Another season where the Miami Hurricanes struggled on the field, but on a day like today, let’s shift the focus to the good. There are countless reasons the U Family should be grateful on Thanksgiving and for all the time we spend ranting and raving on message boards, harping on coaches, players and empty stadiums, today is the optimum day to go the opposite route.
Below are some reasons I feel Hurricane Nation should give thanks. Would love to hear your reasons as well.
For starters, give thanks for the University of Miami and all the joy this program has brought us over the past several decades. There have been some rough patches, which seem to last forever, but the good has unprecedented. Five football national championships since 1983 and four baseball titles since 1982. Some huge wins and some magical evenings both at the Orange Bowl and Mark Light Field.
As UM fans, so much of our frustration with the down years are the fact that the bar was set so high in the first place due to so much success.
Truth be told, the University of Miami never had any business doing what it’s done athletically. A small private school in Coral Gables has become one of the biggest brands in football – be it Saturdays when college football is all the talk, or Sundays when NFL games are underway and teams are loaded with talent from ‘The U’.
Put the frustration aside for a moment and give thanks, not only for the fact that UM is your beloved program of choice – but for what this program has managed to accomplish over the years.
For those who missed the piece by the AP’s Tim Reynolds yesterday, click here and take the time to read it as soon as you’re done here.
Two years ago Golden took a job nobody wanted and two seasons later, it appears that he’s buckling down for the long haul, when lesser coaches would’ve run for the hills.
Every fan of this program wants to be back. They’re sick of losing. Something has to give. Well that all starts with the man in charge and Golden is the first real coach Miami has had since Butch Davis left down.
It takes time to rebuild. Golden took over a program that was in a six-year slump – a team that was 35-29 the previous five seasons before he came to town. He inherited an out-of-shape, entitled bunch and had to clean house immediately. The entire culture had to be razed and rebuilt the right way, which he’s doing.
UM isn’t the dream job some fans think it is. Private school. Off-campus stadium. Metropolitan city versus a college town. Pro sports franchises to compete with. Fickle fan base. A takes a special kind of coach to want this job. One with a vision. One who understands the risk versus the reward. One who marches to a different beat.
Kirby Hocutt didn’t do much for Miami in his short run as athletic director, but in December 2010 he pulled the trigger on the perfect candidate when he gave Golden his shot.
Fifteen years ago fans hired a plane to fly a banner over the Orange Bowl, blaming Davis for Miami’s failures. They wanted to run the man out of town mid-way through his rebuilding project. A few years later he set the Canes up with more talent than ever imagined. A 34-game win streak, four straight BCS games, two title game appearances and one national championship followed.
Golden preaches “the process”. Two years in, fans need to keep believing and to give thanks, not only for the man in charge, but for his commitment to cleaning up a mess he didn’t make.
With the past two guys bailing out well before rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done, Blake James looks to be a guy in for the long haul – and one can only hope that he earns the official title sooner than later.
Yesterday’s hammer from the NCAA really solidifies that it is “us against the world”. Miami fans oft bark that, but it’s proving truer and truer by the year.
James is one of ‘us’. He helped Miami through probation and sanctions years ago, he left to grow his resume and now he’s returned home, in search of the job he’s been working towards for years.
We need more of ‘our’ people as we weather the pending storm. Be thankful for Blake and hope that the powers that be give him his shot, officially, in the coming months.
Yes, things look extremely hairy with the NCAA right now – especially after the release of yesterday’s letter aimed at former players – but the dust will soon settle and when it does, a two-game bowl ban was likely the case no matter what and self-imposing helped Miami set a bar that other arrogant programs didn’t.
UM has attempted to stay in front of this investigation as much as it could, while cooperating in the process. All yesterday’s letter did was show the world the bullies the NCAA truly are and at some point, the court of public opinion will weigh in.
This two-year scandal has been a nightmare from the get-go and until it all plays out, there will be a million questions. Still, UM has played this thing better than an other in-hot-water university to date and in the end, that’s another reason to give thanks.
Give thanks that Golden and staff reeled in such an impressive class of overachievers and winners this past February. When Signing Day came and went, there was the hope that there would be some impact players who could make a difference.
At that point, these kids were just names on paper. YouTube highlight reels from high schoolers yet to prove what they could do at the next level.
Then fall arrived and Miami saw that the future was now as kids like Duke Johnson, Deon Bush, Ereck Flowers, Rayshawn Jenkins, Malcolm Lewis, Tyriq McCord, Tracy Howard and Herb Waters began making their presence felt.
Character kids, tomorrow’s superstars and players that will prove to be the cornerstone for this rebuilding process.
Earlier this week, former defensive lineman Olivier Vernon – suspended six games last year for his part in Nevingate – pissed and moaned about UM not having players’ backs (re: a second bowl ban).
Conversely, Duke said a day after the South Florida win that a bowl ban would be taken in stride and that all this year’s freshmen knew what they were signing up for and getting into. (And we as fans wonder how the culture got out of whack.)
Golden and staff got a ton out of these freshmen. If they can take a big leap into their sophomore years while another freshman class has an immediate impact, these Canes can take a nice step forward in 2013.
We all have our struggles in this life; pain is universal – but there are equally as many wonderful moments, as well.
Those incredible things that happen to us all – things we don’t always deserve, but things that tend to come along right when we need proof of something bigger or to get that lucky life bounce at the perfect time.
Personally, it’s been tough being a Cane these past few years – especially working in a business that thrives or struggles based on UM’s on-the-field play. Us allCanes folk are like a sub-U Family within the U Fam. When this team is in the toilet, we truly feel it from all angles.
But that’s where perspective must kick in, as well as trust in the bigger picture and the process. We remember the good days, we’ve survived the bad and we’ve been a part of every ascent and decent The U has seen these past thirty-plus years. This is simply another life season and a new one is just around the corner.
Appreciate the climb back to the top as it will make success that much more enjoyable when the Canes are finally back to a place we’re all used to.
And appreciate today, Hurricane Nation. Down time with friends and family. Good food. Football. Four days off. It’s a rare time a year. 2012 is winding a a close. Make these final weeks count and then gear up for all that 2013 will have waiting.
allCanes has our online sale today (25% off all orders), an in-store sale tomorrow (25% off all purchases) and come Saturday, our “bowl” game as Miami travels to Duke, playing for pride, for a seventh win and with the desire to end this season on a good note.
It may not have been how any of us would’ve drawn it up, but this is what is. This is our current reality and we can either let it make or break us. It’s all between our ears. Support the process, trust in The U and believe that better days are ahead.
Happy Thanksgiving. Spread the love. Go Canes.
Christian Bello has been covering Miami Hurricanes athletics since the mid-1990s. After spending almost a decade as a columnist for CanesTime, he launched allCanesBlog.com. – the official blog for allCanes.com : The #1 Canes Shop Since 1959. Bello has joined up with XOFan.com and will be a guest columnist at CaneInsider.com this fall. Follow him on Twitter @ChristianRBello.