Sunday, November 11, 2007
A Disgraceful Exit
UM players Jason Fox and Richard Gordon walk off the field after UM's 48-0 loss to Virginia inthe final game at the Orange Bowl
In all the years I've been watching University of Miami football, last night's 48-0 loss to Virginia in the Orange Bowl's fairwell was the worst performance I've ever seen. This is truly rock bottom. This is worse than the 47-0 loss to FSU in 1997. Back then, the program was on probation and lost over 20 scholarships. It's clear the talent level has significantly dropped off during the Larry Coker years. Randy Shannon inherited a mess.
But Randy Shannon and his staff also have to take a lot of blame for what happened Saturday night. This team was not properly prepared. The fact that they played with zero emotion really has me puzzled. With all the tradition, nostalgia and the presence of all the great players from the past, you would think every player wearing the UM uniform would be motivated to play their best.
I was especially embarassed for the great former players who came back and witnessed this desecration. An ESPN sidelline reporter interviewed Bennie Blades during the game. You could see the painful expression on his face. He wasn't angry. But he looked very sad. For a moment, I thought Blades was going to cry. All those great players left their blood, sweat and tears on that field. And to see this year's UM team play, they're not worthy of wearing that uniform.
I know it sounds harsh, but Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman should turn in their scholarships. In fact, every player who participated in that abortion is not worthy of representing The U. The players and coaches should all be ashamed of themselves. They embarassed the university, the city and most importantly themselves. At the same time, I have to give Virginia credit for playing a flawless game. When you win 48-0, you are the better team. And there's no question the better team won last night. But you can't justify the margin of victory in this game. Can you believe the Las Vegas oddsmakers had the Canes as a slim favorite?
Randy Shannon has a lot of work to do. He must literally flush out the heartless and mediocre talent left behind by Coker. I like the recruiting class he's bringing in. Those kids and the next couple of recruiting classes will determine Shannon's legacy. But bringing in good talent is just part of the equation. Shannon's staff must do a better job of preparing that talent to play. I'm not impressed with Patrick Nix as an offensive coordinator. I didn't like him when he was at Georgia Tech and I certainly don't care for him right now. Tim Walton doesn't impress me as the defensive coordinator. The defense has clearly taken a few steps backwards under his watch.
As for Shannon himself, he needs to make sure these kids don't quit. I don't expect UM to win the next two games against Boston College and Virginia Tech. However, this team needs to at least put together better effort. Nobody associated with the current University of Miami team is blameless. We're going to find out what kind of heart--or lack there of--this team has. So far, the answer is the latter.
So along Orange Bowl. You deserved better.