A Fixed Point In Time Part II: The 2004 Season

A Fixed Point In Time Part II: The 2004 Season

Dan E. Dangerously
Dan E. Dangerously
Miami and Louisville have a weird history. The two programs are oddly linked together despite having barely played each other over the past 80 years. There was a ton of back story to this bowl game that I wanted to include in my The More You Know post. I started going off on 2 separate tangents so I had to cut most of it out. I still liked those tangents, so I made this so I could expound on it a bit. This is Part II, and it deals with the 2004 season and how the game against Louisville helped shape the direction it went.



With Howard Schnellenberger no longer being at either school, combined with the fact that they weren't playing each other anymore, both Miami and Louisville remained in a static state (Pell Grant scandal notwithstanding). Louisville was a respectable Conference-USA program and Miami was...well...The U. It didn't seem like these 2 programs would cross paths in a meaningful way ever again. Then an agreement was made for a home and home series in 2004 and 2006. We were the big dogs of college football at the time. So when the games were announced it was looked at as a way to help our strength of schedule with a decent non BCS school. We ended up getting more than we bargained for.



2004:

The 2004 season started out pretty damn awesome. We were coming off four consecutive BCS appearances, completing the cycle by playing in the Sugar, Rose, Fiesta and Orange Bowls in back to back to back to back years. It was also our 1st year as a member of the ACC, and there was no doubt in every Hurricane fan's mind that we were going to be running things for the foreseeable future. This t-shirt was made, and there were links all over grassy for people to buy one:


Yes, this is a real thing that happened

We all believed it too. Not only did we believe it, but that's about the most polite way to express how we felt about the other teams in the ACC upon our arrival. We kicked off the year with a Labor Day showdown against FSU. It was to be the first of three meetings on to Labor Day against them so a win over them would set us up nicely to win the conference. The game was sloppy as hell, or as we thought at the time, "a defensive struggle." Brock Berlin managed a last minute drive, and Sinorice Moss tied the game up with just 30 seconds remaining.



Once we got to overtime Chris Rix
(love that man) fumbled the ball away. Frank Gore ended the game 2 plays later with an 18 yard touchdown run.



It was our sixth consecutive win over Florida State. We followed up that win with convincing victories over Louisiana Tech, Houston, and Georgia Tech. Through those first 4 games Miami's defense had given up only 1 touchdown (Houston). We were convinced that our defense was going to keep rolling along, despite losing guys like Vince Wilfork and Sean Taylor who had left early for the draft. Then we played Louisville the next week, where we were formally introduced to Bobby "Olive Garden" Petrino.

Miami 41 - Louisville 38

After jumping out to an early 7-0 lead, UM's defense began dying a death by 1,000 crossing routes. Everything Petrino dialed up worked as the Cardinals went on to take a 24-7 lead into halftime. Nobody on the defense had a pulse. Then this happened:



Louisville scored another touchdown two plays after Brandon Meriweather's hit to make it 31-14. However that hit put an end to the endless amount of crossing routes. The team also woke up from the collective nap they were taking. Brock Berlin started slinging it around the field and pretty soon it was 31-27 with less than 9 minutes remaining in the game. Louisville had been punting away from Devin Hester all game long. But then Louisville's punter Brent Moody went and done goofed, punting directly to him. Consequences were never the same. Hester made one cut, turned north, and the seas parted.

[video=youtube;_TYAka7X-ko]www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TYAka7X-ko[/video]



Just an unreal human being...I could watch that gif all day. I can almost hear Mike Tirico's call in my head.

Mike Tirico said:
...Picking up blocks...HE HIT THE MIDDLE HARD!! Devin Hester...the punter to beat...HE BEAT HIM!! THE MIAMI HURRICANES TAKE THE LEAD!!



