Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alma Mater, Stand Forever

A few words about the actions on the field of the student-athletes at my alma mater, the University Of Miami...
I was not able to see the game live in Denver, but I tried to see the highlights as soon as I heard what happened. After seeing the footage and taking in the commentary of every sports reporter capable of picking up a pencil or opening his/her mouth, I have tried to stay as objective as possible. For the most part, I agree with the majority that the suspensions were not severe enough. Anthony Reddick (a.k.a. Dat Helmet Swingin' MoFo) should be gone. Not just off the team, but out of the school. Brandon Meriweather (a.k.a Sir Stomps-A-Lot) should be suspended for the rest of the season. As my boy Adler said, "every time he stomped it cost him like ten grand (in NFL Draft money)." As for the rest: one game for anyone involved and at least two games if you came off the bench. I realize that if the Canes win out this year, they still have a shot at a BCS game, but honestly (and this is saying a lot, coming from me), I would rather they forget about wins and losses for the rest of the year and concentrate on getting the program back on track.
There is a certain swagger or cockiness that goes along with wearing "The U," but you have to be able to back it up. Right now there are ZERO players on the roster worthy of being on the same field as guys like Ken Dorsey, Edgerrin James, Santana Moss, Jonathan Vilma, and Ed Reed. Some of the aforementioned players weren't very highly recruited (Santana Moss came to UM on a track scholarship), but they were given a shot, coached correctly, and their attitude came across as deservedly confident rather than entitled cockiness.
I don't know if Larry Coker will be back next year. I feel bad for the situation his players have put him in, but at the same time he has the final say on which kids get the honor of playing for the Hurricanes. He hasn't done a very good job recruiting quality individuals. The physical talent is still there, but while the Canes of 3-5 years ago played beyond their years, the present squad seems to have all the patience and poise of a class of second graders visiting Colonial Williamsburg.
All that being said, it seems like most analysts were just waiting for the program to stumble so they could pounce. I sure many writers had their Mad Libs-style columns ready to go... insert head coach's name here, insert school president's name here... it stinks worse than Lake Osceola on a hot summer day. Of the columns I've read, Bill Curry's seems the most thought out.
The program will survive this melee, but not without scars which will never fade for some. Even after all involved parties have left the school, Miami will still be known as "Thug U" or "Convict U," which is something that, as hard as we may want to change, will always loom until a coach, athletic director, and school president are in power who are not afraid to carry out a zero tolerance policy for athletes.