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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
8/01/2006 05:16:00 PM

Bad News for Coker

Oakland Arena
Starting receiver Ryan Moore is suspended for the first two games of the season.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
CHICAGO -- The plan was to blog about Big Ten media festivities today, but I can assure you that nothing from Tuesday's press-conference marathon -- besides Joe Paterno revealing he recently had a prostate exam -- was nearly as newsworthy as the events transpiring at Miami. Four Hurricanes players, including running back Tyrone Moss and receiver Ryan Moore, have been suspended from the Sept. 4 opener against Florida State for their roles in an undisclosed "incident." Reason No. 273 the two teams' coaches don't like playing each other in the first game.

Moore, it should be noted, was already under suspension by head coach Larry Coker stemming back to last year's Peach Bowl, and he will actually sit out the following week's game against Florida A&M as well. Moss, meanwhile, is recovering from an ACL injury sustained during last season's Virginia Tech game, and it's unclear whether he would have been able to play against the Seminoles in the first place. Therefore, the significance of Tuesday's news isn't the fact that the 'Canes are going to be short-handed against FSU (that likely would have been the case anyway) but what it means to Coker and his program. Simply put, it's the last thing he needed to have happen right now.

It's no secret that Coker, entering his sixth season, is on the proverbial "hot seat" following consecutive three-loss seasons, last December's 40-3 Peach Bowl debacle and the firing of four assistant coaches. I watched him field one question after another about his job security at last week's ACC media days. Off the field, Miami's program had been virtually trouble-free during Coker's first five seasons; inevitably, this incident is going to cause the already skeptical legions to question whether he's losing control of the program. The FSU game was already going to be critically important in setting the tone for the season, but now even more so. Lose, especially badly, and the noise around the program is going to grow even louder. Win and you can assume this "incident" will quickly be forgotten.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |


Posted: 5:40 PM   by Anonymous
I could not disagree with you more. If anything, these suspensions show that Larry Coker has a tight grip on this program and is in total control. This is a far cry from the Dennis Erickson years of no control or the Jimmy Johnson years of only caring about what happens on the field. Coker did not take the lame route of Bobby Bowden and hold these suspensions off until the FAMU game. He has continued the with discipline that Butch Davis started and done so admirably. He made this announcement with time for the team to be prepared and practice with their eligible players and they will be ready to throttle FSU come Labor Day. If you want to see a coach that has lost touch with his players and the direction of his program..just look on the other sidelines to the 5 loss Bowden. That confused look on his face as his team gets lit up by the Canes will be all the proof you need.
Posted: 6:06 PM   by Anonymous
I hate that Miami has suspended these players. Now they have an excuse for when FSU beats their brains out on Labor Day!
Not what Miami needs right now, especially with the 40-3 LSU loss, FSU and Louisville right around the corner! This makes the first 3 games of the season HUGE! A set back vs Florida State will not sit well in the Orange Bowl. Hot seat just got hotter!
Posted: 6:08 PM   by Anonymous
Miami needs to go ahead and can Larry Coker anyway. Nice guy, lousy coach. He won with Butch Davis' talent, the last two years he finally had his men and the results are not what Miami was looking for. Miami would be wise to look into bring Butch back, that man could recruit.
Posted: 6:09 PM   by Anonymous
Coker should have been fired after the 2003 season. With all that talent, there is no way my beloved canes should have nothing less than 2 national titles. Fire him immediately! the canes need a mike ditka kind of coach to be back to the powerhouse program they once were.
I could be wrong here, and please correct me if I am, but Stewart, aren't you the same guy who not so long ago talked about how Miami has cleaned up its program?
Posted: 7:26 PM   by mrdenniswm
To answer the first comment, Bobby Bowden has not taken any "lame route" when it comes to handling off the field incidents. Fred Rouse, Kenny O'neal kicked along with other players kicked off the team this year alone for violating team players. Randy Moss & Lavernious Coles if you want to go back to the 90's. As far as Larry Coker being in control... that still remains to be seen through out the season. But is should be pointed out that the team's performance, coaching and also recruiting have all fallen behind of years before.
Posted: 7:42 PM   by Anonymous
Can the first moron explain "the lame route of Bobby Bowden and hold these suspensions off until the FAMU game?" I would love an educated explanation. Last time I checked Bobby still uses the same policy he has always had and that policy doesn't include choosing which games your players sit.
Posted: 7:44 PM   by Anonymous
Anyone who thinks going 9-3 for two consecutive seasons merits a coach getting booted needs to relaz a bit. The fact is Miami is still a national power and can go toe to toe with almost any team in the nations. When they start losing 5 games a season or take a penn state like tumble, then you can start talking about legitimatley firing a coach who has already won a national title.
Posted: 7:45 PM   by GoDores
Wow how could any coach that's compiled a 53-9 record be on the hot seat? Not to mention that he has 1 national championship and a pass interference call away from another?!? Gimmie a break, this guy has his job locked up. The media is fueling a non-story here...perhaps a follow-up to the NYC Auburn story would have been more appropriate.
Posted: 7:49 PM   by Anonymous
"Coker did not take the lame route of Bobby Bowden and hold these suspensions off until the FAMU game."

