, Henderson dealt with off-the-field issues the majority of his career.
Once thought to be a first-round lock, the behemoth lineman couldn’t even hold down the left tackle position for the Canes and was relegated to second-string right tackle much of this season.
Quarterback Stephen Morris came on strong as a true freshman, filling in for the injured Jacory Harris late in the season, but didn’t earn the starting job until 2012. Morris threw for 3,345 yards with 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions as a junior but struggled in 2013.
Dealing with a nagging ankle injury and getting accustomed to his third offensive coordinator in four years set the senior gunslinger back.
Outside of that, Miami was left with a handful of role-fillers and under-the-radar guys, which wouldn’t have been an issue had so many of their counterparts panned out.
Tight end Clive Walford, running back Eduardo Clements, fullback Maurice Hagens, safety Kacy Rodgers II and linebackers Jimmy Gaines and Tyrone Cornelius gave their all, but based on the dire “State of The U,” the Hurricanes simply needed more.
While Golden wasn’t able to do much with his first haul-in due to time and circumstance, the tide began to turn in 2012 when a few local superstars pledged their allegiance to the hometown team.
Five-star running back Duke Johnson, 5-star cornerback Tracy Howard and 4-star safety Deon Bush are the types of kids that coaches build foundations upon—which Golden has.
Miami also reeled in Johnson’s teammate, 4-star offensive lineman Ereck Flowers; Howard’s teammate, 4-star wide receiver Malcolm Lewis; and 4-star defensive end Tyriq McCord out of Tampa.
Earlier this year, more 4-star locals stayed home. Cornerback Artie Burns, safety Jamal Carter, linebacker Jermaine Grace and wide receiver Stacy Coley helped boost Golden’s third class.
Golden and staff remain on a recruiting roll with 28 verbal commitments for 2014 and a class that ESPN currently ranks No. 3 in the nation.
Miami is loading up on the defensive side of the ball, especially tackles. Five-star recruit Chad Thomas, 4-star recruit Demetrius Jackson and 4-star recruit Anthony Moten will eventually anchor a line that was pushed all over the field the past few years.
The Hurricanes are also rebuilding the offense line with 4-star talent coming in the form of Reilly Gibbons, Trevor Darling and KC McDermott.
Coordinators, schemes and breakdowns have been the topic de jour this season. When trying to reverse-engineer the “how” and “why” Miami unraveled, the 2010 recruiting class is as good a place as any to start.
Follow Chris Bello on Twitter @allCanesBlog.
Read more Miami Hurricanes Football news on BleacherReport.com
Former Hurricanes QB Vinny Testaverde was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
UM great Vinny Testaverde inducted into college HOF
There is little doubt why Wake Forest hired Dave Clawson. He said it during his introductory press conference on Tuesday, when he mentioned other paragons of football success at academic institutions.
Clawson mentioned Stanford.
He mentioned Northwestern.
He mentioned Vanderbilt.
He did not mention Duke, probably a conscious snub given Wake’s proximity to and rivalry with the school. But he really did not need to give a shout out to the Blue Devils to make his point.
New WF coach Clawson has work ahead
The Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals haven’t faced off since 2006 but could be on track for back-to-back showdowns.
First up is a December 28 matchup in Orlando for the Russell Athletic Bowl. From there, the two could meet again next fall, as early as the season opener.
However it plays out, Miami and Louisville are about to get familiar as Atlantic Coast Conference foes, resulting in some great on-the-field moments and epic recruiting battles.
While a New Year’s Eve bowl in Atlanta against a quality SEC team had a sexier ring to it, taking on Louisville in Orlando is full of pluses, as well.
The Hurricanes have a legitimate shot at the program’s first 10-win campaign since 2003 and can also close out the year with three straight victories—capped with UM’s first postseason success since 2006.
That’s measurable progress, especially considering the depths to which Miami plummeted over the past decade.
