Did we see Mark Richt retiring coming… No! But was his decision in the best interest of the program… Yes! Miami has been behind the times for years. The landscape of college football has change and Miami has not. Miami still ran the Pro-style offense that even the NFL is not using anymore. When Al Golden was fired 3 years ago, Miami needed a defensive coordinator who would commit to having the defense play aggressive a little more. Al Golden ran the read and react type of defense which ultimately lead to his end. Also he did not want to fire his long time friend who was the defensive coordinator, Mark D’Onofrio.
Now 3-years later, and Miami was dealing with the same issue. Miami’s offense was pre-historic and ran by Mark Richt which was horrible. Miami second biggest problem was the quarterback play. The quarterback coach, Jon Richt, who is Mark Richt son. I don’t believe Mark had the heart to fire his son. I do believe Mark Richt was a tremendous coach who helped bring Miami closer to where they want to be.
Richt did win the ACC Coastal in his second season. I think that the program took a few steps back when it lost a lot of key players to injuries and suspensions.
Can Miami bounce back? Yes!
Miami is one of those few programs around the country that can get back to the top of college football if they have the right coach. Since Larry Coker, Miami has had three different head coaches. Randy Shannon, the disciplinarian. Coach Shannons goal was to clean up the programs image on and off the field. Miami had dealt with a few players getting into serious trouble before Shannon. Although Shannon had cleaned up the program image, his offense never matured on the field to make them competitive.
Here comes Al Golden! Al wasn’t a Miami guy. He was from Penn State as a player and coached Temple before going to Miami. Was this a home run hire…No, but it was a cheaper hire. Miami would be competitive offensively in some games, but horrible defensively in every game. Miami’s biggest problem was the defense looking clueless and out of shape in most game. At this point, college football was beginning to change. The spread offense was in full force. Miami’s biggest rival, Florida State, had switched to a pro-spread offense which helped the seminoles capture their first National Championship since 1999.
Mark Richt era was a little different. Mark had brought in a great defensive coordinator in Manny Diaz. Miami’s horrible defense was transformed into a top-5 defense in just 3 years. Miami would win games due to the way the defense dominated teams. But, a great defense can only do so much. Miami’s offense fell way behind the curve of the era. Miami plays were too slow to develop. Most of the players, fan, and pets in the area could have predicted every play that was b being used.
Who will replace Mark? Here are my qualifications for the job:
- Miami’s next coach needs to be someone who wants to stay a college football coach. Miami has been the victims of NFL poaching their good coaches.
- Committed to a good Offense and Defense. Miami has had one or the other, but hasn’t had both. I think the next coach must be willing to buy into an explosive offense and a dominating defense.
- Great Recruiter and developer. The next guy has to be able to bring the players in, but also develop those players for the pros. If he can’t do both then you are stuck with another Mark Richt or worse Al Golden.
- Manny Diaz. Manny created a great defense at Miami to return The U back to where the defense belonged. He has been a fierce recruiter for Miami, and with him as the head coach Miami should be able to attract some talented players. He would need to find an offensive coordinator that has a modern offense. Miami is too talented to for their offense to be as bad as they were.
- Butch Davis. I’ve always like Davis. He just comes with the baggage like NCAA problems, but he is a damn good coach. He led FIU to a 9-4 record this year. Davis recruited and built the greatest team ever assembled in the history of college football, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes. Butch is like Nick Saban… somewhat. Davis can recruit and develop players. Davis knows how to get players to buy in as well as his staff. Davis knows how to coach on the field too. Like Nick Saban, if he needs to delegate a task to another coach Davis will do it. The only draw back is Davis’s age. Davis is 67, so how long will he be around to coach? That is the true question.
- Mike Leach. Mike has created spectacular offenses where ever he goes. From Oklahoma to Texas Tech and now Washington State. He has developed talent and produced scary good offenses. I believe he would turn Miami’s quarterbacks into studs like they once were when they were recruited. Miami has the speed Leach has never had on his team, and he has the top recruiting hotbed in the country in his backyard. Mike Leach would turn Miami into an offensive power. The only thing Leach would have to do is find a defensive coordinator who can keep Miami’s defense the way it is.