When has Bowden held off suspending a player till a lesser opponent? You must be thinking of Zook at uf when he let Crowder play in the 2nd game because the original first game got moved to midseason.
BTW-Good job by Coker, but really, was any of those players going to make on difference on Sept 4th...doubtful.
Posted: 7:50 PM   by David - Geneva, Swizerland
Listen, all you Miami fans need to chill out. So Coker hasn't been able to produce a national title quality team since 2001... Whats with all the calls for his head. You don't see Nole fans calling for Bobby Bowden's head after a few dissapointing seasons. These suspensions won't hurt that much. Miami has depth just like FSU and a player is almost always replacable down in Florida with all the talent. However, FSU is still going to rip the canes...
Posted: 8:51 PM   by yield1310
I love articles like this, they are such a joke. Suspensions happen every day in college football. It's only the fact that it's Miami it's a big deal. I hate too say it as a life long Canes fan, but we probably will never shake the clouds of decades past. If this were Norte Dame you'd have guys like Jay Mariotti and Stewart Mandel saying how well Charlie Weiss handeled the situation and that this is a testament to the greatness of the program. The fact is they are suspened and won't play. Miami has enough depth to go out and play with FSU. To Canes fans this is nothing new, something happens at the U and as far as the media is concerned the program should be scrapped. Should be a great game regardless. Go Canes! And Mandel is a hack!
Posted: 9:01 PM   by G-Rome
The Florida teams are so last century. Miami and Florida St. looked feeble last year. Reputation can only carry you for so long. It seems that the free amateur league that the NCAA has a monopoly on is due for a reassestment. Let's be honost here are these players really students? Kinda reminds me of pre-civil right economics.
Posted: 9:14 PM   by Anonymous
Larry Coker is doing what needs to be done in relevance to the "incident". Miami has been out of control for years and that is the very reason that some people love them and others hate them. Coker knows he has a very good back in Charlie Jones and speedy receivers to carry the weight in the FSU game. I love the Canes and the wreckless way they play the game. Bobby Bowden gets so much credit because he's been around longer, but when's the last time he won a national championship... 10 years ago and Coker - 2001. Quit being a Cane hater. Watch them plaster ole Bobby B. like D. Wade "all day baby, all day!
Posted: 9:15 PM   by Anonymous
Putting Coker on the hotseat is the typical Miami reaction. And by Miami I mean the whole town. Except for the Dolphins, it has the fariest weather fans around. If Miami loses to FSU and Louisville, the Orange Bowl will be a ghost town for the rest of the season. The diehard Cane fans who stick by their team through thick and thin will be the same ones who will stick by Coker this year. If the Canes do indeed go on a slide, don't worry about the bandwagon fans. You will hear them on message boards but they won't even bother to fill up thier own stadium.
Posted: 9:26 PM   by Anonymous
I am not a Miami or Florida State fan, just a college football fan. Here is what I know. Bobby Bowden gets too much credit. For exampl, Bowden was on camera during the Gator Bowl match up with Virginia Tech about 3 years ago. Bowden said asked Mickey Andrews "Is this a guy we can get to with our rush?" If he does not know what kind of QB he is facing after a three week layoff he should not be a coach. Also let's not forget the light punishments he gave to several players over the years. Peter Warrick and the LB's last year. Also he was qouted as saying he had different rules for his Polish players in the Sugar bowl against V-Tech after Janikowski violated team rules the night before.
Posted: 9:53 PM   by Anonymous
Coker isn't going anywhere. As a parent of a player at the U, I think he is doing an excellent job. My son is making good grades, getting stronger and faster. Coker is doing the right thing by suspending those boys because it lets the other players know that he stands by what he says. It's the same as when you are correcting your children, you must follow through!!
Posted: 9:57 PM   by Anonymous
Agreed! Bring back Butch Davis. Coach Coker is a great guy, but his talents seem best applied as an assistant coach, not the head man. UM has fallen out of the top tier of college football programs, mainly because of poor recruiting it seems. Sorry Larry your time's up.
Posted: 10:01 PM   by Anonymous
To the first comment, Larry Coker has a firm grip on the program,Ya thats why they got embarrased on the field last year in thier bowl game and half their coaching staff is gone. Also just so u know, if u have it under control, there is no punishment needed because no one would be doing anything wrong.
Posted: 10:20 PM   by Jeff B
How long until the Barry Alvaez to Miami talk starts. The President of Miami was the former President of Wisconsin while Alvarez was coaching
Posted: 10:25 PM   by MarktheScribe
I love hearing that Bowden is overrated. Two national championships and fourteen consecutive years in the top four (or top five, depending on which poll you're looking at) and he's overrated?

So he asks his assistants about a player. Big deal. Anyone with management experience will tell you that if you do not know how to delegate, you're doomed. His record says it all. Name a college coach that would refuse that legacy.

