Godfrey: All right Bud, I spent a weekend with Luther Campbell last month, and he made his case for why Miami football can and should rise again. So you tell me why it isn't a good job for a top-flight head coaching candidate like Tom Herman or Justin Fuente.
Bud: Let me be clear. Miami can be a good short-term job, and it could be a good longer-term position if the administration spends some money. That's the most important issue here. There's little evidence the program has money. The school is certainly rich, but the athletic department seems like a different story. This is a small private school with a high international enrollment. Many of its students become alumni who don't give a shit about football, let alone donating to make it better.
Godfrey: Miami is private, meaning nosy reporters like me can't FOIA budget reports. But according to the USA Today salaries database, Al Golden was at roughly $2.5 million a year. For perspective, the schools in that range are Boston College, Minnesota and Northwestern, not Ohio State or LSU. Or maybe more importantly, not Florida or Florida State.
Bud: Miami went cheap in hiring an alumnus, Randy Shannon ($1.2 annually per reports), before Golden. Now it has to buy out Golden's remaining four years, plus coordinators. Miami's assistants have complained to sources we know about how its resources don't measure up to those of other major programs.
Godfrey: Fans and media want to talk about head coaching candidate lists right now. The bigger question is what kind of package Miami will put together, not only a competitive compensation for coaches but also a financial commitment to what he'll need: Recruiting budgets, support staff, facility upgrades, etc. You don't take a job like Miami and start lowering expectations, even if you should. So that means the next coach is going to need a Florida- and Florida State-sized bankroll to truly compete. There might be an increase in funding, but I don't see that kind of a jump happening.
Bud: Totally agree. Miami is at a crossroads. If it has the money, it has to spend it. And about those expectations, this is a solid roster, but it's not top-15 nationally. Miami has a front-running fan base that's not in the seats or the collection plate. But those folks crow about Miami needing to win national titles.
Godfrey: I don't know Florida like you do, but I've talked to enough people in the industry to understand the unique problem in Coral Gables. The one thing Luke said that stuck with me the most is how Miami wants to sell "SWAG" on a t-shirt and then recruit and behave in the exact opposite manner. You can't do both.
Bud: You need someone who can relate to the culture at Miami. Golden's "unity overcomes the adversity" slogans were so lame. That is not how these kids are coached when they start in little league. You need someone who relates, who can inspire them. But the administration seems to prefer more of the milquetoast Golden type.
Godfrey: And in 2015, you can't expect the famous Howard Schnellenberger strategy of fencing off "The State of Miami" to compensate for the lack of money and support. Kids in Dade County are uploading highlight clips to Instagram when they're in middle school. Digital film is the biggest change to the recruiting landscape in the last decade, diminishing the local colleges' advantage of identifying prospects before out-of-town schools can. This new hire must be someone for whom local players want to play.
Bud: To do that, you'll need someone with connections to the area or with the ability to put together a staff that has them.
I'd also strongly suggest finding a coach who runs the spread. Miami is the clear No. 3 program in the state, and the Gators and 'Noles both run dedicated pro-style systems. Miami has a USC-like attachment to the pro system and having great tight ends, but Miami needs to let this go. There is a ton of talent in Miami in the form of smaller, quick receivers who go out of state and catch a ton of balls. FSU and Florida only take about one each year; this is an inefficiency Miami should look to exploit.
Godfrey: So more Rakeem Cato, the record-setting Marshall QB from Miami, and less Brock Berlin? Makes sense, with so many venues fighting for the entertainment dollar. Points sell tickets. We talked last week about how coaches in Texas use the spread to recruit kids disinterested in the traditional power run. The side effect is that fans are willing to buy tickets to see a high scoring, pass-heavy attack.
My list for The U basically comes down to Alabama assistant and former Cane Mario Cristobal, not so much because of his pure coaching acumen, but his unique knowledge of the politics. He knows how to handle the Miami high schools and youth leagues. He knows how to manage university officials concerned about the ghosts of the 1980s. And he has head coaching experience, albeit truncated after he got a raw deal at FIU.
Bud: Assuming Miami continues to be cheap, the Canes need someone who has proven success doing more with less. That's why I don't see a fit in Lane Kiffin, who has been at rich programs like Tennessee, Alabama and USC. Kiffin has no experience doing more with less, regardless of his recruiting prowess.
We talk about expectations, but man, has it ever been easier to follow someone at Miami? Three straight underachieving coaches.
Godfrey: I'm not sure how you change expectations, though. The city and the Hurricane fan base are fickle. I look at Miami now and see a program that made a genius move by jumping to the ACC over a decade ago. They're safe and sound in the Power 5 now, but they don't remind me of a Power 5 program. With what we're talking about -- fan apathy, a city school playing in an NFL stadium 45 minutes from campus, a lack of budget and resources -- hell, Miami sounds like the programs Fuente and Herman are coming from, not likely headed to.
Bud: The next coach needs to ask a lot of questions. What benchmarks must I hit? A Playoff appearance? Are potential future employers going to be in tune with the challenges of the Miami job if I am using it as a stepping stone to something bigger? Are they going to recognize how tough it will be to bring a title to Coral Gables in the 2010s?
Godfrey: Someone will take the chance. Miami still has the most upside of any open job east of USC.
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