Al Golden and staff continue their quest to bring the Hurricanes back to prominence. Half of this month will be spent preparing for the bowl game, while the rest of their time will be dedicated to closing strong on the recruiting front.
According to ESPN, Miami is set to reel in 2014′s third-ranked class, while the current squad is on alert that nothing will come easy this month now that Golden declared every position an open race.
“Guys have ‘spots’ on mediocre teams,” Golden told the Palm Beach Post. ” ‘That’s my spot. Hey, this is my position.’ It’s really not your position. The position is the University of Miami’s position.”
That old-school mentality is in line with the “Decade of Dominance” era Hurricanes. It promotes competition, gets the juices flowing and brings out the best in those ready to lay the foundation for a return to greatness.
It’s also a message to those on-the-fence recruits—come to “The U,” put in the work and earn valuable playing time immediately.
Locking down the “State of Miami” was a recruiting strategy dating back to the Howard Schnellenberger era in the late 1970s. The legendary Hurricanes coach put a fence around the tri-city area—Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties—while going after Florida’s best and then targeting the nation’s elite.
Years of on-the-field struggles loosened Miami’s stranglehold on local talent, with no bigger benefactor the past few seasons than Louisville. Heisman-worthy quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was a product of Miami Northwestern, but trekked to the Bluegrass State.
Originally committed to the Hurricanes with wide receiver and high school teammate Eli Rogers, Bridgewater was swayed to hit the road for various reasons.
Two years later the Cardinals snatched up a few more Miami products who originally appeared to be staying local—linebackers Keith Brown and James Burgess Jr., whose father played for the Canes in the early 1990s.
Louisville currently has 25 players with Sunshine State ties, courtesy of head coach Charlie Strong and assistant Clint Hurtt. The former Florida defensive coordinator coupled with the one-time Miami assistant have been a force on the recruiting front, putting the Cardinals firmly on the map since their arrival.
One immediate way for “The U” to start shutting down the 305-to-502 pipeline (area codes, for those not in the know)—getting it done in a postseason head-to-head matchup. No better sales pitch for shared recruits than showing up prepared in late December, taking care of business and eliminating the stench of Miami’s late-season three-game losing streak.
The combination of the Hurricanes and (most likely) NFL-bound Bridgewater will have all eyes on the Russell Athletic Bowl in a few weeks—lacking in brand name, but chock full of some quality Florida-bred, future NFL talent.
Comparable to Louisville’s postseason last year, much is on the line for Miami in the season finale, and a statement must be made.
It time to come out swinging like the Cardinals against the Florida Gators last January, closing strong and giving the Canes something to build on.
Follow Chris Bello on Twitter @allCanesBlog.
Read more Miami Hurricanes Football news on BleacherReport.com
Miami coach Al Golden was on the road recruiting Sunday night when the Hurricanes accepted an invitation to play in this year’s Russell Athletic Bowl.
Quarterbacks Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, AJ McCarron of Alabama and Jameis Winston of Florida State were all invited to the Heisman ceremony on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Auburn’s Tre Mason and Boston College’s Andre Williams are the running backs.
To continue reading, click here.
Six named Heisman Trophy finalists
Demetrius Jackson, a 4-star defensive end from Booker T. Washington, has decommitted from the Miami Hurricanes, though the team still remains in his top four.
Inside The U, part of the 247Sports network, broke the news on Monday:
Jackson (6’4”, 230 lbs.) isn’t exactly a blue-chipper, ranking all the way down at No. 421 on the 247Sports composite. He’s relatively new to the sport of football, having focused most of his previous attention on basketball, and his skill set is fairly raw.
Still, because of his rangy frame and plus athleticism, Jackson would still be a nice addition to any program’s recruiting haul. Despite placing so low on the overall 247Sports composite, he’s the No. 20 weak-side defensive end, making him relatively valuable in a shallow class at his position.
Miami’s 2014 class does include Chad Thomas (Jackson’s high school teammate) and Trent Harris, the respective Nos. 3 and 14 weak-side ends, so it would be able to stomach the potential loss of Jackson. But with a defense that has struggled so mightily these past few seasons, the Hurricanes could definitely use the depth and upside that Jackson would provide.
