No Surprise Coker's Canned

By Adam Caparell - November 24, 2006


The inevitable happened today when Larry Coker was officially let go of his duties as Miami’s head coach. It’s a sad end to what became a sad episode in Coral Gables, but one that we all could see coming from a mile away.

The disdain for Coker did nothing but grow as the year progressed and support waned as the weeks went on. He was on the hot seat to begin with when the season kicked off. Nine wins is good for some programs, but at Miami, your worth is measured in championships. Coker obviously won it all in 2001, but memories tend to run short in sports, especially in college football.

Coker oversaw a practical NFL factory as numerous Hurricanes players made their way to playing on Sundays. He took the Hurricanes to 2002 national championship game, losing to Ohio State. But two straight trips to the Peach Bowl weren’t successful enough, especially after Miami’s awful loss to LSU, 40-3, in the game last year.

Changes were made as Coker fired several of his assistants, but expectations remained high this year. Many thought the Hurricanes would be ACC champs.

But they were anything but. Some thought Coker’s firing was going to come following the embarrassing loss to Louisville in September. There was the brawl against FIU. Then came Bryan Pata’s death a few weeks later that coincided with a four-game losing streak. It’s been one blow after another for Coker as the Hurricanes limped to a 6-6 record. He got the knockout punch Friday.

Where the Hurricanes go from here remains to be seen. One of the most logical candidates to replace Coker was Butch Davis, but the former Hurricanes coach (who Coker replaced) just signed on to lead North Carolina earlier this month. Steve Spurrier, as was speculated by many organizations (including CSTV) to be headed to Miami, said he’s staying put in Columbia. There’s Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin AD, who has ties with Miami president Donna Shalala. And the leading candidate at moment has to be Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, a former Miami defensive coordinator.

But what you’re almost guaranteed to see is someone different from Coker. When programs change coaches, they almost always bring in someone with a different personality and different way of doing things. Coker wasn’t a taskmaster. He wasn't one of those guys always yelling and barking at his players on the sidelines and you never heard any public comments from any of the Hurricanes about any apparent dislike of Coker.

He was calm and almost reassuring in his ways. You'd think we'd see Miami go in the opposite direction because it’s been almost a decade since the Hurricanes didn’t win at least nine games in a season.

Predictions: No dogs.

Florida (-9.5) over Florida State
Florida State has way too many offensive issues to stick with Florida. With all of Urban Meyer's whining, there's no excuse for the Gators not to come out motivated to show the country something and beat the Seminoles decisively. Florida has lately done a very good job against Florida State defensively and there's no reason why it won't continue Saturday. Florida by 14.

Georgia Tech (-2) over Georgia
Georgia scares you in this game because of that performance against Auburn a few weeks back. If Georgia has any sort of consistent success getting to Reggie Ball, no way the Yellow Jackets pull this one out. That being said, I'm going with Georgia Tech to just barely escapes in this one. It just sounds as if they're really motivated to knock off the Bulldogs this year, something they haven't done since 2000. Tech by 3.

Oklahoma (-6) over Oklahoma State
It'll be Bedlam if Oklahoma wins and sneaks into the Big 12 Chamoionship following Texas' loss Friday to A&M. Stop Oklahoma State's running attack and chances are you're going to come away a winner. And it's not as if the Cowboys have any sort of stellar defense. In fact, they have one the Sooners can move the ball against, quite easily. I'd like to think this one will be close. It's a rivalry game, State has played well at home this year and Allen Patrick is still a question mark. But Bob Stoops is too good of a coach not to take advantage of the opportunity his team has been presented. State covers.

Maryland (-1.5) over Wake Forest
Wake didn't seem to care too much that Virginia Tech got the win over them last week. That's never a good sign. Team's should be hungry and not take any game for granted, especially against a big-time opponent like VIrginia Tech. Now Maryland is closer talent wise to the Deacons than the Hokies are, but Wake is a banged up team and I think we'll finally see that they've been operating on borrowed time. The over/under on this game is 39.5, but I think we'll probably see the under. Maryland by a touchdown.

USC (-7.5) over Notre Dame
USC has the national title out there for them and, like Florida, should be amply motivated. Plus it's the Irish, and there have been rumblings that Pete Carroll and the USC coaching staff are still steamed about the "Charlie Weis out-coached USC" talk from last year's classic 34-31 game in South Bend. This one's in the Colesium. USC doesn't lose in November. And they have far too many weapons not to expose that Notre Dame secondary and burn them for big plays - something that's plauged the Irish this season. On top of that, USC is playing very good football and the defense is starting to come into it's own. They can pressure Quinn, and we've seen what happens when he gets pressured and knocked around (i.e. Michigan). The only way Irish win this game is if they decisively control the clock. USC by 9.

Last Week: 5-0
Season: 44-17

Posted by Adam Caparell at 12:26 PM on November 24, 2006
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