Right now, South Florida weather is just beginning to cool off. The humidity has died down, but what hasn’t died down is the looming cloud over Canes football.
From 2011-2013, that cloud was the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal, which led the Hurricanes to self-impose bowl bans for the first two seasons of the Al Golden era.
Last season, though, alumni and students started to remember Miami’s glory days as the Canes went 7-0 heading into the Florida State game.
After that, Duke Johnson broke his ankle and the season continued to implode from there, ending in a blowout Russell Athletic Bowl loss against Louisville.
Fast forward to Saturday morning, hours before the Canes took on 4-0 Georgia Tech. There was a faint feeling of confidence in the air. Miami had come off a rainy and defensive win over 4-0 Duke, and fans saw a glimpse of what the much-maligned defense was truly made of: razor-sharp focus and hard-hitting stops on third down.
Then the Canes simply couldn’t make those same stops against a one-dimensional triple-option offense. Although that’s a tricky offense to stop with last-second pitches and quickly changing routes, it’s still mostly the act of running the ball. After a 28-17 loss, the Canes slid down to a 3-3 record halfway through the season, and many fans took to social media to spread their disgust.
Phillip Buchanon, a 10-year NFL cornerback and 2001 National Champion who retired in 2011, tweeted the day after the loss about his issues with Golden’s contract extension.
“Golden knows what he is doing because he wants to get fired,” he wrote. “He has guarantee (sic) money in the contract.”
Many of Buchanon’s followers have retweeted what they felt are insightful and hard-hitting truths about the team’s mediocrity.
It’s not just fans and alumni who have gotten tired of the broken record. Analysts and beat writers are also getting fed up, including the Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro, who posted on his Facebook page that he spoke to an NFL scout who said the Canes were underperforming.
“Also was told Canes have the second best NFL-caliber talent in the ACC behind the Seminoles. I asked ‘even Clemson?’ He said yes, in his opinion. Chew on that.”
Buchanon also tweeted a message from Navarro that basically said it’s been the same story for the past nine years that he’s covered the team.
“I’m bored at this point. And as I said last night, nobody running the show at UM really cares. They got past the NCAA mess, extended Golden through 2019, and are content with 6-6, 7-5, 8-4 or 9-3.”
It’s been a Jekyll and Hyde team the entire season. At one game the Canes look sharp and strong, and at the next they look porous. At least they’ll go into Saturday’s home game with the odds on their side.
Cincinnati is 2-2 after losing their first week against Stony Brook. Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel suffered a rib injury last week and will probably be out according to head coach Tommy Tuberville.
“I don’t see him playing,” Tuberville said. “He’s not much better than he was. I’m not going to put him out there if he’s not close to 100 percent. If Gunner plays it would be a limited role anyway.”
The Canes will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats for UM Family Weekend at 12 p.m. Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.