Along with Miami in his current top four are Louisville, Arkansas and West Virginia, according to a tweet that Jackson sent out on Monday:
Save maybe Arkansas, none of those programs has quite the allure of The U, but none is a recruiting pushover either. There’s obviously a reason he felt the need to re-open his recruitment, so the ‘Canes need to get back on the trail and remind Jackson why he committed in the first place.
Miami ranks fifth in the current 247Sports team rankings.
Read more Miami Hurricanes Football news on BleacherReport.com
10 Questions: Season in Review
Adam Clarke (Follow on Twitter)
JT Thomson (Follow on Twitter)
Vishnu Parasuraman (Follow on Twitter)
1) On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the Canes season (1 = lowest, 10 = highest)?
Adam: 7. The run to 7-0 was certainly fun, and spending much of the week eagerly anticipating Saturday is great. But by the end of the season, with the defense simply unable to stop anybody, it became very easy to get cynical and frustrated. If we can close with a bowl win and get to 10 wins, I’ll be pleased, but it will not stifle the feeling of blown opportunities. It won’t shake the feeling of opportunities lost this season.
JT: I’m wavering between a seven and an eight. Before the season, a win over Florida, a top 10 showdown with FSU, and a dominant offense would have been a 10. Knowing how it played out is disappointing, and in some ways unforgivable. But I’ll focus big picture and remain optimistic.
Leon: 5, The 2 losses after Florida State are on the head of Al Golden. I’m not going to blame someone who has no business being here after last season(D’onofrio). Al Golden should’ve fired him and gone in a different direction with the defense last year, but his stubbornness cost the Canes 2 losses this year.
Vishnu: 5. The schedule turned out to be a joke, and it would have been really difficult to lose more than 3 games given the opponents. With that said, lower than 5 would imply the team was a disaster, and it wasn’t that. It was basically a flat-line season, where the record improved because the opponents were worse than last year.
2) What was your highlight of the season?
Adam: For me, the best singular moment was the back-to-back plays by Tyriq McCord and Lardarius Gunter late in the 4th against Georgia Tech. McCord absolutely crushing their QB, followed by a Gunter pick-6 sealing what had been a frustrating game, was awesome. And yes I am aware of the irony that my highlight was on the defensive side of the ball.
JT:In a single play? Probably Tyriq McCord’s forced fumble in the 4th quarter against the Florida Gators. At that point, it all but sealed the win over the Gators and was expected to be Al Golden’s biggest win as a head coach ever.
It’s actually rather fitting that the highlight of the season came in Game 2, that the Gators ended up being awful, that the defense never looked better, and the Canes would vault into the top 25.
Leon: Beating Florida for that final time. Yes Florida was terrible this year, but they were at full strength, and that game is most likely the final time UF and Miami will ever meet in a regular season match up.
Vishnu: The North Carolina game. As much as the Florida game was fun, going on the road, losing Dorsett and Duke, with Morris not playing well, and still finding a way to win is the happiest I have been about a Miami win in a long time. This is because it gave us hope that the team was special and could do special things. Of course when the same effort was required to rescue the Wake Forest home game, we realized that the team actually wasn’t good (confirmed with 3 consecutive losses after that). But at least for that one week, we could dream.
3) What was your lowlight of the season?
Adam: The Virginia Tech game. Being there, knowing that (at that point) we held the Coastal firmly in our hands, and blowing it in that way. The weather, the pitiful time of possession, Logan Thomas completing whatever he wanted – that might be the most frustrating game I have ever attended.
JT: The Duke game. There’s no excusing the way we lost to Virginia Tech, but in the grand scheme of the season, I can almost understand a poor performance with the weather conditions, the Duke Johnson injury, and coming off the FSU loss. What I will never understand is what happened defensively at Duke. We can talk about building a program all we want, but that’s to be a national title contender. Duke football will never accumulate the talent to be a national title contender, and for them to roll out 350+ rushing yards on 50+ carries was not only the lowlight of this season, but of the entire Al Golden tenure in my opinion.
