Things have gotten ugly in a hurry in South Florida for third-year hurricanes coach Mark Richt. Remember that it was just 52 weeks ago, that his team had upset #3 Notre Dame in a Saturday night blowout at Hard Rock Stadium to improve 9 – 0 and move into the top five of the college football playoff rankings, themselves..
Then, this weekend a year ago, they defeated Virginia at home in come from behind fashion to improve to 10 – 0 and appear to be in prime position to make the four team playoff.
However, six days after that win over the Cavaliers, Miami came crashing down against a four win Pittsburgh team on Black Friday. And in losing 24 – 14, not only did the Canes hopes of the College Football Playoff go away, but it began a downward spiral that has Richt in serious jeopardy of being fired.
The Hurricanes went on to lose badly to Clemson, although that was not unexpected, in the ACC Championship Game. However, with a month to prepare, they were then beaten by Big Ten runner-up Wisconsin decisively in the Orange Bowl to finish the year 10-3 after being 10-0.
The three game losing streak two left a bad taste in a lot of Hurricane fans and alumni mouths. Still, there was hope that the 2018 team would be much improved, get off to a fast start and erase what happened at the end of Richt’s second season.
That didn’t happen.
LSU hammered Miami in the opening weekend match-up at AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas, 33 – 17. And, that immediately brought the naysayers out that Richt and his staff were overmatched at “the U.”
Yes, Miami got it rolling against Savannah State and Toledo out of the MAC. And, they even defeated Crosstown rival Florida International for a three game win streak.
Then, the Hurricanes opened ACC play on a Thursday night with North Carolina and a 47 – 10 blowout included 6 times that “the turnover chain” was brought out. By the time Miami had roared back from a 20-point deficit against rival Florida State to squeak by 28 – 27, the Canes had won five straight games.
And, everybody was feeling good again about the rest of the ACC slate.
Then, Miami had to play the rest of that slate and they have not registered a single victory.
Losses at Virginia and BC, followed by a humbling defeat at home against Duke and then, a game that they stumbled through in Atlanta with Georgia Tech last week finished 27 – 21. A four game slide that has definitely made 10-0 a year ago a distant memory.
So, Miami goes into their final two ACC games at Virginia Tech Saturday and next Saturday at home with Pitt again, having to try to salvage something.
And the yelling on South Florida sportsradio, and the internet has intensified. More importantly, the disgruntled prominent Miami Hurricane former players and big time boosters have got lots of ammunition, if they’re wanting to see Richt gone.
If you weren’t totaling all of that up above, since losing that Black Friday last year, Richt and his Hurricanes have only won 2 out of 10 games against Power 5 Conference teams. And, those two wins are against North Carolina and Florida State, who are both awful this season.
We are hearing at F.F.I. that the prominent alumni former players of the Hurricanes (of which there are dozens and dozens) are growing louder and louder with wanting to see changes made. You’ve seen some of them popping off on social media over the course of the last month.
Earlier this week, former Canes wide receiver Randal Hill took to Miami sports radio station WQAM and made a vague, bizarre threat to expose things he knew about Mark Richt, if the coach did not make changes in his coaching staff after this season.
Hill was specifically talking about Richt relinquishing the play calling duties to a real offensive coordinator.
Former Miami All-American defensive tackle and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Warren Sapp, didn’t hold back either, after the Duke loss:
— Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) November 4, 2018
There is apparently also a contingent a prominent Miami boosters that are dissatisfied with what they’ve seen at the end of last season and in the middle of this year. And when the people with the big bucks aren’t happy…….
So, that brings us to Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg Virginia against the Hokies. Miami had better be sharp, whether it is redshirt freshman N’kosi Perry back at quarterback or the fifth-year senior, Malik Rosier, the Canes have to have a good performance and a win.
If not, there will be an uprising headed into the final game at home with Pitt and you will hear more and more about how Mark Richt potentially losing the final six games of this season will cause him to be fired. Fired, just one year after being undefeated late and in the playoff picture.
And, the critics are pointing to the losing stats above, where the breaks haven’t been going Miami’s way, and Richt can’t figure out how to stop turnovers, bad penalties, missed tackles and more losing.
Now, If you’re wondering about Richt’s contract, he originally signed a 6-year deal in 2015, but the Canes actually extended that contract earlier this year through the year 2023. Although Miami is a private university and does not have to disclose coaching salary and contract terms, it is believed that Richt is making over $4 million a year. And, the University would have to pay him most or all of what remains on his deal.
That should be in the neighborhood of $20 million dollars, unless something else could be negotiated or there’s an unknown “out clause.”
Would that kind of financial buyout looming be enough to keep Richt around for another season, despite losing out in the final six games of 2018?
Unfortunately for Hurricane fans, we may be about to find out.
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.