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Jon Gruden: 2001 Miami Hurricanes Best College Football Team Ever

As an unabashed Canes fan, you know I’m not going to miss an opportunity to give some love to my Hurricanes, especially when it was prompted by somebody else. After Andre Johnson caught a touchdown prior to halftime of the Ravens-Texans Monday night game, analyst and former coach Jon Gruden began praising Miami.

Introducing what seemed to be a prepared piece by ESPN, Chucky said that the 2001 Miami team was the best college football team ever. He pointed out how 38 of the 89 players on the team were drafted, including 17 in the first round. They showed a team photo and spot-shadowed Andre Johnson and Ed Reed (both of whom were playing in the Monday night game) and mentioned Willis McGahee, who was also playing in the game. Other running backs on that Miami team were Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, and Najeh Davenport. In addition to Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow II caught passes from Ken Dorsey. Defensive stars included Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Vince Wilfork, and Antrel Rolle and Sean Taylor as backups.

Gruden said he wished he had some of those players on his teams and that’s why he’s out of a job. Then he got in the ultimate line saying that team could win the NFC West this year. Of course that’s not true, but it’s funny and it shows how stacked Miami was. Now that we’ve gotten the sucking up out of the way, let’s dive into some real analysis.

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Will Al Golden Be Dedicated to Miami or Hope to Replace Joe Paterno?

Dream jobs. Everyone has them, most never get to experience them. When the USC head coaching job became available, Lane Kiffin ditched Tennessee to take the gig of his dreams. When the Michigan job became available, Les Miles remained at LSU where they raised his contract value. Now that he’s been hired by Miami to replace Randy Shannon, will Al Golden be dedicated to the U or hope to return to Penn State?

Golden is 41 years old and has coached at Temple the past five years. The name should be familiar for UCLA fans because Golden interviewed for the Bruins’ head coaching job in 2007 which went to Rick Neuheisel. Temple had gone 1-11, 2-9, and 0-11 in the three years preceding Golden’s tenure, and they went 1-11 in his first year on the job. The turnaround under Golden however was swift; the Owls went 4-8, 5-7, 9-4, and then 8-4 this year under Al. In 2009, they reached their first bowl game since 1979 (a loss to UCLA at the Eagle Bank Bowl).

Golden is a defensive specialist who has served as defensive coordinator at Virginia, and linebackers coach at BC and Penn State. He is said to be a tireless recruiter and one of the best in the country (he got players to Temple, right?). Turning around the program at Temple was termed nearly miraculous, but it does not guarantee success at Miami where coaches in the state of Florida and in the ACC are of a much higher quality than the MAC.

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Donald Trump Tells Miami President to Hire Mike Leach

Three years ago, Donald Trump expressed his discontent with Miami University president Donna Shalala for hiring Randy Shannon and not Mike Leach to coach the Hurricanes.  Shannon certainly didn’t work out, and now Shalala is responsible for hiring another head coach.  While many reports indicate Jon Gruden will be the heir to the U throne, Trump continues to lobby for his buddy, Leach.  Check out this note he sent Shalala in typical Trump fashion:

For those of you who have normal eyes and can’t read that, here’s what the note says:

Donna, you made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech — look what’s happened to them since he left [something no one can seem to read] — Hire Coach Leach and you will be number one. Best wishes, Donald — And you can get him for the right price. Best wishes, Donald.”

Keep in mind that as of Tuesday night College Football Talk was reporting that Jon Gruden will be the next Hurricanes coach, “barring a last-minute glitch.”  Hopefully it works out.  I’d hate to be Shalala and have to decipher one of these obnoxious notes again if it doesn’t.

Report: Jon Gruden to Coach Miami Hurricanes Football

It’s been almost two years since Jon Gruden was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a 9-7 season in 2008. Not long after the surprising move was made by the Bucs, Gruden was hired by ESPN to provide commentary on Monday Night Football. He’s spent his time speaking glowingly about players, slipping secret handshakes while waiting for the right coaching opportunity to come along.

