Over the last week, I had a chance to sit down with the football team’s Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Art Kehoe. Kehoe currently holds the longest tenure of any UM athletics figure.
Q: Was it a good decision to interview in-house for the offensive coordinator position?
A: Everybody has his or her own ideas, but I think that’s why Larry interviewed in-house. He likes what we are doing on offense, and he likes our balance on run and pass, and what he does with different personnel groups, so it was a good decision to keep it in-house. The key to our success is we try to get the ball in everybody’s hands.
Q: Does Dan Werner getting the position create a rift between him and the other coaches who interviewed for the job, but did not get it?
A: No, we are all striving to move forward and we all have goals, but we realize we are part of a tremendous program and we are lucky to be a part of it. We have won 46 of 50 games – no one is even close to that – and we have put more people in the NFL than anyone in football and played in bigger games than anybody in football. No school has ever done four [BCS] bowl games in four years. Certainly, we are all competitive and we all wanted a shot at that job, but we have one of the best jobs in the country anyway and our No. 1 goal is to keep this thing on track.
Q: What would you say to people who argue that this last season was not a good year?
A: Every year, I find out when you have a program like UM, you tend to dwell on the negative things, the guys you don’t get recruiting, and the games you don’t win. The fumbles and the turnovers were the difference between us going to the national title game this year. So, in our off-season film study, we will concentrate on those things and on the games we lost. The reality is that this program is remarkable. We have 17 first round picks in the last four years; no team has ever had more than 11 or 12 in a four-year period.
Q: The University of Miami is in the middle of recruiting season. Can you talk a little bit about the recruiting process?
A: We are fortunate to have some of the best recruits in the country in our back yard, and we are fortunate to go out of state and get the big name players as well. We’ve done a heck of a job of recruiting and winning. The point is I know we will do well in recruiting, but the thing is people will dwell on the few guys we won’t get. That’s just the nature of the beast.
Q: What are your thoughts on the performance of Brock Berlin last season? Will he be the starting quarterback next season?
A: I think Brock Berlin struggled but it wasn’t just him, the offensive line struggled as well. We had 34 penalties in 13 games, which is disgraceful. At the minimum, we have to cut that in half and we had 14 or 15 sacks and we would like to knock that number down too. People want to blame it all on Brock, but it was his first year starting and he won’t give up his job easily. It will be an interesting battle for the position and whomever we decide on, that guy will have to be better than what we had last year, but we have a lot of areas we need to improve in.
Q: What kind of pressure does being expected to win the title put on this team every season?
A: Coach Coker tells our team every year that each season is a journey and you have to take one game at a time. The next two years we are going to have total focus of our players because we are opening with Florida State, and they are the barometer that this program is judged on. We want to try to win the state of Florida, the conference, and then the culmination is to play for the national title. If you tell your team the goal is to win the national title and you get knocked off early, you may knock your team off from accomplishing any of the goals they want to accomplish.
Darren Grossman can be contacted at email@example.com.