Stars in their eyes

It’s the program that thought hiring Patrick Nix to run its offense was a good idea, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised to read this, but still, how strange.

Recruiting had become simple for the University of Miami football staff.

While counterparts were out scouring the country for the next All-American, the Hurricanes coaches were likely parked in front of a computer with a pad and pen. They surfed Internet recruiting sites in search of talent, almost forgetting their own evaluation in the process.

After following the advice of recruiting gurus helped lead to the program’s recent decline, the Hurricanes have returned to trusting themselves when it comes to finding talent. Third-year coach Randy Shannon continues to emphasize the idea of recruiting based on staff judgment instead of a website’s rankings.

“That’s accurate,” UM recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt said. “We spent way too much time recruiting off [Internet] lists and finding these top guys instead of truly evaluating. You can’t just go off hearsay or just because Florida, Florida State or Alabama is recruiting him. That doesn’t mean a thing.”

The blame starts with the poster boy for running a successful program into mediocrity.

… Recruiting misfires factored into the Hurricanes going from playing for consecutive national titles in 2002-03 to a 19-19 record the past three seasons. Much of it occurred under coach Larry Coker, who was fired after the 2006 season. The Hurricanes landed several highly rated recruiting classes during his tenure, but even outsiders noticed they were focusing solely on recruiting sites.

“I used to go in the coaches’ offices and sometimes they would literally have up on their screen,” said Matt Shodell, who covers UM and its recruiting for “I won’t name the coaches, but they would be writing names down on pieces of paper. I don’t know how much film they were looking at.”

So Coker gets handed a program that’s smack dab in the middle of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the Southeast – maybe even the country – and also has the name recognition, the “branding”, if you will, that Lane Kiffin would sacrifice his left testicle for right now.  In other words, he could have driven around the area looking at prospects and still been home in time for dinner without breaking a sweat.  And spiced that up with the occasional high profile national recruit who wanted to come play for ‘Da U.

Instead he decided the best course of action would be for his staff to play computer geek in mom’s basement and surf the web for recruiting sites.  In other words, he tossed away the biggest advantage he had over every other school in the country.  Weird, to say the least.

Of course, the other strange part to the story is that this practice was evidently common knowledge, and yet the school, when it let Coker go, chose to hire by promoting from within a guy who presumably was a part of that failed process.  That it’s taken Shannon and his staff some time to realize the magnitude of the error isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of his ability to run a football program.

I shouldn’t have to remind you why that matters, but I always welcome the excuse to post this again.

Miami: From a Bulldog perspective, if you looked at the state of Florida as though it were Afghanistan (and I do), the Gators, obviously, are the Taliban, while Miami is whatever warlord is running things in the Northeast. The Hurricanes don’t occupy anything remotely resembling moral high ground, but they are useful. As with Alabama, a healthy Miami helps Georgia; in Da U’s case, it’s because the ‘Canes recruit against the Gators in the Sunshine State’s hottest hotbeads for high school talent, although they don’t play the Gators that often.


Filed under Recruiting

11 responses to “Stars in their eyes

  1. Would this be the place to mention that Richt was a quarterback at Miami as well?


  2. 69Dawg

    It is no coincidence that CUM has had a fantastic run due in large part to the fall of both FSU and the U. I live in FL, God help me, and know this state has the best and deepest football talent in the East and maybe the US. If UF can continue to get the best of the best, we’re screwed. We need FSU and the U to get some of that talent. The new football schools down here are taking the walk-on talent that UF, FSU and the U used to get so that is helpful but we still need for UF to at least have to fight for the top 25. It will take a while but when it happens UF will not have the same level of talent.


  3. Mike In Valdosta

    If Donna Shalayla (?) were named president of SoCal, I would bet the next coach would not be hired based upon qualifications….


  4. 69Dawg – Why don’t you stop blaming F$U and scUM for your own team’s crappy performance on the field?? With a ‘its not **my** fault’ attitude, no wonder your team is stuck in behind us! Take ownership and shift the blame to who’s in charge: your own coach


    • Dog in Fla

      Neither 69Dawg nor any of the rank and file can do anything about our coach or his assistants. We appear nowhere in that business model. Richt brought a Bowden style of loyalty to and from assistants for stability of coaching staff that used to serve Bobby well before Richt and Amato left. Richt thinks it serves him well. We can bitch. We can moan. We’re pretty good at it. But yet it has no noticeable effect on our coach. They all seem to deftly avoid it in a Zen Obama-like fashion.

      It took you guys years of it with Zook following a legend. Everyone knew what but not when the outcome would be but without the Mississippi State loss and Foley’s intervention, Zook would have lingered longer. It wasn’t you, although Florida fan bitching was there to ratify the firing, it was Sly Croom and Mississippi State.

      I would like to think that a few more 49-10’s in Jacksonville or score 42 and lose by 3 to Tech will surely motivate those above and beyond the rest of us in the rank and file to motivate our AD to think about doing something with regard to our coaches. But if it hasn’t happened yet with a 3-15 or a 3-16, whatever it is, who knows? If our coaches still cannot level the field with Florida but we still bring in millions of dollars a year, maybe us beating Florida is not in the business plan and really just doesn’t even matter.

