Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Start of Hurricanes football practice means it’s open season on coach Al Golden

Dolphins training camp is under way, and now the college side gets going as the Miami Hurricanes prepare for their first preseason practice Thursday.

Interesting contrast going on in the two fan bases.

Dolfans are unusually upbeat, excited and optimistic, while Canes fans seem less than hopeful for a marked improvement over last year’s 6-7 record and seem disinclined to favor coach Al Golden with much benefit of doubt as he enters his fifth season.

Golden went through ESPN’s so-called “Car Wash” of various interviews last week, which had to be more pleasant than the ringer UM fans put him through.

I don’t wanna say Canes fans are out of patience with the coach, but I hear there might be a plane pulling a “Fire Golden” banner on Thursday in gloomy anticipation of a disappointing first practice.

You know how that student-run Harvard sports-analytics group predicted the Dolphins would make the Super Bowl? Can’t a group of UM students fake some study to suggest a big season is ahead for Golden’s team? He could use the boost, especially in light of the Canes’ ranking in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll.

Anybody up for a buoyant “We’re No. 37!” chant?

▪ The Dolphins’ Cameron Wake posed for a picture beside an uncaged, unsedated, fully grown tiger while on a recent vacation in Thailand. “He was intimidating. I admit I was scared,” said the tiger.

▪ That reminds me. A Minnesota dentist illegally hunted and killed beloved Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe and faces extradition to face charges. Officials do not buy Parker’s excuse that he was merely trying to sedate the animal to perform a root canal.

▪ The Marlins traded starters Dan Haren and Mat Latos, first baseman Michael Morse and reliever Steve Cishek for prospects before MLB’s Friday trade deadline, none of the deals a real surprise. The rotation is now a bit thin, though. Did they tell you? You’re starting Tuesday night.

▪ The Marlins hosted a “Legends of Wrestling Night” Friday and hosted a concert Saturday by Salt-N-Pepa, which would be exciting if this was, like, 1992. Hey, Marlins, how ’bout you host a winning team sometime for a change, OK?

▪ During a recent Nationals batting practice here, instead of music playing at Marlins Park, you heard what were described as “farting sounds.” Must be the club’s latest cost-cutting measure. The PA system is now being run by an 11-year-old.

▪ The Heat announced its preseason schedule would open Oct. 4 and made minor roster moves this week, trading Shabazz Napier and Zoran Dragic, and releasing Henry Walker. Thanks for the memories, guys. I’d be specific, but I can’t think of any offhand.

▪ The NBA staged its first exhibition in Africa on Saturday. Fifty percent of that continent’s population is under 19, or about the same age most of John Calipari’s players enter the NBA.

▪ Three major pro men’s teams (San Antonio Spurs, Arizona Cardinals, Sacramento Kings) now have female assistant coaches. Next sign of progress: when that’s so common it’s barely newsworthy.

▪ The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts its latest class Saturday, overshadowed by the fact Junior Seau’s daughter was not allowed to speak for him. Not sure which is worse: That decision, or the Hall refusing to budge from it?

▪ Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is switching to wide receiver, and the Buckeyes suspended four players including St. Thomas Aquinas’ Joey Bosa for marijuana/academic reasons. Man, Urban Meyer will do anything for attention, won’t he?

▪ Widely disliked and polarizing Kyle Busch is the first NASCAR driver in eight years to win three races in a row in what has been an impressive comeback from a broken leg. (The preceding might be the nicest thing ever written about Kyle Busch.)

▪ Homestead-Miami Speedway announced several special ticket packages to mark Jeff Gordon’s Nov. 22 final race before retiring. Some of them are pricey, though, like the one where you get to sit on his lap throughout the race.

▪ Florida’s two-day lobster miniseason was last week, an event described as attracting thousands of people who are either really cheap or simply unaware that lobsters are readily available year-round in markets all over South Florida.

▪ Mexico won the soccer Gold Cup and then fired coach Miguel Herrera for punching a journalist. In Herrera’s defense, I was egging him on and probably deserved it.

▪ The 2022 Winter Olympics were awarded to Beijing despite what would be the seemingly troublesome matter of Beijing’s minimal annual snowfall. No problem. Fake snow! Can a Winter Games in the tropics be far behind? Ready that bid, Miami!

▪ That reminds me. Boston withdrew as potential host of the 2024 Summer Games. It was the first time I’d ever heard an entire city yawn.

▪ Coral Springs golfer Lexi Thompson, 20, won her fifth LPGA tournament. When I was 20, I figured out that if you shook a vending machine, sometimes an extra bag of chips would fall to you.

▪ The Pan Am Games ended in Toronto, and nobody really cared, because they were the Pan Am Games.

▪ Parting thought: Calder plans to demolish a grandstand building, another sign of dwindling attendance at horse tracks. It’s gotten so bad that even the horses only go to the track now to play the slots and poker.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Periscope.

Hot list

Today: Ten-win seasons. Dolphins and Hurricanes coaches with the most seasons of at least 10 victories, including NFL playoffs and college bowl games:

Coach

Total

Team

Span of 10-win years

Don Shula

17

Dolphins

1970-94

Jimmy Johnson

6

UM/Dolphins

1985-88/98-99

Dennis Erickson

5

UM

1989-94

Larry Coker

3

UM

2001-03

Dave Wannstedt

3

Dolphins

2000-03

Note: Others, with one each, are Howard Schnellenberger (UM, 1983); Butch Davis (UM, 2000); and Tony Sparano (Dolphins, 2008).

1. DOLPHINS

Playoffs or bust — big talk as camp opens: Stephen Ross, Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill exuded confidence and all but guaranteed the playoffs as Dolphins camp began Thursday. The bravado was refreshing, but, coming from a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 14 years, it also sounded a little like your girlfriend smack-talking Ronda Rousey.

2. MARLINS

Fish are trade sellers; Fernandez goes for record: Miami traded four players for prospects, and Jose Fernandez, 15-0 at home, takes the mound Sunday trying to tie the record for most consecutive home wins to start a career. It’s also “Bark In the Park” day. Opponents don’t bother Fernandez at home. Let’s see if a bunch of yapping dogs can.

3. HURRICANES

UM opens football practice on Thursday: Coach Al Golden begins his fifth year leading UM when practice opens Thursday. Many Canes fans are impatient coming off a 6-7 season, but the team should be in good shape, led by rising-star quarterback Brad Kaaya — especially if he can learn to simultaneously play other positions, too.

4. NFL

Brady fights as Deflategate appeal denied: Roger Goodell upheld his own four-game suspension of Tom Brady, who is now asking the federal courts to overturn it. So it’s official: They are making a federal case of whether Brady was aware of infinitesimally underinflated footballs that had zero impact on the outcome of any game.

5. SCHNELLENBERGER

Tribute dinner planned for coaching icon: The Miami Touchdown Club is hosting a “tribute and celebration dinner” for Howard Schnellenberger, 81, on Thursday at Signature Grand in Davie. I don’t wanna say he has had a full career, but if they detail all of his accomplishments, Thursday’s dinner will end around early October.

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