As the Miami Hurricanes get set to battle Crosstown rival FIU on Saturday, there will do so at the location that used to be their home for seven decades. And don’t think for a second that this year’s version of the Canes are not fully aware of the significance of playing where the legendary Orange Bowl Stadium, used to stand.
The two schools will be battling at what is now the Florida Marlins Baseball park which was constructed a decade ago on the grounds that used to host Orange Bowl Stadium. Marlins park has already previously hosted bowl games in December in previous years, and that’s the place where Miami dominated college football for the better part of a 10-year run in the mid-1980s through the early 1990s.
Hurricanesports.com had a fantastic retrospective item on former immortalized Cane coaches and legendary players of the past reminiscing about their favorite memories of having played in the Orange Bowl.
Without question, the foundation of Miami’s success was the intimidation of playing in that hallowed venue, where they once won 58 games in a row. Of course, it always seemed to help that the Hurricanes would be picked to play in the Orange Bowl New Year’s Day game itself, which was essentially a home game against the then, Big Eight conference champion for so many years.
One of those coaches, Jimmy Johnson, told the site about his favorite Canes memory,
“The most obvious favorite memory of the Orange Bowl was going undefeated and winning the national championship against Oklahoma (1988). It was so rewarding because we were disappointed from the 11-1 record the year before. One was one of my favorite memories, the other was my biggest disappointment.”
The man who led Miami’s monumental National Championship win over Nebraska in the 1984 New Year’s Day Orange Bowl, Bernie Kosar, said of that game/that stadium,
“For me, our program-defining game was against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl for the 1983 National Championship. During that game, coach Howard Schnellenberger trusted me, a freshman, to throw it aggressively downfield from the first play.
“The confidence and belief that all our coaches and players had in me meant I had an enormous responsibility and I wasn’t going to disappoint. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but failure was not an option.”
The five national titles, the 19 All-Americans and two Heisman winners (Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta) who were part of Miami football in the Orange Bowl obviously made it even more special to put on the Orange and White there.
“I think it’s going to be special for us. I think it’s going to be special for all football fans in South Florida. Just setting the GPS on the car and turning down there, parking in somebody’s front yard and walking into Marlins Park and just seeing a football game.
“It’s obviously a little disorienting. The field goes north-south instead of east-west like it used to back in the OB, but it will be great to be back in Little Havana. It should be a great atmosphere in there.”
Of course on the other sideline with the FIU Panthers is former Hurricanes coach, Butch Davis, who was the architect of the turn-around in the early 2000s for Miami becoming a National Championship program, again.
Davis had previously been an assistant with Jimmy Johnson for the further rise of Miami football post-Howard Schnellenberger in the mid-1980s.
So while the players on the field Saturday for both schools weren’t born when there Hurricanes truly became “The U,” it’s still a neat bit of a nostalgia that they will be playing at a place that used to mean so much to the fabric of college football in South Florida.
Hurricanes QB Williams intends to transfer
The only constant for the last two seasons with the Miami Hurricanes quarterback position has been change and with the addition of Houston transfer D’Eriq King earlier this week, it apparently means more changes are on the way for the competition.
Sports Illustrated college football Insider Pat Forde reported Thursday afternoon that the Miami starter for most of the season, freshman Jarren Williams, has entered the NCAA transfer portal:
SI source: Miami QB Jarren Williams is putting his name in the transfer portal. With the arrival of D’Eriq King, his circumstance has obviously changed at The U.
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) January 23, 2020
Williams won the starting job for first-year coach Manny Diaz and now-fired former offensive coordinator Dan Enos, during fall practice what had an up-and-down season. He played in all 12 games with a 61% completion percentage and had a 19/7 TD to INT ratio.
However, more importantly the Hurricanes offense as a whole went down the tubes. This was especially in their final three games Williams was at the helm for the stunning loss to Florida International, where he threw three interceptions.
He and the Canes followed that with a road loss at awful Duke, where Williams tallied only 142 yards with a TD. And, worst yet, with rumors swirling everywhere that Enos was about to be fired, a game in Independence Bowl where the QB had just 92 yards and an INT Miami failed to score in a 14 – 0 defeat to Louisiana Tech.
King is the presumptive starter after having a successful two seasons at Houston. His best year was 2018 with nearly 2,900 yards in the air with 36 passing TDs and only 6 INTS.
However, he was benched by new coach Dana Holgorsen earlly this year and is a graduate transfer that is immediately eligible.
Miami also has the part-time starter from the last two years N’kosi Perry, as well as former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell, who transferred and was immediately eligible this past season. However, Martell couldn’t beat Williams or Perry out for playing time, but he did play briefly at time at wide receiver.
Back to Williams, he still has three years of eligibility remaining but unless he gained some kind of waiver he would have to sit hey transfer year next season.
Not so fast on QB D’Eriq King coming to Hurricanes?
24 hours later it doesn’t look dead certain that Houston transfer quarterback D’Eriq King will end up at the University of Miami after all.
In fact, it may be several days before we know the coveted grad transfer QB decides to do.
This after a report Sunday out of Houston from Fox 26 Sports director Mark Berman ,who got comments from King about his short term plans and visits:
D’Eriq King (@DeriqKing_), who is transferring from @UHCougarFB, says he has yet to make a final decision on where he’s going: “I haven’t committed to anybody yet. I’m still looking at my options. I visited Miami. I liked it, but there are other options I’m still trying see to..” pic.twitter.com/E4kz2xypWR
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 19, 2020
It is interesting that King is considering Maryland in the mix in addition to powerhouse LSU and possibly trying to revitalize Miami.
As our Jamil King wrote on Sunday it looked like the Houston standout quarterback was “e-ticketed” for Coral Gables and to come as a package deal with newly hired offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Lashlee, who has previously been at Auburn and the SMU offensive coordinator the last couple of seasons, was hired two weeks ago to help jump start the Canes disastrous offense from the second half of last year.
Quarterback play plagued the Canes in 2019 with Jarren Williams showing flashes of great play followed by freshman mistakes and inconsistency. N’kosi Perry found his way into some games, but was also inconsistent in his own right. Miami suffered humiliating losses to FIU and at Duke to close the regular season.
Then, the Hurricanes were completely inept in the Independence Bowl, while being shut out 14-0. This, while rumors were swirling everywhere that coach Manny Diaz would be firing his first year offensive coordinator, Dan Enos. Enos, who had been the QB coach at Alabama, was fired the next day.
Back to King, if the Hurricanes are able to land him, they get a player who over his career at the University of Houston threw for 4,925 yards for an average of 8.2 yards per attempt and tossed 50 touchdowns with only ten interceptions.
King also completed almost 62% of his passes with the Cougars, adding another 28 touchdowns on the ground. He promises to bring some explosives, something the Canes desperately needed, if they can land him.
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