Miami has run out of options, run out of last-ditch hopes. All that remain are a few guarantees.
The only guarantees the Hurricanes have for the season’s last two games, including this Saturday’s matchup against South Florida, aren’t very positive. Miami won’t finish the season with a win against Florida State, won’t earn a trip to the ACC championship game, and depending on the results of these next few games, may not have life much past Thanksgiving.
Head coach Al Golden knows these truths to be apparent for his players, certainly for the seniors and NFL-ready prospects soon to be gone from Coral Gables forever. But Golden does not preach destinations, not even product. The process he preaches and demands his players adhere to doesn’t allow for much reflection, until the process has run its course.
“You’re not going to get these days back, and you’re not going to get these games back,” he said. “Just enjoy the journey.”
The journey this year has been far from easy and, depending on what the NCAA decides, may be far from over. But if ACC contention is out of the question and simple bowl eligibility may not be enough for a Canes postseason, only the games left on the schedule are promised. Now that the guessing is over, what else is there to do but enjoy the fleeting moments while they last?
“Enjoy being here in Coral Gables and at the University of Miami,” Golden said. “Every time you meet, every time you’re in the locker room, every time you go get something to eat on campus, enjoy those moments because when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.”
Golden’s tone during his weekly press conference, while appropriate for a season nearing its end, sharply contrasts with the tunnel-visioned ‘Process’ he took to spouting about whenever a distraction or life-changing moment took place. Whether it be rushing for a thousand yards or having the walls fall down around you when your name is placed alongside a billion-dollar ponzi schemer, The Process was something infallible in nature.
The Process has no need for distractions, no need for moments to stop and reflect. Processes, by their very nature, move forward. Onward. Those moments fill the entire season, and appropriately for their record, stack evenly both positively and negatively.
For the negative moments, plenty of time has passed for realities to set in and, hopefully, grow from and move on. The Process is a guarantee, no matter what else happens.
“We just have to prepare and play well and everything else will take care of itself,” Golden said. “Thinking about [the postseason] is not going to help us prepare or find ways to stop Daniels or take care of [defensive tackle] Corey Grissom inside on the defense. For us, we just have to get ready for the game and let that take care of itself.”
What changes if it doesn’t? Not much. There aren’t many different ways two games can go. But for the players, it’s all they have left.
Until next week, that is, when the process starts over again. It always has a way of working itself out.