As if University of Miami football coach Al Golden didn’t have enough worries to keep him awake at night, now he has another major issue to tackle.
Hurricanes offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch, hugely popular with players and coaches, has left the Hurricanes to take a job as the offensive coordinator with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
The timing isn’t great, and not just because the ongoing UM-related NCAA case has the Hurricanes’ community skittish about what lies ahead for Miami.
UM’s quarterback of the future, nationally regarded four-star recruit Kevin Olsen, is visiting the Coral Gables campus with his parents this weekend. Olsen’s father, Chris, told The Miami Herald on Saturday evening that his son “absolutely’’ will still attend Miami, despite the news of Fisch’s departure.
Olsen’s older brother Greg was a former Canes tight end and current star with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
One of the big reasons Olsen had committed to the Hurricanes was that Fisch, known for his intelligence and as a great teacher, communicator and overall nice guy, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. But Chris Olsen, who just retired as the Wayne Hills (N.J.) High coach after a storied 26-year career, said he had faith that Golden “has a plan’’ and will find a good replacement who is “very similar’’ to Fisch.
“Al Golden is the main guy,” Chris Olsen said. “We weren’t expecting this, but it’s a great opportunity for Jedd and everybody has to do what’s best for them.”
Fisch was the only UM coach who didn’t show up for a dinner with the recruits’ families Friday night, though nothing had been announced publicly at that time.
Golden will have to scramble to find a new offensive coordinator, as National Letter of Intent Day, when high school recruits sign their scholarships to play in college, is Feb. 6.
“There are 32 NFL offensive coordinator jobs and the opportunity to become the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator this year was based on all of the successes our program has had in the past two years,” Jedd Fisch said in a statement released by UM. “I am so excited to watch the Miami Hurricanes and Jacksonville Jaguar football teams compete for and win championships this year and the years to come.”
Said Golden in his statement: “It’s been a great week for the [UM] and the NFL as evidenced by the hires of Marc Trestman (Chicago Bears) and Rob Chudzinski (Cleveland Browns) as head coaches, having the most former players participating in the conference championship games Sunday and now the hiring of Jedd Fisch… We are happy for Jedd and his family. Jedd has done a great job for us here…’’
It has not been revealed who Golden is targeting as a replacement for Fisch. Former FIU coach Mario Cristobal, recently hired by UM as the tight ends coach and associate head coach, is not likely to make the jump to offensive coordinator.
One name that Golden is believed to be impressed with, though it is not known whether that would include as offensive coordinator, is Duke passing game coordinator/recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick – the son of former Colorado State coach and former UM assistant Sonny Lubick. Matt was one of 29 candidates this season for the Broyles Award that goes to the top assistant in college football.