Let’s get started on the Miami Hurricane off-season checklist. At 5-5, there are still two games remaining but for any Hurricane fan, the season is over. Most likely, the coach’s message has grown stale. A player’s mentality must be: “We stink. This is wrong, that is wrong, but I’M GETTING MY STATS.”
It’s obvious that the players on the team have a selfish attitude. It wouldn’t surprise me that many players have this sentiment and a Miami coach also feels this way. Ed Reed and Alonzo Highsmith were hired precisely for moments like these. A great article in “The Athletic” by Manny Navarro highlights several points to make a checklist for the off-season. I wanted to highlight two here.
Miami Hurricane Off-season checklist item #1: Players leaving early to draft for no reason
In the glory days of the program, it was commonplace to see a player declare early for the NFL draft. He would be a 1st round draft pick! But in the last 20 years, Hurricane players have declared early for the draft and either has been picked late or not at all. Navarro interviewed the longtime “Voice of the Hurricanes”, Joe Zagacki. He said of players leaving early:
“Who is telling these guys to go? Who told (2018 fifth round pick) RJ McIntosh and (2018 seventh round pick) Kendrick Norton to go and why? What was their motivation? Because they were Miami Hurricanes? Because the Hurricanes have had success in the NFL? That wasn’t the right thing for those kids.”
Obviously, their family members/friends/potential business partners planted the idea in their heads and convinced them that leaving is better than staying. But really?! 5th-round pick? 7th round pick? Because they had “The U” on their helmet? Charleston Rambo led the Hurricanes in catches last season but didn’t get drafted. Joe Yearby and Jeff Thomas didn’t get drafted either.
Miami Hurricane Off-season checklist item #2: Player entitlement
Navarro also highlights earlier that because of websites dedicated to ranking players, they arrive at the school with a “sense of entitlement.” He interviews former quarterback Malik Rosier who is now an analyst and Rosier said:
“A lot of guys when they go to Miami are super talented, but at the end of the day that doesn’t get you into the NFL and I think a lot of guys get that mindset when they come here. Like, ‘I made it to Miami, I’m going to the NFL.”
What entitlement would this be though? Will they get money for being rated a 5-star athlete? Will they appear at his house, ala “Publisher’s Clearing House” and present them with an ACC Coastal division title because they were rated so high?! I understand entitlement after two straight National Championships, I understand entitlement after a Heisman trophy but for a 4 or 5-star ranking?
Miami offensive coordinator Josh Gattis commented Monday at practice:
“It takes unselfish players. We’ve got to have a group of men that care more about winning for Miami than they do about their own individual recognition or whatever it may be. Ultimately, when we get to that point, we’ll have the culture of the team that we want.”
A Miami Hurricane off-season checklist is early but the program is set up for this
Since 2015, the Miami Hurricanes have had more players drafted in Rounds 4-7 than in Rounds 1-3. That is a large 180-degree change from the glory days of the program where it seemed like every Hurricane player would be drafted in the 1st 2 rounds. Current players should know that whatever the family/friends/business advice they are being given is very bad.
The Hurricanes also hired Ed Reed and Alonzo Highsmith in an effort to present an “NFL front office type” football program. Recently, highly recruited Jaden Rashada flipped his commitment to Miami, so this rebuild won’t change all this off-season. Read more about it here. Guaranteed, there will still be players with entitlement, but the buy-in will also come when they see that their commitment to the program will pay dividends if they stay and follow the game plan.