Leon: Most will say it was Duke, but for me it was Virginia Tech. When you allow Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech offense to kill you like that, it’s a major disappointment. Especially when the offense was able to move the ball against one of the best defenses in the country. Getting pummeled in the rain like that at home is just depressing.
Vishnu: The Wake Forest game. Yes, it was a win, but this was when we realized that the emperor had no clothes. Watching another ridiculously incompetent and inept defensive performance, after back-to-back poor defensive performances, revealed that the defensive staff was as clueless as they were the first 2 years and that the entire Golden Era was in peril. This year was never about this year, it was always about growing into a BCS team in 2014. After some brief hope that the defense had turned the corner and could actually be good early in the year, the Wake Forest game is where we learned that the defense was still a disaster and that the only thing that could save it would be Golden doing something he stubbornly has refused to do for 2 years.
4) Is Mark D’Onofrio the worst coordinator in the modern era of Miami Hurricanes Football (since 1983)?
Adam: I don’t have the historical perspective that others will have, because I wasn’t alive for the first ten years of this “modern” era. I only really have Pat Nix to compare him to in terms of dreadful performances. For me, it is much more painful to watch your defense be unable to stop anything than to watch your offense stagnate. Given that we can only evaluate D’Onofrio based on the results we have seen, he is the worst.
JT:Through the years, I’ve read on various message boards people complaining about Greg Schiano, Larry Coker (the coordinator), Mark Chudzinski, Randy Shannon, Dan Werner, Patrick Nix, Tim Walton, Mark Whipple, Jedd Fisch and Mark D’Onofrio. As fans, we seem to expect that every offensive possession should end in touchdowns, and every defensive possession should be a “three and out.” Of course this is unrealistic, and while aspects of the Nix era offense and Walton led defense were beyond awful, this is three straight years of the WORST defense in the ACC. I think it’s safe to say Mark D’Onofrio’s defenses are the worst we’ve seen at Miami.
Leon: Yes, and this is Al Golden’s defense he wants run, so when it comes to defense he sucks as a head coach as well.
Vishnu: Yes. It’s really him or Pat Nix. But here is where the difference is. Prior to Nix’s arrival, the Miami offense was already bad, having ranked 87th in 2006. Nix had 2 offenses that were 110 then 89. Awful and he was deservedly fired. But D’Onofrio inherited a Top 25 defense, immediately knocked it down to 45 in 1 year, then completely destroyed it. The drop from one of the top defenses in college football to one of the worst happened entirely under his watch. Nix went from bad to still bad. D’Onofrio went from good to bad, so he gets the nod.
5) Which player was your most pleasant surprise this year?
Adam: I did not expect Stacey Coley to make the instant impact that he did. I knew he was talented, but I did not anticipate him getting that much playing time in what was (before the season) a deep receiver corps. That was certainly a surprise, and a reason for optimism moving forward.
JT: At the midway point, I thought Ryan Williams. On the season, it’s Stacy Coley. I remember watching Tracy Howard’s highlight videos from high school thinking, if Tracy Howard is one of the best corners in the country, then Stacy Coley must be the best receiver in the country. When early in the recruiting process it seemed Coley would go elsewhere, I was very disappointed. It turns out, Coley may be the best freshman football player in the country. But I’m also going to give a nod to Tracy Howard, who turned into a very good corner this year capable of making big plays on defense.
Leon: Allen Hurns, I knew he was a good player, but he took it to a completely different level this year.
Vishnu: Pat O’Donnell. I am sure everyone else will pick a position player, but this man was brilliant. He might be the best punter in the country. Didn’t see that coming.
6) Which player was your biggest disappointment this year?