Chucky reportedly talked with the Cowboys after Wade Phillips was let go, but nothing serious happened. Apparently he has been interested in the Miami job since Larry Coker was fired, and now numerous people are reporting that Jon Gruden will be the next coach of the Canes.

Lake Lewis Jr. reported on twitter that Gruden will be the next Miami coach for the price of about $3 million per season. Compensation issues seemed to be the difference between the sides — Gruden could easily command around $4 million per season in the NFL and reportedly did not want to take a paycut to coach at Miami. $3 million per season seems like a cut, but it would also make him extremely well paid as a college coach.

Gruden has always crossed me as an excellent coach. He took Oakland’s passing game to astronomical levels and turned Rich Gannon into a Pro Bowler and MVP (Gannon won MVP in Gruden’s first year at TB). He won the Super Bowl his first year at Tampa Bay, and won the NFC South two other times. Despite the lack of quarterback consistency, Gruden seemed to always have the Bucs competitive. He made the most of Brad Johnson, Chris Simms, Brian Griese, Bruce Gradkowski, and Jeff Garcia — not exactly a collection of franchise quarterbacks.

OPINION: Miami is “not a marquee program

If Gruden has indeed accepted the job at Miami, the big question is how he’ll fit in as a college coach. He coached in the pros from 1992-2008 and hasn’t dealt with recruiting and boosters for two decades. He has a huge name and an outstanding offensive reputation, so drawing local playmakers to The U should not be a problem. If you want to know what the real problem might be, read this.

Airplane Banner Called Randy Shannon’s Firing at Miami (Picture)

Randy Shannon was fired as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes football program Saturday evening following the team’s loss to South Florida. While Shannon is a fine man and a good recruiter, the move was necessary for the program to get back to powerhouse levels. Many Canes fans shared the same feelings about the program, but one particular fan decided to share his thoughts by flying an airplane banner around the stadium Saturday, as I learned from SbB Live via The Palm Beach Post. Here’s a picture of the banner:

“4 Years 0 ACC Titles Lots of Excuses Fire Shannon” is what the banner said. It was put pretty bluntly but tells some of the story of the program recently. I wouldn’t have gone out there and had an airplane banner fly around calling for Shannon’s head (I only would have written that here on the site).

Pic via Paul Station

Mark May: Miami ‘Is Not a Marquee Program,’ Not Playing for Championships

Media commentators often say crazy, off-the-wall things just to get attention and rile up fan bases. If that was ESPN analyst Mark May’s objective on Saturday night, he certainly succeeded, but at the cost of his credibility.

Maybe he was just assigned to defend Randy Shannon, who was fired Saturday as Miami’s head coach, but May’s position was absurd. On College Football Final, May said “I think for the Miami administration their expectations are too high right now. Randy Shannon was brought in to right the ship, to be a disciplinarian, to make sure that these kids stay out of trouble, and to turn the program around. That’s exactly what he did. This is the 4th year of his administration. This is the third bowl game in the fourth year he’s been there.

Yes, they’re not playing for national championships, but look at the Miami situation — they don’t have great facilities, they’re playing in a stadium 20 miles away, in a 73,000 seat stadium, they only have 27,000 fans on average in the stadium. So when you look at the entire situation, this is not a marquee program. This is not 2001. This is not 2002. This is 2010. … the fans think they are better than they are.”

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Miami Wearing Ugly Nike Pro Combat Jerseys Against Virginia Tech

Watching Miami play Virginia Tech on Saturday, it wasn’t their hot start or decision to go with Stephen Morris at quarterback that stood out. Oh no, it was their hideous garb that was most noticeable. As planned since the beginning of the season, Miami wore its Nike Pro Combat uniforms for their game against Virginia Tech in their version of dress like FAMU day. I’m sure the jerseys have some sort of amazing functions (guaranteed to make you run faster and jump higher!), but at some point you’re just sacrificing too much in the way of aesthetics for whatever upside these unis are supposed to provide. Here are pics from the jersey unveiling back in September, courtesy of CaneSport.com:

Now we just have to figure out what’s worse: the Under Armour jerseys Utah wore, or these ones.