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Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes- now Bengals RB Mark Walton in more trouble

Florida Football Insiders

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
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Former Miami Hurricanes star, now Bengals RB Mark Walton is in trouble, yet again, in this offseason. And, you have to wonder if this his latest arrest is going to be the end of his career, which just began last year, in Cincinnati?

The Miami Herald reported Thursday, that Walton had turned himself in to Miami-Dade Police on an outstanding felony warrant for an incident earlier in March:

From the Herald item,

Walton is being charged carrying a concealed weapon, marijuana possession and reckless driving stemming from a high-speed car chase that happened on the night of March 12 in North Miami-Dade.

According to court documents, Miami-Dade police officers tried to pull over Walton’s rented BMW because it was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. The car abruptly pulled over in the front yard of a home in the 2300 block of Northwest 86th Street.

One officer saw Walton getting out of the car and ordered him to the ground. The speedy running back fell to the ground, the warrant said, but then “sprang to his feet” and ran off.

During the foot chase, an officer shot Walton in the back with a Taser stun gun, the warrant said. But Walton dislodged the electrified prongs, ran off and vanished, police said.

Officers searched the car and found 14 grams of marijuana, a 9mm carbine rifle and several fully loaded clips, police said. The rifle had been legally purchased by the running back, records show. Walton had also rented the BMW in his own name, police said. The officer who fired the stun gun also identified Walton as the man who led him on a chase.

This is not the only time Walton has been in trouble, since the season ended.

As we wrote in February, he allegedly got into the dispute with a woman that he did not know, and was arrested by the Miami Police Department. The incident occurred in a parking garage at Walton’s residence over a dispute about Walton’s car blocking the entrance.

When an unidentified woman apparently attempted to record Walton using her cell phone, Walton grabbed the phone and struggled with the woman trying to get it back. Walton was taken into custody on a charge of battery.

The former Miami Hurricane was a 4th round pick of the Bengals a year ago who was active for 14 games but only carried the ball 14 times on the season for just 34 yards. He had an additional five catches for 41 yards on the year.

Walton is also awaiting a third different trial on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge from January of this year.

The Bengals fired Marvin Lewis at the end of the season and have just hired former Rams offensive coordinator Zach Taylor, as their new head coach.

Walton is likely facing NFL discipline for violations of the player conduct policy and this combined with the new coaching staff could end his time in Cincinnati soon.

Miami Hurricanes

Stunning loss to FIU shows Miami still isn’t back

Matt Zemek

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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On a recent Florida Football Insiders podcast, after Miami beat Louisville 52-27, I asked FFI columnist Jamil King if the Hurricanes had clearly turned the corner. It was not only easy, but logical, to be optimistic.

After all, Miami had truly cleaned up its act since the late-game escape in Pittsburgh The Canes then crushed Florida State on the road in the kind of physical, focused performance a good team delivers against a rival. Miami then scored over “half a hundred” against a Louisville team, which had defeated Wake Forest and Virginia this year.

Miami offered three straight convincing performances – somewhat shaky against Pitt, but good enough to win on the road against a decent opponent. Then, Miami maxed out on defense against Florida State and maxed out on offense against Louisville.

The Georgia Tech loss was a distant memory. The pronounced struggles of the offense in the first half of the season felt very remote. This was a different Miami team over the past three weeks.

Just to be sure, the Canes had a week off to rest, refocus, and recharge for the final two games of the season, one against Duke and one this weekend against Florida International.

Yes, Florida International viewed this game as its “Super Bowl” and was always going to be jacked up for a date with Miami. Former UM head coach Butch Davis, who led Miami to a No. 2 national ranking in the 2000 college football season before moving to the pros with the Cleveland Browns, badly wanted this win.

Okay. Sure. Fine.

Butch Davis really wanted this game. I wanted a million dollars and my own national TV show. You probably wanted five million dollars and an oceanfront condo.

Badly wanting something doesn’t mean you’ll get it. In no reasonable universe should Florida International beat Miami. Come close, MAYBE, but certainly not beat the Canes.

GULP!

FIU didn’t merely beat Miami 30-24. FIU beat UP the Canes.

The Panthers were clearly better, clearly faster, clearly stronger, clearly better-coached.

Miami committed two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the same play.

Miami burned all its timeouts with 4:51 left in the game. The Canes threw a bunch of passes short of the sticks and in bounds on their last drives.

Miami couldn’t stop FIU when the Panthers recovered a late onside kick with just over three minutes left, and needed one first down to seal the win.

Miami’s offensive line couldn’t protect Jarren Williams.

As for Williams, he couldn’t protect the ball. Forget about making great plays; Williams couldn’t at least avoid huge mistakes. He had only thrown three interceptions all season coming into Saturday night. At the Miami Marlins baseball park Saturday night, he threw three of them, including two in the second half to dig the hole, further.

Miami wasn’t prepared at the start of the game. And, Manny Diaz’s staff didn’t make halftime adjustments. Miami kicked a field goal on fourth and two from the FIU 6 late in the third quarter, when trailing by 16 points.

What a disaster.

We at least have clarity on the question, “Has Miami turned the corner?” Nope. Not at all. No way.

At least this makes everyone sure of where the program stands entering next season. That, at least, is helpful, even if nothing about this game helped the Hurricanes.

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Miami Hurricanes

Canes return to familiar location for “home game” Saturday

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

And, first-year coach Manny Diaz has perspective on what it means to be back at that location, if not in the same stadium, as well. He told WQAM Radio in Miami this week,

“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.

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