Adam: The pass-rush disappearing in ACC play. I know it is expected that the level of competition would ramp up once you get to your conference schedule, but through the first 4 games I had been impressed at how much we were getting to the quarterback. For that to essentially disappear was a huge disappointment.
JT: The entire front 7 on defense. I’m not going to pick out just any one individual player on defense and put the blame on them. But too often we saw no pass rush, no play recognition, poor angles, poor tackling and just overall disappointment.
Leon: The entire defense.
Vishnu: It’s hard to choose between player or staff on the defensive side of the ball, because the staff is so obviously lacking that blaming the players seem unfair. So as we go to the offensive side of the ball, I would center on Seantrel Henderson. His career is now over and he failed to have any sort of discernible impact.
7) What grade (A+ to F-) would you give James Coley for this season?
Adam: B+. I think he really found his groove as the year progressed, and the offense did not stagnate with the loss of its star running back, which is impressive. Advanced Statistics showed that Miami had one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. This was a talented group, and Coley really found a way to utilize that talent well.
JT: I’ll go with B+. Just about every offensive stat ranked among the best in the ACC. This was despite Stephen Morris battling an ankle injury through the first month of the season, Duke Johnson missing the final quarter of the season with an injury, and other injuries throughout the offense. There is still some room for improvement when it comes to short yardage play performance, and especially red zone offense. Too often, the Canes fell short of the endzone, which makes a substantial difference over the course of the season.
Leon: B-, The offense had it’s up’s and downs but it was mostly able to move the ball against every opponent this year. They finished 11th in the country yards per play, and bested last years scoring per game output. With that said I hope coach Coley can find some different ways to use Duke Johnson next year. I’m not big on using a running back like him as a battering ram.
Vishnu: A-. There were problems here and there, but the offense was fantastic for the most part and had to overcome an atrocious defense, which does impact the offense’s ability to function. I thought he had some brilliant moments…the Duke and Pitt games were masterclasses in play calling, he overcame a 10-point deficit and a QB that couldn’t stop turning the ball over while also losing his 2 most explosive players at North Carolina. There are things that could be improved, minor gripes, but the Canes can win a National Championship playing offense like they did in 2013.
8) What grade (A+ to F-) would you give Mark D’Onofrio for this season?
Adam: F. Look, I will not disagree with those who say that this defense lacks talent, particularly in the front 7. It does. That does not excuse the results in conference play. Teams routinely went for 100-150 yards above their average against us. That is inexcusable, especially coming off a season like last year. Progressing from awful to somewhat-less-awful is not reason to boost his grade. On the results of this year, and this year alone, he failed at his job.
JT: At this point, we’re piling on, aren’t we? He gets an F.
Vishnu: F- -. Extra minus for extra stink. He is grossly incompetent to the point of being non-functional. The easiest way to discern that it is the coach and not the players is that when the quality of the offensive opponent is poor, the defense still struggles. If it was a talent issue, good offenses (like FSU) would light the defense up, while poor offenses (like VT and Pitt) would struggle. All 3 of those teams went for over 500 yards against this defense. No adjective can adequately describe how poor they are.
9) What grade (A+ to F-) would you give Al Golden for this season?
Adam: C-? I don’t know really. What am I grading him on? He’s the head coach, so everything falls at his feet. The offense was great, so does he get credit for it? Coley looks to be a great hire, so that has to be a boost. Recruiting and being the face of the program throughout the NCAA mess seems to be successful so far, that’s a boost. On the flip side, retaining D’Onofrio was a disaster, and probably cost us a chance to be playing against FSU again this Saturday for the ACC. His in-game coaching decisions still leave something to be desired, in my opinion. He gets a C- because we did not meet expectations.
JT: C+. For argument sake, let’s consider the start of the season fall practice. He guided the Canes to their highest ranking in several years, avoided having a letdown in non-conference play, beat the Florida Gators, finished the NCAA investigation, won 9 games exceeding the Vegas preseason benchmark and has the Canes in a bowl game with the opportunity to win 10 games. And despite that, most will remember that Miami failed to beat Duke in a November football game to get to the ACC championship for the first time as a member of the ACC. This is not to take anything away from a deserving Duke team that won 10 games this year, but Golden gets docked for sticking with his best friend at defensive coordinator for year three. That move cost him a chance to win the ACC.
