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Miami Hurricanes

Bizarre’ Saturday saw Mark Richt back around Canes program

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

It was already odd enough at the Miami Hurricanes were choosing to play their Spring football game in Orlando. Well, if a four-hour drive to the north in the middle of the state, instead of playing on campus or Hard Rock Stadium etc. raised an eyebrow, then, who “popped in” on his old team did a lot more than that.

That’s, because former coach Mark Richt made a surprise sudden appearance at Camping World Stadium.

It turns out that Richt was there, as part of being announced as a new analyst for the soon-to-debut ACC Television network that ESPN is putting together:

The network is obviously trying to gain credibility and traction with having “name” individuals talk about teams and the conference.

Bu,t it could not have been a more awkward deal to have Richt in the Press Box with the same Hurricanes media members that had been covering him and in some cases harpooning him, over the past three years.

And, this would include Richt’s handling of his quarterbacks with  “yo-yo games” between senior Malik Rosier and redshirt freshman N’kosi Perry to the point that it almost became comical. Then, speaking of comedy, it was something out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit, when Richt asked a group of the media out loud “who do you all think should be the starting QB?”

Seriously. That happened.

Obviously, Miami still has Perry and also now, Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, who looked good at times in the Spring game Saturday.

But the larger question is: will the Cannes under new coach and last year’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, take big steps if not this year? And, soon to be back in National Championship contention this season or by next?

To be fair, Rich had them on the verge at the end of the 2017 season after Miami upset Virginia Tech and Notre Dame to rise to the top 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings in late November. 

But, Miami fell apart with a losses to an awful Pittsburgh team in the regular season finale’. Then, Miami was stomped byy Clemson in the ACC title game and, eventually, beaten by Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.

And that collapse carried over as a dark cloud into 2018 and as the Canes floundered and lost games, the outcry against the head coach intensified.

Eventually, it became obvious, the Richt was on shaky ground and when Diaz, left to take the Temple head coaching, many began to  publicly wonder on the airwaves and the internet, if that was a final blow to recruiting and with the defense that would be fatal to Richt’s tenure.

Next came the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, and Miami was a mess from beginning to end a blowout loss, again to Wisconsin. And in short order Rick had “retired:” and Diaz was suddenly back, as Miami’s head coach.

Give Richt credit, he said the right things in the press box in his new analyst role about the Cane’s program improving for the future with Diaz now in charge.

And, anyone that has covered or been around Richt, knows that he’s as genuine and loving of his players staff and everyone with his programs, as any coach you will find.

Still, it was weird to have him back around Miami, so soon after the crazy events of last December. And to further know,  know that he’ll be giving running commentary this fall on the ACC Network, as Miami succeeds or fails.

We got our first taste Saturday.

Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes coach Golden apparently ready for trial against school

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USA Today Sports

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.

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.

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Hurricanes name College Hall of Famer Ed Reed Chief of Staff

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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.

Diaz said in the statement,

“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.

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.

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