Sports

Football program facing end of an era

When Isaac Newton observed “what goes up must come down,” he had no way of knowing that he was perfectly describing the 2006 Miami Hurricanes.

After consecutive 9-3 seasons with Peach Bowl appearances, and now a 1-2 start, the ‘Canes seem to be on a downward spiral. And Head Coach Larry Coker is feeling the worst of it.

Coaching a national championship in 2001, finishing second in 2002, holding a No.5 ranking in 2003 preseason polls and an impeccable reputation in regard to handling players isn’t enough when you’re at the U.

Especially when you drop from the top 25 rankings-completely.

If this were a high school team or even a big state school, Coker would be a god. He would be praised for making ethically correct decisions that teach the players life lessons, no matter what the cost to the team. He would be applauded for being gracious in a loss and always staying optimistic.

But this doesn’t work in a big-time football program like at the University of Miami. Sure, some players have to be held accountable for their actions, but is it worth losing big games, prestige and ultimately funding?

It used to be easy to be a Hurricane fan.

Waking up on Saturday with a feeling that your team was going to stomp whoever they happened to be playing, no matter what, has been replaced with embarrassment.

There’s no more bragging.

Only those fans who, although they don’t know exactly how, hope to see this team turn back around are left.

On Saturday in Louisville, the team stormed onto the field and made a statement, rallying together and getting hyped to beat a team they had never before lost to. Unfortunately, the ‘Canes were unable to back up their talk.

Now Louisville’s program is on the up and UM is on a slippery slope.

What happened to the Hurricanes who could come back and win a game? What happened to the ‘Canes that never lost a game when they were named the underdog? What happened to the Hurricanes that could score in the second half?

They got too comfortable.

They became a brand name.

They let it slip away.

Now, whether Coker or someone new is head coach next season, it will be even harder to bring the program back to the lofty standards it once had.

It will be tough to recruit-not impossible, but tough-because there is no longer that aura of the five time national championship team who holds the NCAA record for most home games won. No, this is a completely new team.

Rumors have already begun to spread on high school recruit websites that potential players are pulling their intent to sign with Miami.

Athletic Director Paul Dee told the Miami Herald that fans should keep the faith. The question is: what is faith? Hurricane fans have never had to have faith before. They expect results. And until they see them, it’ll be hard to fill the Orange Bowl on Saturdays.

Enough talk.

Let’s see some action. Let’s see that team that used to storm into any stadium and proudly wear the U. Let’s see the team that didn’t give up until the clock ran out. Let’s see the real Miami Hurricanes.

Stacey Arnold may be contacted at s.arnold@umiami.edu.

September 22, 2006

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.