      Until then and in the meantime, we have to think about other not so novel ways of getting catching up, staying pace or getting ahead. If players like Tebow or Percy had gone anywhere outside the SEC East, Florida would have been disadvantaged. It wasn’t that long ago that FSU and Miami could compete on a level field with Florida for top recruits in and outside the state. Not now. So it only makes sense for any of Florida’s opponents to think that a restoration of FSU and Miami competing better with Florida for recruits than they have been doing is natural. On the other hand, even if FSU and Miami were to stand toe-to-toe with Florida again in battling for recruits, what Spurrier said re Goff in the ’90’s about Georgia getting the more highly ranked recruits but still losing brings coaching and accountability for the lack thereof back into it.

      For example if in an imperfect but bizarre world, Al Davis owned the Georgia football team, our coaching staff would have been summarily terminated on the sidelines when the score eased up to 49-3.

      However, since I stopped watching well before that to go out and clear the ditch, I was fortunate enough to be able to miss the pleasure of the remainder of the beatdown and the timeouts, which certainly seem to be about the mildest thing that Urban could have done as repayment in addition to the ass-stomping score.

      Now if only Richt could figure out a way to return the favor. We rank and file think that’s a serious ass-whipping to make up for. Until then Urban is Richt’s daddy. Richt cannot rely on Bobby or Shandy Rannon to solve his Urban problem. Richt needs to lay awake at night thinking about how his team can beat Florida. Urban is Sabin’s daddy and Urban will also be Lane’s daddy. Of course, Dooley was daddy to a lot of head coaches to the tune of about 33-3 when he had Herschel but not so much of a daddy before or after. Tebow will be just as irreplaceable as Herschel was. But Richt needs to know that this is his last chance to beat Tebow and Meyer. If it gnaws at him as much as it gnaws at us, he will.


      • Mike In Valdosta

        Dog In Florida,

        First of all, I feel your pain. I lived in Ponte Vedra for 5 years (1-4 in those 5 by the way) and know how hard it is to be amungst the reptiles, especially when they are winning.


        Mark Richt WILL go down as the best UGA coach of all time. No he isn’t there yet, but he is on schedule. I trust him to do what is right for the program. To say he is loyal to a fault is flat out wrong. I am not going to mention names, but there have been changes on the staff that were not the choice of the departed assistant. Yes two were by choice, either a head coach or a lateral job at a premier school with one helluva a pay raise, but he has shown the abilty to make changes when HE felt it was required for the good of the program.

        Nobody was madder than I after the embarrasment we all suffered through last year in the first half against tusky, gainesville and the second half against n ave. But let’s be honest with ourselves. Were we out schemed? Or were we out played? Maybe our motivation was off and that does partially fall on coaches. But take the tech game, as it is still freshest in my mind, how many yards did tech have after contact? Guys in red jerseys were there and just didn’t make the play.

        It is time for us to move on. Either have faith the CMR knows what he is doing, submit a resume, rep aa better candidate, or get on board.

        Dog in Florida, I read your imaginative post almost daily. I know you love the Dawgs. Please stop hating on them.


  5. sUGArdaddy

    You nailed it Mike in Winnersville. We have to beat Florida. And CMR knows that and wants that more than anyone. And he’ll make the right moves to try to get us there. To say otherwise is to not be watching the last 8 years. We are much like Texas under Mack Brown. Brown and CMR have very similar personalities. It took Brown choking for a while or coming up just short. Ultimately, it was one special player that knocked them over the top. That’s really the story for most great programs. You linger around the cream of the crop until you find that one special player. VY and Colt make Mack look like a great coach. Tebow does the same for Urban.

    And…it is a proven fact that, as much talent as there is in Florida, the talent base can’t support 3 elite programs.

    Late 80s – FSU & Miami (UF stunk)
    90s – The Rise of UF, FSU dominance and Miami began to drop after the ’95 Orange Bowl loss to Nebraska. Miami stunk by the late nineties.
    Early 2000s – Retirement of Spurrier, Ressurrection in Coral Gables, and Bobby’s last push in Talahassee.
    Mid 2000s – Richt’s departure affects FSU, Butch Davis to Browns, Urban Meyers hire = UF – Good, UM & FSU – Bad.


    • All three were pretty good in the early ’80s and early ’90s. Probation is what knocked Miami down in the mid-’90s. Then when Miami and FSU were back on top early in this decade, Florida was still good (2000-01). When Florida fell off under Zook, talent was still being brought in. It was bad coaching and player development that caused the 4 and 5 loss seasons.

      FSU and Miami’s problems now aren’t all about Florida taking all the good players. I mean, UF signed all of 16 players for the 2009 class. It’s that FSU has a decaying administration and coaching staff that everyone is afraid to push out the door finally and Miami has Randy Shannon who has yet to show himself to be worthy of a head coaching gig.

      Put good coaches at all three schools, and all will be good concurrently. The population has been growing out of control in Florida over the past couple decades, so the state is more capable now than ever at supporting three juggernauts.


  6. sUGArdaddy

    Maybe. Just show me a 5 year stretch when they were all Top 10 teams. Not top 25 teams. Top 10 teams.