Leon: D and the reasons for this is:
1. He took no steps to improve the defense because he’s stubborn and thought he was smarter than everyone else.
2. The schedule this year was a lot easier than last year. Not to improve on last year’s record would’ve been unacceptable. Yes the Canes won 9 games, but it has nothing to do with team improvement and everything to do with playing one of the easier schedules Miami has had in a very long time. This team goes 7-5 if it had to play 3 top teams again this year.
Vishnu: C-. Against this schedule, it would have been hard to do worse than 9-3. Does last offseason count on this season’s grade? Because he made 2 moves: (1) he hired Coley, which was great and (2) he refused to fire D’Onofrio, which was a disaster that ultimately took the Canes from an 11-win team preparing for a rematch in the ACC championship game with FSU to a 9-win team that has still not won the ACC Coastal. With that said, this could have gone really bad without last second drives against UNC and Wake Forest, and then he would have had to have been fired at 7-5, so the D and F grades aren’t relevant.
10) Give one phrase or sentence to summarize this season.
Adam: Gone too soon. Like all of them. At least we get a bowl game this year, but the brevity of college football season is never more evident then immediately after the season is over, and the long wait for next September begins. Preferably with a new defensive coordinator.
JT: Another one bites the dust. I already miss college football season. At least we have one more game this season.
Vishnu: Blown D’Opportunity.
The Miami Hurricanes are ending their bowl hiatus with a postseason trip relatively close to home.
Sounds like a movie: Teddy vs. The Canes.
At one time, Teddy Bridgewater was committed to the Miami Hurricanes. Now he’s committed to beating the Hurricanes.
Bridgewater, a Miami Northwestern product who now stars as the Louisville Cardinals’ quarterback, will lead the Cardinals against Miami at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 28 in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
They’ll officially announce the matchup in about half an hour. The game will be played at the Citrus Bowl Stadium.
Eighteenth-ranked Louisville (16th in USA Today coaches’ poll) is 11-1 and 7-1 in the American Athletic Conference.
Miami, ranked 25th in the USA Today coaches’ poll, is 9-3 and 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Miami leads this series 9-1, but lost 31-7 the last time they played the Cardinals in Louisville in 2006.
Bridgewater pulled his commitment from Miami after former UM coach Randy Shannon was fired. He followed his Miami Northwestern teammate and favorite receiver Eli Rogers to Louisville.
Bridgewater’s mother was unhappy with the way Hurricanes fans reacted to her son decommitting from UM before he made Louisville his choice.
Regardless, Bridgewater is a great talent, and as repeatedly witnessed in his three seasons at Louisville, has a knack for creating good situations out of bad ones on the field.
Last season, Bridgewater threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns as the then-No. 21 Cardinals upset third-ranked Florida 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl.
The Cards have 23 players on their roster from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Talk about a South Florida pipeline.
If the Canes can pull this one off, it would definitely bolster recruiting efforts.
So, what’s your take? Will you travel to Orlando for the game?
Do you like the matchup?
I definitely like the matchup, and the storylines.
And just in case you didn’t know, Miami plays Louisville next season, when the Cards join the ACC as a member of the Atlantic Division. They’ll replace Maryland. The game date has not yet been announced.
Miami is allotted 13,500 tickets for the Russell Athletic Bowl. Tickets are priced at $77 and $82 and can be purchased through the UM Ticket Office online at CanesTix.com, in-person at BankUnited Center (M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by phone at 1-800-GO CANES.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
We say goodbye to the BCS (and, yes, some will say good riddance) with a matchup in the final VIZIO BCS National Championship that may be the toughest assignment yet for the conference everybody loves to hate.
The SEC, the epitaph on its national championship streak all but written just a week ago, is back on college football’s grandest stage.
