In his Champs Sports Bowl post game interview, Miami head coach Randy Shannon offered this explanation when asked how things could have turned horribly stagnant for the Canes especially after their electric initial kickoff return and subsequent 16 yard rushing score…
“Just happens like that in bowl games. Can’t tell you why, to be honest with you, it just happened.”
What “just happened” is Wisconsin completely dominated both lines of scrimmage and possessed the clock for over 39 minutes. Miami’s “speed advantage” was all but nullified by outstanding Wisconsin play calling on both sides of the line.
In addition, Miami only had two drives of any consequence all night. If it wasn’t for some outstanding special teams play, the Hurricanes wouldn’t have even had a chance against the Badgers.
The game was made close at the end but the score does not reflect the pounding Miami took all night.
Shannon has enough regular season and bowl experience, as a player and a coach, to know what happens when you lose an important game. Saying “it just happened” is an excuse that would have put any player on his 1987 Miami national championship team on the bench.
Perhaps Shannon was a bit speechless after seeing Wisconsin red plow across the field all night, but the fact of the matter is this…Shannon’s Miami squad knew what to expect from the Badgers but failed in every category to stop Wisconsin when they had the ball.
The blame for the loss is Shannon’s and Shannon’s alone. Shrugging your shoulders and looking the other way telegraphs to the college football world that an element of coaching maturity is lacking.
Perhaps a Shannon led Miami team can continue to win eight or nine games in the ACC, but thinking that they are on the way to returning to national contention is a pipe dream.
Championship coaches may get mad, they may get angry, they may even look dumbfounded at times, but they rarely fail to accept responsibility. Shannon simply looked dejected and embarrassed.
If this is the attitude Shannon wants to portray after the biggest game of his career as Miami head coach, then winning a lot of games each season will become more of a challenge.
Shannon needs to go back and review some of the post game interviews of his predecessors such as Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, and Dennis Erickson— none of these national championship coaches failed to take responsibility for a loss or drop in performance.
If Shannon wants to join the ranks of these Miami greats, then he first needs to hold himself accountable when challenged publicly for his team’s performance.
Potential high school recruits may have too many stars in their eyes to notice such things but their coaches do…Shannon will continue to attract top talent but some may see this game, and Shannon’s attitude, and decide that they require a different type or level of leadership.
Deflecting responsibility is a troubling sign that a job is either too big or to challenging. Shannon had a rough night but his response to a pointed question about his team’s performance offered an opportunity to look forward—instead he chose to look down.