Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 31, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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34 OCT. 31, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MATT JONES W hen Miami has the right coach, it can be as good as any program in the country. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, 10-plus years of bad coaching has turned a powerhouse into a signifi- cant rebuilding j o b . T h a t l o n g drought is some- thing first-year head coach Mark Richt is trying to overcome. "When Miami has its coaching staff right, Mi- ami is a top-10 team with a lot of great players," C a n e S p o r t . c o m p u b l i s h e r G a r y Ferman said. "The pool that it re- cruits from is as good as anybody in the country. You can go back 30 years of Miami football history and whenever the coaching staff was right, Miami won." The Hurricanes haven't won 10 games since 2003, their final season in the Big East. Miami joined the At- lantic Coast Conference prior to the 2004 season, but hasn't reached the consistent level of success it had in the early 2000s, when it appeared in four straight Bowl Championship Se- ries games, finished in the Associated Press poll's top five each season and won the 2001 national title. Rebuilding Miami to that champi- onship level is a monumental task. The 2001 Hurricanes had 17 future first-round NFL Draft selections and 38 total draft picks. Of the 22 starters in their 37-14 win over Nebraska in the 2001 national title game, 11 of the 18 who were drafted went in the first round. "Those teams had some just ab- solutely great players who went on to have long careers in the National Football League and were among the best guys at their position and happened to be on the same college team at the same time," Ferman said. "You're talking about some of the best teams in college football history when you go back to that time period in Miami football history. "This team can't compare to that. It has some good players, but it doesn't have a lot of great players and no- where near along the lines of what they had back then. A lot of those guys, their pictures line the practice field at Miami, and if you take a look at those pictures and you take a look at the current team, and you ask yourself how many guys on the cur- rent team can beat out any of those guys who are pictured on the fence of the practice field, you probably wouldn't come up with one. Now that said, that doesn't mean that Mi- ami can't be very quickly a major player in college football." The Hurricanes have top-25 cali- ber talent on their roster, though the on-field results have largely failed to match that. In 2012, Miami brought in the No. 9 re- cruiting class na- tionally according to Rivals. It also had the No. 19 class in 2013 and the No. 12 haul in 2014. Its 2015 and 2016 classes ranked 26th and 21st, respectively. T h a t d o e s n ' t m e a n M i a m i i s l a c k i n g s t a r pow er. C urren t starting quarter- back Brad Kaaya, a junior, is the No. 2-rated under- classmen QB for the 2017 NFL Draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. He was a four-star recruit in the 2014 class. Junior defensive end Chad Thomas was a five-star prospect. Sophomore running back Mark Walton, senior wide receiver Stacy Coley and senior cornerback Corn Elder were four stars. M i a m i c u r r e n t l y h a s t h e No. 11-rated recruiting class by Ri- vals. A major part of its downfall un- der head coaches Randy Shannon (2007-10) and Al Golden (2011-15) was either poor recruiting or mis- identifying talent. "They stopped recruiting as well as they did in those days and started making a lot of recruiting mistakes and signing players that weren't good enough or shouldn't have been good enough to play at Miami," Fer- man said. "They weren't doing a good enough job of evaluation, and then in some cases weren't doing a good enough job of developing the players that they did get." Ferman said while the program slumped under Shannon — includ- GAME PREVIEW: MIAMI Facts & Figures MIAMI VS. NOTRE DAME Game Info Date: Oct. 29, 2016. Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795). Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Television: NBC. Radio: This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 129). Series Facts: This is the 26th all-time meet- ing between Miami and Notre Dame. The Irish beat the Hurricanes 41-3 in the previous meet- ing (2012 Shamrock Series at Soldier Field) and lead the series 14-7-1. Coaches: Miami — Mark Richt (4-2, first season); Notre Dame — Brian Kelly (57-28, seventh season). Noting Miami: Richt had a 145-51 record in 15 seasons as Georgia's head coach, win- ning at least 10 games nine times … He played quarterback at Miami from 1979-82, behind and alongside legendary Hurricanes Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde and Bernie Kosar … He was an assistant at Florida State under Bobby Bowden from 1990-2000, and served as the offensive coordinator the last seven seasons … Notre Dame has an 8-1 all-time record against the Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium and is 6-6-1 at Miami. BRINGING THE U BACK Miami is on the path to winning ways under first-year coach Mark Richt Senior wide receiver Stacy Coley — who had 22 catches for 291 yards and six touchdowns through five games — is one of several talented Hurricane skill players. PHOTO COURTESY MIAMI ATHLETICS

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