On a muggy September evening back in 2008, Randy Shannon and his Hurricanes walked off of the field in defeat. Having been handed a loss at the hands of the hated in-state rival Florida Gators, Coach Shannon’s frustration came through during his post game comments. Shannon accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of running up the score after taking a shot at the end zone, then kicking a field goal with just seconds left in a game in which his Gators already led by twenty. Coach Shannon of course is no stranger to running up scores, having been part of the ‘Canes championship teams of the eighties and a disciple of Jimmy Johnson. It wasn’t the act of running up the score that got to Shannon, it was the fact that these were HIS kids, who were being run up after battling with such heart for three quarters! Lost in that score was a tremendous effort by his young team against a veteran champion Gators squad and a coming out party for Sean Spence, that included highlight tackles of Tim Tebow and Brandon James. He left that field knowing he had a special group, and voiced his frustrations in defense of those kids.
From day one on the job, coach Shannon preached that from then on, the program would be about what’s on the front of the jersey and not the back. In his first season as head coach he removed the names from the backs of their jerseys. Throughout his first three seasons as head coach, his players were kept from the media and dissuaded from the pre-game trash talk that the “U” was so famous for. Has also notably policed online social networking by his kids, not wanting any one player to get to big a head too soon. Given his policies of keeping the pre and post game chatter to a hush, Shannon had no other choice than to lash out in frustration, if not for his own deep seeded hatred for the rival Gators, then at the least for HIS kids from whom he mandated media silence.
All that has changed in 2010! People in the program including Shannon himself have pointed to the 2010 season as the season by which to measure this era. The baby Canes are all grown up, and Randy has removed the leashes.
There’s a pre-season feeling at Greenstreet that hasn’t been felt in a long time. Players, coaches, fans, and media all recognize the amount of talent and potential that this Canes squad has. Realizing that he has a veteran squad now with the maturity to handle the attention pre-season chatter tends to drum up, Shannon has removed the muzzles as well.
Sophomore defensive back Vaughn Telemaque captured the 2010 renaissance of “U” swag with two words at media day! “Try me”, those words ricocheted through the Edgerrin James room as hard as if they had been spoken by Benny Blades himself. Was this a baby Cane calling out the rest of the ACC to dare throw his way? This Canes team makes no apologies for hyping itself. Senior tailback Damien Berry called his offensive line “The best in the conference”, without flinching, a statement most pundits, maybe even Canes fans would question. Berry had similar superlatives for the other offensive units, and even went as far to give a laundry list of each backs strengths. As confident as this team is in the talent they boast, there isn't a Cane on the squad that won’t tell you that the approach to the season will be blue collar work ethic and a week to week outlook on the season. Wide out Laron Byrd admitted that after the team’s 3-1 start last season the pats on the back began to flow in and the team seemed to get too comfortable. The team’s first major test will be September 11 in Columbus Ohio when the Canes meet the Buckeyes in an early season match up. Nobody will be willing to give commentary until the week of however, electing not to look past the season opener against FAMU September 2nd. The forward looking chatter and trash talk has thus been left to the fans on fan boards. In a recent interview legendary Hurricane defensive back Tolbert Bain was asked about the 2010 Canes brutal early season schedule. HIs reply was laden with typical U swag, "And?" was his reply.
The 2010 Canes are starting to show that Swag that has made prior Miami teams so hated.:
Shannon was recruited by a master of the X’s and O’s in Howard Schnellenberger, Played for the master of Psychology in Jimmy Johnson, and coached along side the master of the locker room in Dennis Erickson. This season he’ll need to recall the teachings of all three to begin the new era in Canes football, and it looks as though the pre-season mind games have begun.