Miami Hurricanes Football: Is Mark D’Onofrio The Right Fit?


Nov 5, 2011; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden before the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Hurricanes were crushed by Kansas State, to the tune of 52-13.  To some this came as a surprise, however, I knew that playing in Manhattan was going to pose a challenge for this young ‘Canes team.  With redemption on their minds, Miami simply couldn’t hang with the no.22 Wildcats.

So this brings me to ask the question: Is defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio the right man for the job?

D’Onofrio, a Penn State alumnus and former Green Bay Packer, has coached at St. Peter’s (linebackers coach), Georgia (defensive assistant), Rutgers (linebackers coach) and Virginia (linebackers coach).  One would presume that his resume is certainly impressive, correct?

Following the blow out at Kansas State, fans are beginning to question D’Onofrio’s ability to live up to Miami’s standards.  Throughout the years, Miami has seen it’s fair share of stout defenders: Warren Sapp, Dan Morgan, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor – the list goes on-and-on.

Granted, Miami’s current crop of defenders are young – actually, very young.  And when your top defenders are mostly true freshmen, one would hope to see a gradual incline over time.  The problem is, Miami fans have been waiting for that incline since the days of Randy Shannon being the man in charge.  It seems that many of the highly recruited athletes that have donned the orange and green have not been coached to their maximum potential, i.e. Ray-Ray Armstrong, Marcus Forston, Ramon Buchanan, Jordan Futch, Vaughn Telemaque, etc.

The fact is, something is not happening on the defensive side of the ball, something is still lacking.  Whether it is youth or athletes playing when they shouldn’t be (and they know that they shouldn’t be), even health can factor in as a concern.  To me, the motivation seems to be intact and Miami clearly looks improved physically.  But like any other job in the real world, when the problem continues, you either A) fix it; or B) find somebody who can.

Now that I have vented, the pass rush was still non-existent in week 2, the middle remained wide open and why doesn’t Miami feel the need to blitz?

This is a team that gave up 542 yards to Boston College and 498 yards to the Wildcats.  Something needs to change.  The current defensive scheme is not for Miami.  It may have worked at Temple, but it’s not gonna last long in Coral Gables – not when the expectations run so high.  Receiving a 52-13 shellacking ain’t gonna hold up well.  I remember when Miami faced teams like Kansas State and made them look like pop warner teams.  Not so much anymore.

I am all for buying into Golden’s vision and I am fully aware that turning a program around is not something that occurs overnight, but if the ‘Canes defense doesn’t improve drastically after the end of this season, maybe Golden needs to begin the search.

Now I may be overreacting a tad, jumping the gun if you will, or maybe my expectations are too high – maybe because the past, oh let’s say decade, has been a miserable time for Hurricanes football.  Maybe I have been spoiled by Miami’s past dominance and I long for the days of winning titles, as most of you do.  I simply want the U back on top of college football.

Not so simple, right?

In other news:

* WR Allen Hurns suffered a early game-ending injury against K-State.  Golden said that he didn’t know the extent of Hurns’ injury, however, the FX television crew speculated that a concussion may have been the cause.

* RT Seantrel Henderson, who was listed as the backup to freshman Ereck Flowers, saw action in Saturday’s game.  When Flowers limped off of the field early in the third quarter, Henderson entered the game.

* On the bright side, UM committed limited penalties against K-State.  Miami was flagged four times totaling 30 yards.

* DT Luther Robinson did not travel to Kansas State.