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Saturday, 28 February 2015

College Football 2015: Is This Al Golden's Last Season in Miami?

If there was a definitive reason to believe Al Golden is underachieving at the University of Miami, take a look at the recent NFL Scouting Combine. Speed, speed and more speed. Talent, talent and more talent. Six Hurricanes players could be drafted in the first three rounds and while it is not the same kind of explosive talent pool “The U” used to have, there is still a lot to smile about in south Florida.

What is going on down there and more importantly, is head coach Al Golden in over his head and is the seat in his office more than warm.  There are plenty of positives in Miami, but it’s viewed differently than it used to be when national titles came along more readily than Presidential elections.

From the player’s perspective, not the coaching on the sidelines.

The issue was questioned and discussed by Fox Sports and Bruce Feldman. He acknowledged the players at the combine, especially Philip Dorsett and Anthony Chickillo – two stars who helped themselves with their performances over the weekend.

With eight players participating in Indy and many of them projected to go among the top 50 picks, how did Miami still finish the 2014 college football season with a sub-.500 record?

For those reasons and the fact the school finished the season 6-7 and lost a heartbreaker to FSU, lost to Virginia, Pittsburgh and then their bowl game to South Carolina, it could have been a clear message to Golden this may be a “win or else” kind of season.

 "They had one of the best running backs in college football (Duke Johnson); the best tight end (Clive Walford); the fastest wideout (Phillip Dorsett); one of the best O-linemen (Ereck Flowers); one of the top linebackers (Denzel Perryman); and the guy who was the most impressive player at the East-West game (DE Anthony Chickillo), and I know they got a young QB that's a stud too (freshman Brad Kaaya)," one longtime NFL scout told FOX Sports in Indy. "They had more front-line talent than half the teams in the SEC. They didn't have as much talent as Florida State, but they were still pretty loaded. How does that team not win at least nine games in that league?"

This season, without these stars, but with a solid young nucleus led by sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya, things must be better with the 2015 schedule.

Feldman asked some of the Miami players for their take on how a team with such talent could still have a losing record.

"I explain it by saying that it's the little things," Johnson said. "A lot of things that you don't do, that you just take for granted as a team, it shows up in games."

But Johnson said it's "not fair" to point the finger at head coach Al Golden. "At the end of the day, he's gonna take the blame because he's the head coach, but it's not on him."

That’s debatable since the talent and the results did not match or was not exceeded. The natives in Miami have been restless, with the program essentially becoming an afterthought in the ACC with the inclusion of Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse and the part-time addition of Notre Dame. All of this adds up to more pressure at the top of the ladder.

And for Golden, that ladder is shaky at best.


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