And if anybody says they tabbed Auburn back in the preseason to be the team carrying the SEC’s banner, they either have a serious problem with the truth or are seriously psychic.
Will Florida State end SEC's streak?
The Hurricanes feel great about finally having an opportunity to start preparing for a bowl game.
After long wait, 'Canes relish chance for bowl practice
Now that the moment had arrived, what unfolded seemed surreal. Florida State players dangled roses and put on championship hats and T-shirts after a 45-7 rout of No. 20 Duke in the ACC title game Saturday assured them a spot in the BCS national championship game.
But senior receiver Kenny Shaw admitted afterward what he and his teammates had accomplished was still hitting him.
Florida State finally gets championship shot
Another Miami Hurricane is headed to a post-season showcase game.
The Miami Hurricanes rolled to a 7-0 start and were a Top 10 team in early November, but a three-game losing streak weeks later truly defined the 2013 football season.
“The U” gave up 131 points and 1,631 yards in back-to-back-to-back games against Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke—a harsh reminder that the Hurricanes still have a long way to go in their return to glory.
Miami finished 116th out of 120 Division I teams last year in total defense and arguably won’t fare much better when this season is in the books. The Hurricanes secondary took a step forward and created its share of turnovers, but too many yards and points were given up week in and week out.
A “wait ’til next year” mantra has been thrown around Miami for over a decade. Regarding the defense, that could again be in play come 2014 due to some outbound upperclassmen, coupled with a freshman class that will be thrown into the fire.
The Hurricanes lose some depth on the defensive line with Curtis Porter, Luther Robinson and Shayon Green wrapping up their careers. The same goes with one-year transfers David Gilbert and Justin Renfrow, both added months back and relied upon for depth’s sake.
Tyrone Cornelius and Jimmy Gaines depart at linebacker, while senior-to-be Denzel Perryman could be NFL-bound and financially motivated, having recently become a father.
The Hurricanes also parted ways with Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul and Gabe Terry over the past year. Head coach Al Golden sent two of the three packing for disciplinary reasons—adding to a running total of 36 players from the 2010 through 2012 recruiting classes who no longer sport the orange and green.
A.J. Highsmith and Kacy Rodgers II are also moving on, though the Miami secondary is one area that can absorb the losses. Tracy Howard and Ladarius Gunter have emerged as a big-time cornerback threats, while Deon Bush should be fully recovered from offseason hernia surgery that hampered him for months.
Miami hauled in what appears to be some solid young defensive talent the past two years. Defensive linemen Tyriq McCord and Al-Quadin Muhammad appear primed to take a step forward, while Raphael Kirby, Jermaine Grace and Alex Figueroa are expected to shine at linebacker.
Artie Burns and Antonio Crawford saw some action at cornerback this fall, while Jamal Carter should provide depth at safety, where Rayshawn Jenkins has emerged.
The Hurricanes are understandably going defense-heavy with the 2014 recruiting class. Miami currently has 28 verbal commitments—13 of which are defenders, including eight linemen. ESPN ranks UM’s class third in the nation behind Alabama and Tennessee, with a few remaining scholarships to hand out.
The Hurricanes take a hit on offense, saying goodbye to senior quarterback Stephen Morris, top wide receiver Allen Hurns and some veteran linemen in Brandon Linder, Jared Wheeler and Seantrel Henderson.
A year ago, Miami’s offense bailed out a struggling defense, which wasn’t the case often enough this season.
After losing running back Duke Johnson to a broken ankle at Florida State, the Hurricanes’ ground game sputtered and the red-zone offense tightened up. In a 48-30 loss at Duke, Miami settled for field goals of 32, 31 and 31 yards while only scoring 23 offense points, despite 565 total yards.
The Hurricanes enter spring with an unknown at quarterback, as Ryan Williams and Kevin Olsen are expected to battle it out. Miami also lacks a solid No. 2 runner behind Johnson—something No. 8 had as a freshman last year with the reliable Mike James sharing carries.
