Miami Hurricanes Football: Reviewing the 2015 Season

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Nov 7, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Larry Scott looks on from the sideline during the first half against the Virginia Cavaliers at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Al Golden Era Comes to an End

One of the expectations every year include winning the Coastal Division in the Atlantic Coast Conference. After another year in 2015, the Hurricanes have yet to accomplish this feat since joining the conference in 2004. Although many predicted an 8-4 season or worse, a record like that could earn a birth to the ACC title game. Al Golden started the season with a shorter leash than given before after an abysmal 6-7 season in 2015 knowing that he needed to take the next step forward by winning the Coastal Division.

The Miami Hurricanes started the season 3-0 with wins against FAU, Bethune Cookman and Nebraska. On paper, no one could complain about that. Yet on the football field, FAU gave Miami fits in the second half and Nebraska came back from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime. As these games occurred, most fans thought “here we go again”.  Yes, victories should not be an issue of concern, but wins under Al Golden were never a complete, solid four quarter performance. Golden’s conservative philosophy let teams scrap back to make things interesting in the second half.

The lack of killer instinct and passivity resulted in a loss on the road against Cincinnati, a non power five school. Granted the Bearcats are usually competitive among the teams outside of the major conferences, but they are currently (6-5) on the season. The Miami defense gave up 450 yards this game and they held only one opponent under 200 yards all season when they held Bethune-Cookman to 78 yards. One major component to Al Golden’s demise was his inability to adapt and innovate on defense. Mark D’Onofrio and Al Golden’s 3-4 defensive philosophy never proved to win football games. High quality offenses and even less seem to pick apart this scheme every year. After time and time again, Golden didn’t make any changes and he suffered.

The next week the Canes faced Florida State, a game that Al Golden must win to turn around his tenure. Miami played a tough, hard nose game, but let’s be honest the Seminoles have had a down year compared to the last couple. Dalvin Cook slashed and gashed the defense for three touchdowns and helped FSU come out on top. Al Golden finished his career at Miami with a 0-5 record against the Seminoles. At the University of Miami, that stat doesn’t sit well with the administration, alumni, or fan base.

After a win against Virginia Tech 30-20, some thought Miami gained a little momentum heading into Clemson. The Clemson Tigers arrived into Sun Life Stadium ranked as the #5 team in country. This was yet another chance for Al Golden to earn a signature victory and persuade fans that he might be the guy for the job. Although, Dabo Sweeney’s team annihilated Miami with over 550 yards of offense, gave Brad Kaaya a concussion, and scored 58 points and held the Canes to zero points. Just like that, Al Golden was fired.

Next: Larry Scott Tenure