This article was written for Canespace by blogger UMIke...
Finishing the college football season 6-7 with four straight losses to close out the year will sting most football programs. When two of those losses are against teams named Virginia and Pittsburg, it really stings. But when that happens to the University of Miami, it is downright painful.
While most programs with a tradition as rich as Miami’s would have made a change after a season such as this, our current administration choose not to. It has been well documented here on CaneSpace that this lack of change rustled the feathers of many Cane fans, myself included. Those rustled feathers grew into frustration, which grew into hate… a hate that almost brought this beloved blog to a screeching halt. Since I am a known and documented hater on this blog, I thought most of the hate towards the staff and administration was warranted. Haters like me were simply hurting.
But like most painful things in life, time heals. With spring ball in the books, last season seems like a distant memory. While the fact that Al Golden is still our coach is a hard pill to follow for some fans, the reality is we cannot change that fact. With that being said, it is a great time to look forward to some of the positive things happening with our beloved football program. Here are some of the many things of us fans have to look forward to in 2015.
A continued social media onslaught: Some have criticized this area of the program, myself included, but this is one area that Al Golden and staff have excelled at. While most fans would prefer to see on-field results instead, we cannot change those results without some off-field results. This is a different day and age and social media is now a huge part in the daily lives of young athletes everywhere. Golden and staff have been pioneers when it comes to the use of social media to reach out to recruits and to help further build Miami’s brand. The #SWAG16 hashtag and slogan has taken on a life of its own and may be part of the reason Miami’s 2016 class has filled up so quickly. With it spreading so fast and more and more recruits tweeting about it, some players may feel the need to not miss the bus and become a part of something special. The staff has also made it a point to announce player commitments or potential commitments loud and clear with statements like “Welcome to the U” or “Another Flag Planted” etc. This gives the players a feeling of being wanted, shows that the staff is genuinely happy they have decided to commit to Miami. This also informs rivals coaches that this is OUR State. So while it may be seen as needless or over-the-top by some, there is no doubt this is having a positive effect on the program.
An improved defense: I have been known to call out my buddy Go Canes for comments I consider to be nothing more than “homerism”. One of the most blatant cases being his continued belief that Miami’s defense would improve because they were deeper and more talented, especially along the defensive line. For the last couple of seasons I simply laughed this off as pure homer talk. But this year… this year looks different. One of my biggest issues with Golden has been his seeming unwillingness to change anything. It has come across to me that he truly believed his system was the best available and he was just missing the talent or smarts to execute said system. This stubborn stance had him destined to fail in my opinion. It seems however, that Golden actually went and sought advice in regards to his defense and has implemented changes accordingly. Seeking advice from Pete Carroll was a very, very smart move and proves maybe Golden can change some of his stripes after all. We have heard the coaches as well as players speak about the changes, and one recurring theme seems to be more aggression. With changes to gap assignments, more pressure on the quarterback and an overall more attacking style defense, this year’s defense has the potential to be the best Miami has had in years. The talent is there, especially along the defensive line. The deep and talented defensive haul from the 2014 class should pay dividends this season. For those who forgot the 2014 class included many 4 and 5 star kids including Chad Thomas, Trent Harris, Demetrius Jackson, Anthony Moten and Mike Smith. That class also had plenty of underrated talent in the way of Courtel Jenkins, Michael Wyche, Calvin Heurtelou and others. If Golden sticks with these changes and a more aggressive style, look for an improved defense this upcoming season.
Top 5 recruiting class: Unless you have been living under a rock, you know Miami’s 2016 class is already loaded. Although it is early, Miami is currently enjoying the second ranked class in the nation. The 2016 class already has 9 players rated 4-stars or better by at least one of the major recruiting services. I expect that number to grow. Miami currently has 9 players from the ESPN300 with more than a few more left to grab. Of Miami’s current 20 commits, all 20 are from the State of Florida with a whopping 15 from Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. We all know that is a recipe for success at the University of Miami.
Stay tuned for part 2 when we will take a look at a few more reasons to be positive heading into next season included Brad Kaaya, a healthy and hardworking Stacy Coley and more...