I have to admit, I was not thrilled when Kirby Hocutt uttered the words:
"Al Golden is the new coach of the University of Miami Hurricanes."
All of the thoughts and hopes for a Muschamp, Smart, Strong and yes even Gruden went down the drain with those few words.
Like all other Hurricane fans from the opening news conference, we all certainly had our left eyebrows lifted wondering what we were getting with this new guy from Temple (UGH Temple it just hurts to type that name).
So after the introduction, this guy takes the podium and to my surprise he sure looks the part.
I listen a little more intently, and wait what’s this: He knows about the history of the program, and what's more is proud of it too! Ok, ok, ok so he talks a good game, and he read Cane Mutiny on the plane ride down from Philly, so he is familiar with the program. Let’s see what he can do with recruiting.
Over a month has passed since that news conference and I have to admit, with regard to his recruiting effort, Coach Golden and his staff are sure walking the part.
Yet with every regime change, there is always a little uncertainty when the only tangible success you can go on to judge this new leader is what new coaches he will bring in, and what recruits he can land before signing day in February, and this one is no different.
But for every step Coach Golden took forward—such as retaining coaches Barrow, Hill and Stoutland—he would essentially take two backward in the eyes of Hurricanes nation.
Losing coaches Hill and Stoutland and several previously committed 4-star recruits, and in the first few weeks, only landing a recruit he had committed to Temple. Surely the University of Miami could do better than a recruit who committed to TEMPLE!
I would come to hate myself for writing that last statement, because Coach Golden has stuck to his words from his first press conference. "I'm looking for those individuals who want to be at Miami, and help bring back the most recognizable brand name in college football."
However, what I did not see that the first player who de-committed from Temple to join the University of Miami saw he was that he was not just signing with the University of Miami. He was signing with Coach Golden and the University of Miami. Signing with a guy he wants to follow into battle. Putting his trust in a teacher who he believes could get him to the next level of life with a college degree.
So how is he doing it? That answer is simple: ENERGY! Coach Golden must have an IV of five hour energy in his arm in between trips to recruits houses, because this guy is burning the midnight oil. With only 16 scholarships to give, Coach Golden and his staff are working tirelessly, setting the example to all of Hurricanes nation that he will bust his hump to make sure he gets the best and develops the best.
My hope is that the current players see the effort that is going into this small recruiting class that might only finish ranked in the top 25 at No. 25, if at all.
Coach Golden has set a record for the number of recruits they will host in the month of January (estimates have it anywhere from 42 to 56). No stone is being left unturned, either. I admire Coach Golden for not throwing in the towel on those kids who are committed to other programs, such as Mr. Finnie.
Who if you don’t know this story, he is a CB who had his bags packed ready to enroll early at the University of South Carolina by January 8. Coach Golden was at his house the morning they were leaving at 6:00 AM. Coach Golden just asked Mr. Finnie, and his parents for a chance to talk and by 8:00 AM he was a Miami Hurricane and is currently enrolled at the University of Miami, ready to compete in the spring for the Hurricanes. For those of you on the up and up, Miami also as of the 17th and 18th of January added 2 ESPN U 150 players to its recruiting class in Dallas Crawford, and Kevin Grooms also both kids are local FL products which is even sweeter! I think the only negative thing I can say about recruiting is that we are limited on the number of scholarships we can give with 16. At the rate Coach Golden and staff are bringing them in it looks like we could get 25 verbals by the end of the month, which could also prove positive when you think about who can and can't qualify, but that is another article in itself.
Take note, Hurricanes nation: Coach Golden is showing the kind of effort, fire and backbone that we have not seen at the U since Butch Davis put together and laid the groundwork for the our last national championship team, and it is something to be admired and applauded.