What most people forget is that Louisville went right down the field and scored again to retake the lead on their next possession. It took another clutch drive orchestrated by Berlin to win the game. Kerry Rhodes dropped a sure interception on that drive, and Darnell Jenkins lowered his shoulder on 4th down to move the chains. That conversion set up Frank Gore's game winner with less than a minute remaining. Antrel Rolle made the game clinching interception of a failed Hail Mary attempt by Louisville. We won the game, but our defense was thoroughly exposed.


It wasn't the first time an opponent exploited a weakness in Randy's defenses (see West Virginia in 2002). But what it did do was show an easy way for our opponents to attack it for the remainder of the year. Miami won the following week despite the defense giving up 31 points to NC State. The Canes weren't as fortunate the week after when they gave up another 31 points to UNC (3-4) and lost on a last second field goal by Connor Barth.





Real quick, this was the 1st Miami game I ever attended. I chose to go to this one over the NC State game the previous week because I felt the UNC game was more of a sure win. If you haven't noticed by now, I get really cunty when Miami loses and I didn't want my girlfriend to see me like that. FML.
Just an absolutely sickening feeling that night. The worst of which was spending 2 hours in traffic trying exit the crappy parking garage I was in. All while UNC fans ran up to my window to talk **** to me.

Anyways, that great defense that gave up just 1 touchdown through the first 4 games was giving up 33.3 points per game in their last 3 games. The natives in South Florida naturally became restless. But then came Eric Winston to provide perspective. When asked his thoughts about fans being dissatisfied with the performance against UNC, Winston replied, "They [UNC] have scholarship players too". The sting from that loss carried over to the next week and UM lost in overtime 24-17, at home to Clemson (4-4). I guess someone forgot to tell them that Clemson had scholarship players as well.

Miami got back to winning the next week when they went up Charlottesville to play #10 ranked UVA (where Al Golden was the Defensive Coordinator) and beat them 31-21. After blowing out Wake Forest 52-7, Miami was set to host Virginia Tech on the final game of the season. Miami had a bye week after beating Wake Forest so they had ample time to prepare for it. Since the ACC only had 11 teams (Boston College had yet to join) there wasn't a conference championship game in 2004. So that meant the game against the Hokies served as a de facto title game.



During that bye week Virginia Tech defeated UVA to clinch a share of the ACC Title. Once that picture above surfaced the internet was abuzz with talk of the overconfident Hokies looking past a Miami team coming off a bye. In the end all that extra time to prepare meant nothing and Miami lost a tight one that day in the Orange Bowl 16-10. How do you only score 10 points in a do or die situation...coming off a bye week...with all that time to prepare? So frustrating. It was fitting that the winning score took place when Bryan Randall hit Eddie Royal on (you guessed it) a crossing route for a 39 yard touchdown.

[video=youtube;E07W15p5Q0c]www.youtube.com/watchv=E07W15p5Q0c[/video]


Sean Glennon sucks

After the game Larry Coker provided us with this gem:


Larry Coker said:
Maybe the expectations were a little bit out of kilter...In reality, on paper, we probably weren't supposed to be this good. We weren't picked to win this league. We were ranked pretty high [in preseason], but I think that was on reputation...


Unreal. Did this guy seriously just say that? Does he know what program he's at? We just lost 3 conference games in the ACC, and this guy is talking about expectations being too high? Like we didn't have the talent to beat those Clemson and UNC teams. This of course would be the first of many failed attempts by Miami to lock up an ACC title when it was served up to them on a silver platter.

Miami was sent to the Peach Bowl where they met the Florida Gators. Florida had just fired the disaster that was Ron Zook midseason. Some guy by the name of Charlie Strong would be serving as the interim head coach for the bowl game as some other guy they just hired (Urban Meyer) coached his Utah team in the Fiesta Bowl against Pitt. Florida didn't put up much of a fight and Miami won fairly easy 27-10, giving the Hurricanes a 9-3 record. The play of the game occurred halfway into the 1st quarter when a blocked field goal got scooped up by Devin Hester and taken the other way for 6.



