It was another rough Saturday for several of the teams in the Sunshine State. Yes, Florida got a quality win at South Carolina in the SEC and UCF came off a bye week and cruised with East Carolina at home. However, for the Miami Hurricanes, USF Bulls and Florida State Seminoles Saturday was just the latest setback in what has turned into depressing seasons for all.
First in South Florida, the Hurricanes managed to blow a game at home against a team that had not won an ACC game in Georgia Tech.
The Canes gave up a fake punt for a touchdown in the first, missed three easy field goals of their own, including one that would have won the game at the end of regulation. And then, allow the Jackets to score the only touchdown of overtime to defeat them.
Couple this loss with the poor performance for most of the Virginia Tech game two weeks ago, where Miami trailed at one point 28 – 0 before roaring back, yet still lost the game. And also, an opening season loss at North Carolina will they allow the Tarheels true freshman quarterback to throw the game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute and Manny Diaz’s honeymoon is over with the fans and alumni.
As bad as things are in Coral Gables, they’re equally so in Tampa for USF. Charlie Strong’s team looked like they had “righted the ship” with wins at UConn and at home against a quality BYU team last Saturday. However, yesterday they traveled to Annapolis and had the Naval Academy roll them 35 – 3.
It is the third decisive blowout loss for USF this season and dropped them to 3 – 4 on the year.
Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry didn’t complete a pass in the game but still ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns and the ‘Middies had over 400 yards on the ground in the easy win.
We have written about Strong job security already this season and Saturday will only reignite the conversation that the Green and gold need to look elsewhere for leadership after this season.
Speaking of leadership changes, the outrage continues with the struggles of Florida State who lost for the latest time Saturday night at Wake Forest. The Noles actually took a 14 – 12 lead of the fourth quarter but allowed the Demon Deacons to take the lead on a field goal with just over four minutes remaining.
Florida State then bumbled and stumbled at the end of the game, including coach Willie Taggart taking a timeout to ice his own kicker, Ricky Aguayo, before he missed a 51-yard field goal.
FSU could have also used that timeout to save them more time at the very end of the game where they got the ball back once more with just :35 remaining.
Quarterback James Blackman took a sack, fumbling the ball and FSU barely got lined up to run one last futile play that ended the game. Another Nole loss has them at 3-4 and staring squarely at having back-to-back losing seasons that likely isn’t survivable ($17 million buyout or not) for Taggart.
Again, Gators and Knights fans have a lot to smile about and look forward to, but right now, the other three prominent programs in the state or wondering how much more losing is going to go on before the finish line in December?
Former Canes coach Golden apparently ready for trial against school
Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden is apparently about to have his day in court, while trying to recoup what he says is multi-millions of dollars that the University still owes him from firing him 5 years ago.
Miami Herald writer and columnist Barry Jackson had more on Monday evening that there apparently will not be a settlement by the school with the man that coached them for parts of five seasons in the 2010s.
UM schedule change, another new hire, Golden trial, why Ray Lewis says hiring Ed Reed is a ‘genius move,’ and Kosar weighs in. And more: https://t.co/MvTx7WxJND
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 4, 2020
Golden is seeking in excess of $3 million for what he says is compensation per his contract that he was owed when Miami terminated him in October of 2015 after a humiliating 58 – 0 lost to Clemson. The University says that Golden has been paid what the contract required.
As Jackson reported, there have already been depositions on both sides, including with Miami athletic director Blake James. And both James and Golden will be testifying in the civil suit about what went wrong and how it has not been rectified for almost three years, since the dispute started.
Golden came to Miami after having turned around the Temple football program, but only went 32 – 25 in his four plus seasons. He contends in a chain of emails that were obtained by the media recently, that the University mislead him about the Nevin Shapiro payment scandal and the punishments that Miami was going to receive for scholarship losses and a bowl ban.
He further contends that he asked for tough opponents like Wisconsin and Michigan State to be pushed back on the Canes schedule early in his tenure, while they were in the middle of the sanctions. However, that James would not relent, thereby, making it much tougher for Miami to compete and win.
The University has had no comment on the possible suit going to trial. Golden’s lawyer told the media recently that they are anxious to have their day in front of a judge and jury.
Golden has been a position coach in the NFL with the Detroit Lions the last two years. Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to find their footing with coach Manny Diaz coming off a dismal 6-7 season where they lost their last three games. That included a humiliating 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.
Hurricanes name College Hall of Famer Ed Reed Chief of Staff
The Miami Hurricanes are hoping to reestablish their winning ways, and coach Manny Diaz is starting 2020 by reaching back to a prominent member of their recent past to help them.
Diaz and the school announced Thursday afternoon that former All-American, National Champion and College and NFL Hall of Fame safety, Ed Reed, will be coming aboard as a newly-created “Chief of Staff” position for Hurricanes football:
Visits and vacations are nice, but there is no place like home.
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 30, 2020
As the school’s release said, Reed “will be responsible in advisory role of all aspects of the football program including strategic planning, quality control, operations, player evaluation and player Development among other duties.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ed back to Coral Gables,” Diaz said. “He is not only one of the most decorated players in Miami football history but also a devoted Cane who cares deeply about this program. All of our players, coaches and staff will be fortunate to tap into his experience, knowledge and passion on a regular basis.”
This hire comes on the heels of Miami apparently botching the hiring in a similar role of former star RB from the 80’s Alonzo Highsmith earlier this month. Highsmith negotiated with Diaz and AD Blake James about looking to come back to Coral Gables after having been in a similar role with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL this past year. Alas, they could not agree. Highsmith has since been fired after the Browns fired GM John Dorsey and shook up their front office.
As for the “Chief of Staff” position, numerous college programs, including Clemson Alabama and Georgia have a similar positions to aid and assist the head coach with the day-to-day administration of program.
You cannot find a more decorated Cane willing to help, as Reed was arguably the best safety in college football in the 2000s. Miami posted a 23 – 1 record over his final two seasons (’00-’01) and he was part of the 2001 BCS Championship team that finished 11-1 and destroyed Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.
Reed with a consensus First-team All-American in 2000 and 2001 and set the Hurricanes record for interceptions with 21 before leaving Coral Gables.
Reed was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 for his accomplishments.
Reed was later a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, playing at 11 sasons with them before playing his final year with the Texans and the Jets. He is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-Pro six times. Reed was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame year ago.
Read was not quoted in the release by the Hurricanes on Thursday afternoon.
However, he did participate earlier during Super Bowl week in Miami with former Hurricanes legendary coach Jimmy Johnson in a special program from Fox Sports with other famous Hurricane alumni like Michael Irvin.
"This is a moment in time that needed to be done and it couldn't have been done in a greater place." #TheReUnion, hosted by @FOXSports, made for great stories and honest discussion about the brotherhood formed only at The U. https://t.co/6bdlY8IQkV
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 30, 2020
The program called “The ReUnion” dealt with Miami trying to regain the winning ways and dominance of the 80s and 90s.
Miami stumbled to a 6-6 finish and then was embarrassed to end Diaz’s first season with a 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.