OK here’s the plan. It’s simple, and sure to please all Miami football fans. It would be groundbreaking, but I think it’s possible. Are you ready?
Dan Campbell coaches both teams! That’s right. Double duty. A revolutionary pro/college hybrid: Dolphins on Sundays, Hurricanes on Saturdays. A win-win situation if ever there was one.
Hey, if he can do for the Canes — who fired coach Al Golden on Sunday evening — what he seems to have done for the Dolphins, why not?
We’re jesting, of course, but the idea isn’t much more bizarre than the weekend we have just experienced. Same city, same stadium, one day apart, and two results of dizzying extremes – one that left UM fans embarrassed and angry and led to a coach’s immediate dismissal, and one that has Dolfans as buoyantly elated as we’ve seen in years.
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Saturday’s morgue became Sunday’s house party.
One day brought the stench of a 58-0 Canes loss to Clemson that ranked as the most lopsided defeat in the program’s history and doomed the UM future of its beleaguered and unpopular fifth-year coach.
Then came Sunday, with the Dolphins proving the football field that two teams share had not been haunted or cursed by the Canes.
Miami’s 44-26 rout of the Houston Texans — the Fins led 41-0 before many starters exited – leveled the team’s season record at 3-3 and made the team 2-0 under interim coach Campbell, and by a combined 82-36 margin.
You know in the TV medical dramas when they rub those two heart paddles together and jolt a dying patient back to life?
That has been Campbell’s effect on this team and season since replacing Joe Philbin — nothing short of new life.Campbell’s Dolphins seem as different from Philbin’s as Saturday’s game was from Sunday’s.
The Canes could do nothing right.
The Dolphins could do little wrong.
The same weekend left Miami ready to hang Golden in effigy and crown Dan Campbell mayor and king.
While those “Fire Al Golden” flyovers spoke for many-turned-most Canes fans, Dolphins fans were jubilantly chanting Campbell’s name as Sunday’s game ended.
Campbell heard something but didn’t know it was for him.
“I thought [Dan] Marino walked out again,” kidded the head coach who’ll lose the interim tag if this winning keeps up.
There were highlights and good stuff everywhere you looked Sunday.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed his first 18 passes and finished 18-for-19 for 282 yards and four TDs – three of them longer than 50 yards. (His 25 consecutive completions dating to last week’s game set an NFL record).
Lamar Miller would have topped 200 yards rushing (he had 175) except that he didn’t play beyond halftime, when Miami led 41-0.
Human electrical charge Jarvis Landy had two TDs including a magnificent 50-yard cutback run with a short pass. (“He’s a football-playin’ dude,” said Campbell of Landry. “A bolt of energy.”)
And the defense was dominant before the reserves started playing, with four sacks including the first two of the season by Ndamukong Suh as the crowd finally uncorked the serenade it had been saving: “Suuuuuuhhhhh!”
Houston’s first seven offensive possessions resulted in six three-and-outs and an interception-return TD.
“To me that’s the way we play defense here,” Campbell said. “That’s not a fluke. That’s who we are.”
OK, this is where we segue from Sunday’s merriment to the reality check immediately ahead.
The Campbell metamorphosis only means Miami, at 3-3, has given itself a fighting chance to still make the playoffs.
But the next five games will tell a more than the past two wins have over lesser opponents.
Now it’s at New England Thursday night, then at Buffalo and at Philadelphia. Then it’s a home game vs. Dallas (with Tony Romo likely back), then a game at the Jets.
Routing Tennessee and Houston might have gotten the NFL’s attention, and the Patriots’, but winning at New England Thursday night will be the ultimate statement.
Campbell speaks macho, speaks bravado. Likes his team to dominate.
“You cannot let them have any hope,” he told his players at halftime Sunday. “Don’t even let them breathe.”
Now, in the Patriots, the Campbell-era Dolphins for the first time face an opponent capable of dishing out such dominance.
“We really need this win,” Campbell said, of the Pats on Thursday. “We are capable of beating this team.”
We’ll soon find out about that.
For now, enjoy what Sunday gave you, Dolfans. The legend of Dan Campbell is growing in direct proportion to the hope that you feel.
One day after Canes fans sent enough venom ricocheting around this stadium to bring down a head coach, it was nourishing and nice to see the place filled with joy again.