It's interesting to see comments from people with the I.Q. of a mule. Keep it up, though. I need a good laugh, especially if it comes at the expense of some of the idiots with Internet service. Same old WWW...world-wide witlessness.
Posted: 11:26 PM   by Anonymous
I love my CANES, but let's all face the fact that neither one of these teams could hold a candle to some of the collective talent in College Football over the last couple of years. And lets remember that that it all starts at the top. Both Larry and Bobby should be quivering in their boots. Maybe not so much for losing their jobs, but for having to put up with some of the deralicts that they seem to continuously recruit. When will both coaches stop recruiting players with such poor attitudes???
Posted: 11:27 PM   by carlos
the two guys that matter here weren't going to play anyway so we were going to have to do it without them anyway. defense will come up big and the U takes it at home in another ugly defensive lead game. can we start scheduling this thing a little later in the season?
Posted: 11:52 PM   by Joe-- Boulder, CO
Miami's probably wishing they had never left the Big East right about now... they had that conference in a lock year after year.

As a West virginia fan, I kinda miss the crazy and hostile yearly Miami game, but look who's emerging with "National Title" talk in Miami's absence...
Posted: 12:27 AM   by kp
ya'll dont know nothin if my canes beat fla.st and louisville we'll be in the hunt for the title and next year kyle wright will be getting the hype like brady quinn and i didnt mention va. tech cause we goin to murder them like we did last year with the other vick then every body well be be saying coker is geneis and the u is back remember we are call away from a title cause glenn sharpe didnt touch chris gamble
Posted: 12:50 AM   by Anonymous
This is all a big joke. Coker is doing the right thing and Bowden has done the right thing in the past as well...booting coles, warrick for a few games, randy moss, rouise, oniel...and all of them were KICKED, not suspended...There is no difference, stop trying to call out bowden. Bowden does not get too much credit for the program being a success eigher. HE BUILT IT, fsu was an all girls school in the past for goodness sakes. By the way, for the loose lipped crap talker earlier...how bout BOWDEN 2 natl championships...COKER 1...and Bowden was in 1999, not 10 years ago.
Posted: 1:02 AM   by Anonymous
Yeah, the guy about three posts up is right. Bobby Bowden is a terrible coach. I mean a guy who has the most wins in Division 1 history and produced 14 straight 10-win and top 5 teams is a terrible coach. I'm sure you are a better coach because you knew if the QB could run or not.
Posted: 1:28 AM   by Anonymous
These blogs really aren't the place for "Woohoo go team, yeah" noise. Mandel is not the one fueling the issue, he's merely making a prescient observation that if FSU beats Miami, Coker is going to be looked at long and hard by fans and administration alike. He's under tremendous pressure to produce, especially given his complete renovation of the assistant coaching staff; anything less than a convincing win over arch-rival Florida State will be the second nail in his coffin (40-3 to LSU being the first)
Posted: 1:35 AM   by Anonymous
You Miami fans need to stop living in the past and wake up. Not only will the Seminoles make it two in a row this year, with these recent supsensions it might not even be close! For the first time in a while FSU is obviously better at almost every skill position: At QB with Weatherford over Wright, at running Back with Booker (even if Moss was eligible), and deeper at Wide Receiver. Not to mention Florida State's O-Line is Stronger and more experienced than the U's, something it hasn't been in a while. And let's not forget about Mickey Andrew's defense, which has reloaded once again.
Posted: 2:02 PM   by Anonymous
I love it. Go Tigers. I was so tired of listening to Cane fans talk smack prior to the 40-3 beatdown.
Posted: 3:05 PM   by Anonymous
Miami doesn't deserve Larry Coker. He should leave Miami and allow the football program to ooze back down into the cesspool of sleaze out of which he's been trying to raise it. Return Miaimi's football program to the thugs, criminals, and cheaters. A "death penalty" from the NCAA may be the only way to redeem the university.
Posted: 3:14 PM   by Miami Nole
As a Miami native and a graduate of FSU, i am amazed at the constant disrespect toward Bowden and saying how Coker is a better coach when it comes to discipline. Bowden did not have to suspend Warrick and kick Coles off the team before the 99 Miami game, but he did what was best, even though it put the undefeated season in jeopardy. Yes, we have had problems here at FSU, but our worst days are still nowhere near the quiet ones at the "U", and finally suspending players after all this time does not make Coker a better coach.

Miami fans...who are mostly not students or alumni...are just upset because in typical "U" fashion, they ran their mouths about how they were going to own the ACC when they came in, but have made two straight Peach Bowl trips. Im sure the Big East would be more then willing to take you back.

Lastly, in a series like this, it doesnt matter who gets suspended, injuried, or whatever, because this is a rivalry game...Miami still could beat us on sheer pride, though i think we (FSU) will win in a close one. the real crime here is why the game will again suck, because it is game #1. move it to October!
Posted: 9:16 PM   by Anonymous
florida state and miami have been going through the same thing as every other team that hits the plateau of college football. Once you are on top, everyone and everything beats you down!! (see: USC,OKLAHOMA,NEBRASKA,FSU,MIAMI,OHIO STATE,ETC.) Whether the're on-the-field or off? top programs face more scrutiny when they reach the top..with all that said, FSU is on they're way back and I think Miami is still on the dicline with Coker being axed himself at the end of the season. (I predict)Go Noles!!
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