ORLANDO -- ESPN college football analysts Mark May and Lou Holtz set off a firestorm before Saturday night’s Russell Athletic Bowl when they speculated why Hurricanes coach Al Golden might choose to return to Penn State after the season should current coach Bill O’Brien leave for the NFL’s Houston Texans.
“It’s a different job, night and day between Miami and Penn State,” May said. “You’re in the Big Ten conference. You’re always going to have sellouts in Happy Valley.
“You’re not playing in a professional stadium 25, 30 miles up the road. So I think as a head coach, you’re looking at those situations, and you know down the road a job that you coveted, that you could probably get, that the situation is probably better for you personally than the situation at Miami.”
Holtz said Golden would have a better chance at winning the national championship at Penn State, took a shot at Miami’s facilities and even went as far to say the Nittany Lions have a better recruiting base before retracting his last statement.
Golden, signed through Feb. 1, 2020, was asked about being a hot coaching commodity Friday.
“We’re in one of the greatest places that there is in college football, and we’ve gone through a really hard time,” Golden said. “It’s hard to imagine, you know, places out there that you could, you know, sell, that you could present better than the University of Miami. We know we’re not where we want to be, but we know we’re not where we were.
“There’s never been a better time to be at the University of Miami ... [and] we haven’t had the opportunity to really sell that, and I’m looking forward to doing that here in January and thereafter.”
Junior receiver Rashawn Scott, freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen and freshman cornerback Ray Lewis Jr. were not among the players dressed in uniform for the bowl game.
UM did not provide a reason as to why the three players were not in uniform but confirmed they were left behind. Scott has been suspended multiple times, including at the end of last season. Olsen was charged with leaving the scene of a car accident before arriving at UM this summer. The report stated that Olsen “appeared to be under the influence of something.”
He and Lewis were being redshirted this season.
Golden said during his pregame news conference Friday that he expects “safely eight” recruits to enroll at UM in January and take part in spring practices.
The Hurricanes have 30 commitments in their 2014 class, and a third of that group has discussed arriving in January. Two of them are junior college defensive linemen Calvin Heurtelou and Michael Wyche. The other eight are high school players: receiver Braxton Berrios; running backs Brandon Powell and Joseph Yearby; offensive linemen KC McDermott and Trevor Darling; linebackers Terry McCray and Juwon Young; and defensive back Darrion Owens.
“It may grow depending on what transpires here,” Golden said.
Golden said the extra bowl practices and not having an NCAA cloud hanging overhead have helped Miami’s recruiting efforts.
Rivals.com ranks UM’s 2014 signing class fourth overall behind Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio State. ESPN ranks UM third; 247Sports.com has the Canes fifth.