Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

After Short Hiatus, the U May Be Back

With the college football season kicking off this weekend, prognosticators have been in full force predicting what will happen this season; but the University of Miami, one of the most successful programs in the last 25 years, has become nothing more than an afterthought.

Five years ago, ESPN senior writer Buster Olney wrote a wonderful book about the 2001 World Series entitled “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty” – but what exactly was the last night of the Miami dynasty?

While USC’s three-year run under the leadership of Matt Leinart has received plenty of attention, memories of the Butch Davis/Larry Coker years in Coral Gables, Fla., have been replaced by visions of a bench-clearing brawl and a program run wild. After a 34-game win streak and more top draft picks than any other school, where did it all go wrong?

Some may point to Jan. 3, 2003, in the deserts of Arizona when official Terry Porter, after a 10-second delay, called Glenn Sharpe for pass interference in the back corner of the end zone on what would have been the final play of the Fiesta Bowl. The Hurricanes, riding a 34-game win streak, had already won a national title the year before and had legitimate claim to at least an appearance in the 2001 championship – they had an identical record to Florida State and had won in a head-to-head matchup.

But Miami was competitive in the years following Porter’s call. Instead it all came crashing down on Nov. 19, 2005, in the Orange Bowl when a blitz-happy Georgia Tech defense flustered quarterback Kyle Wright early and often to knock of the No. 3 ‘Canes. The loss knocked Miami out of contention for both the ACC Championship and the BCS. A month later came a 40-3 shellacking by LSU in the Peach Bowl followed by a post-game brawl in the tunnel – by all accounts it was the only victory for Miami on the night.

By the end of January, their fate was sealed. Kelly Jennings’ and Sinorice Moss’ time at The U was over, and Devin Hester decided he would skip his senior year and go pro. Suddenly, the team that had produced six first-round draft picks in 2004 was lacking talent. This year no Miami player was selected in the NFL draft for the first time since 1993.

But hope springs eternal for Miami. After a three-year stretch, which has seen a bench-clearing brawl, the tragic murder of senior leader Brian Patta and three sub-par seasons, Head Coach Randy Shannon may have finally turned the ship around. During his tenure, three top recruiting classes have come to Coral Gables and 16 starters return from last year’s team which, before dropping the final two regular season games, was in the mix for an ACC Coastal Division title.

The departure of Robert Marve and his spastic pocket presence means that the cool and calm sophomore Jacory Harris will be taking all the snaps. A Miami native, Harris showed flashes of brilliance last year as a true freshman, throwing for 12 touchdowns in split playing time.

ost importantly though, Shannon has remade the program in his no-nonsense image. A strict disciplinarian, he’s taken a program that had become synonomous – deservingly or not – with players run amok. After banning his players from using cell phones during class and making a point of suspending players who are repeatedly late or miss class, Shannon has The U ranked seventh on the NCAA Academic Progress Reports, behind the likes of Stanford, Air Force and Duke, and ahead of Notre Dame.

iami football may not be considered in the same light as Notre Dame, whose players generally get hype both on the field and in the classroom, but Shannon sure has done a lot in the past three years to make the ‘Canes not only a contender again, but also a classy program.

By week three, after matchups against Florida State and Georgia Tech, the country may know if the Randy Shannon dynasty has officially begun, and all signs – a talented core of players with a disciplinarian at the helm – point to the beginning of a new era in Coral Gables.

Ryan Travers is a senior in the College. He can be reached at Illegal Procedure appears in every Friday issue of Hoya Sports. “

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