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 Rivals.com up on their screen,” said Matt Shodell, who covers UM and its recruiting for CaneSport.com. “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.