Dallas Crawford was serviceable when asked to step up at running back this season, but consistency and overall production remained off the past four games.
Gus Edwards will return as a sophomore, while UM has verbals from a pair of 4-star running backs in Brandon Powell and Joseph Yearby. The Canes are also working to earn a commitment from Dalvin Cook, Yearby’s 4-star teammate at nearby Miami Central.
Until quarterback and running back situations are solved, Miami’s defense will continue to pay a price in Golden’s fourth year but should turn the corner by 2015.
The Hurricanes are certainly righting the ship regarding depth and an upgrade in talent, but until experience and more upperclassmen are again the norm, Miami remains in repair.
Follow Chris Bello on Twitter @allCanesBlog.
Read more Miami Hurricanes Football news on BleacherReport.com
Pittsburgh Review Podcast
Vishnu Parasuraman (Follow on Twitter)
We recap the season finale against Pitt. Despite our best efforts to remain positive, we almost immediately veer into a discussion of defensive ineptitude.
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Intro Music: The Woolen Men – Turn your Back (http://woolenmen.bandcamp.com/)
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After Miami’s bowl game, Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris will have one more opportunity to impress pro scouts in a game setting.
So, it’s now official. The Louisville Cardinals is heading to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, to be played Dec. 28 at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando.
Will quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a Miami product who graduated from Northwestern High and was once committed to the Miami Hurricanes, face the team he grew up loving?
We won’t know until Sunday. I still think Miami has a good shot of heading to Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to face an SEC opponent. ESPN likes the ratings that the Canes bring, and something about the Canes and the SEC makes it a good draw.
Either way, both bowls could be fun games. Future ACC team Louisville, with Teddy (and former UM defensive line coach Clint Hurtt) would make for an intriguing matchup as well.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Here’s the story posted by Matt Repchak of FCSports & The Russell Athletic Bowl:
The Louisville Cardinals have accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl. This year’s edition of the game will take place on December 28th at Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium at 6:45 p.m., and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
“Russell Athletic is thrilled that the Louisville Cardinals will complete their outstanding season by appearing in the Russell Athletic Bowl,” said Gary Barfield, Senior Vice President, Russell Athletic. “We are eager to find out on Sunday who Louisville will be facing in what is sure to be an exciting game.”
Louisville heads to Orlando for the first time after posting its second-straight 10-win season, capped by a 31-24 overtime win at Cincinnati tonight. It becomes the third team in bowl history to enter the game with double-digit wins (Boston College (10), 2007 Champs Sports Bowl; Alabama (10), 1991 Blockbuster Bowl). The previous two teams each went on to win the bowl game and finish with an 11-win campaign.
The Cardinals return junior QB Teddy Bridgewater, who already ranks third in Louisville history in passing yards and fourth in career touchdowns.
The Louisville defense has stymied the opposition all year long. The unit ranks second in total defense in the FBS, allowing only 242.5 yards per game and third in scoring defense, surrendering just 11.4 points per game. The Cardinals also rank in the top five nationally in rushing defense, passing defense, turnover margin and third down conversion percentage.
“We’re excited to host a ranked, one-loss Louisville team for the first time in the Russell Athletic Bowl,” said Steve Hogan. “It has built a powerful fan following and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for Orlando Bowl Week.”
Head coach Charlie Strong is an impressive 36-15 with the Cardinals, leading them to two conference championships and bowl appearances now in each of his four seasons. Louisville can earn at least a share of its third straight conference championship with a UCF loss on Saturday.
State attorney Willie Meggs announced Thursday that no charges would be filed against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in relation to an alleged sexual assault, and after three weeks of silence while the investigation was ongoing, the Heisman hopeful’s family is eager to finally speak out in his defense.
Winston’s father, Antonor, said the family never worried about the outcome of Meggs’ investigation, but the weeks of media scrutiny proved a damaging experience.
With case closed, Winston's family speaks