University of Miami athletic director Blake James said before kickoff on Saturday night that Al Golden’s future as Hurricanes coach would be determined after the season — not after a win or a loss at Florida State.
“Our guys have to play better to win,” James said when asked for his evaluation of the state of the football program following the team’s first loss Oct. 1 at Cincinnati. “We saw that last Thursday night. We didn’t play to the level we needed to win.
“As I said from the very start, we’ll look at everything at the end of the year and make an evaluation. Again, I think the thing you have to look at is if you lose [Saturday at FSU] how many games do you have left? [What if] you win all the rest of your games? That’s why you always have to evaluate at the end of the year.”
Hurricanes boosters and donors told the Miami Herald in the days after the Cincinnati loss that many angry phone calls were made to UM’s administration. One said they were left with the impression Golden’s job might finally be in jeopardy, unlike in years past when they were told by administrators to be patient.
“We have a very passionate fan base,” James said when asked if he received more complaints than usual after the Cincinnati loss. “Any time we lose there’s feedback. There’s feedback when we win a lot of times. I fully expect I’ll get emails postgame [Saturday night] whether we win or lose. Obviously, everyone wants to win and no one wants to win more than the guys in that locker room. I’m confident in that, and I’m confident our fans want to see us get a win. I recognize their passion, appreciate their passion. I want to see us win just as much as all of them do.”
Although Golden said there would be subtle changes in personnel in the aftermath of the Cincinnati loss, UM rolled out the usual starting lineup, with Dallas Crawford at safety and the same offensive-line unit.
However, Crawford, who was beaten badly twice in coverage at Cincinnati, did head to the bench on the second series and Rayshawn Jenkins replaced him. The two rotated at the position the rest of the first half.
On the offensive line, sophomore Kc McDermott entered for Sunny Odogwu at right tackle on the third offensive series. He eventually shifted over to left tackle two series later when Odogwu returned.
Redshirt freshman Joe Brown entered the game late in the second quarter at right guard when Danny Isidora was switched to left guard.
A-ROD ATTENDS GAME
New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who has donated millions to UM over the years, was on the field before the game visiting with James and other Canes sideline guests.
Rodriguez attended the UM-FSU game in Tallahassee two years ago as well.
“Alex was telling me he’s going to come to some other games,” James said. “I know he was hoping his season would go longer. I was hoping his season would go longer. But he’s a great supporter of the university and a great friend of the program, good to see him here [Saturday night]. We’re talking about getting him out to a home game here in the coming weeks.”
▪ Former Miami Northwestern High coach and UM graduate assistant Stephen Field, now the coach at North Marion High in Ocala — which is 7-0 in Class 5A — was roaming the Florida State sideline before the game.
Field coached the defense as a Hurricanes grad assistant in the Randy Shannon era and earned his master’s degree at Miami. He saw UM beat FSU once at Doak Campbell Stadium and said it was “an unbelievable experience.”
“This is one of the best atmospheres in college football,’’ said Field, who brought three recruits with him.
When asked which team he wanted to win, Field smiled and said: “I’m just here to enjoy the football.”
▪ FSU honored former Miami Northwestern linebacker Marvin Jones by retiring his jersey (No. 55) at halftime.