Beating Florida always puts a smile on your face. So after the bowl game some people were willing to overlook the fact that we failed to make a BCS bowl for the first time since 1999. They also were willing to forgive the team for failing to win an awful conference by pissing away games to mediocre teams. Things wouldn't change in the year that followed as the roster only returned 5 players from Butch Davis' final recruiting class. The talent level was clearly slipping and the Hurricanes' downward slide into mediocrity continued.
 

Comments (19)

Man, it has been a slow, painful, soul-crushing decline for about the last 10 years. Reading some of that stuff really takes me back to when I thought we just had a rough, out-of-character game (UNC). But I was sure it was a bump in the road.

Then I realized we'd had an entire down year. But surely it was just an aberration. I just knew it.

And then it kept happening. The inexplicable losses. Again, and again, and again. The Downturn was in full effect.

LOTS of heartbreakers and disbelief for years on end. Ugh.
 
Reading that felt like I was reading a recap of this season. Damn near identical description from losing to teams we shouldn't have to the apathy of player's responses. Interesting.

Great stuff Dan
 
Great stuff Dan. We should had fired Cooker the year had SIX 1st round draft picks and did not win a NC. Glad you pointed out the Randy's defense already sucked by this time. Big misconception that he was a good DC.
 
Reading that felt like I was reading a recap of this season. Damn near identical description from losing to teams we shouldn't have to the apathy of player's responses. Interesting.

Great stuff Dan
It wasn't my intent but I can see how one might make analogies.
 
Great stuff Dan. We should had fired Cooker the year had SIX 1st round draft picks and did not win a NC. Glad you pointed out the Randy's defense already sucked by this time. Big misconception that he was a good DC.
It wasn't so much he sucked, those defenses were light-years better than what we have now. There were just pretty easy ways to exploit certain things.
 
Reading that felt like I was reading a recap of this season. Damn near identical description from losing to teams we shouldn't have to the apathy of player's responses. Interesting.

Great stuff Dan
It wasn't my intent but I can see how one might make analogies.

Leave it to NVA to make the connection. Morris is the only player that sounded aloof in his interviews and unfortunately he is the quarterback. Eric Winston is a tool.

Losing to a UNC (6-6), Clemson (6-5) and VT 10-3 2004

Does not equal:

Losing to a Duke (10-3), VT (8-4) and FSU (12-0) 2013
 
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Reading that felt like I was reading a recap of this season. Damn near identical description from losing to teams we shouldn't have to the apathy of player's responses. Interesting.

Great stuff Dan
It wasn't my intent but I can see how one might make analogies.

Leave it to NVA to make the connection. Morris is the only player that sounded aloof in his interviews and unfortunately he is the quarterback. Eric Winston is a tool.

Losing to a UNC (6-6), Clemson (6-5) and VT 10-3 2004

Does not equal:

Losing to a Duke (10-3), VT (8-4) and FSU (12-0) 2013
Man your love for Al Golden is so strong that you can't even admit that there are similarities between that season and the 2013 season.

Strength of Schedule 2004 Season - 10th in the country according to the stats I got
Ranked 13th in Points allowed per game
But yes the 2013 season was so much more successful than that season. Keep telling yourself that.

I got you so rustled that you can't help but defend Golden when I wasn't even attacking him. Lulz at you and your emotional postings.
 
Great stuff Dan. We should had fired Cooker the year had SIX 1st round draft picks and did not win a NC. Glad you pointed out the Randy's defense already sucked by this time. Big misconception that he was a good DC.
It wasn't so much he sucked, those defenses were light-years better than what we have now. There were just pretty easy ways to exploit certain things.

This thread is starting to feel more and more like this entire season. Losing to mediocre ACC teams we shouldn't and a DC who can easily be exploited by the slightest of competent offensive coordinators.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
 
Reading that felt like I was reading a recap of this season. Damn near identical description from losing to teams we shouldn't have to the apathy of player's responses. Interesting.

Great stuff Dan
It wasn't my intent but I can see how one might make analogies.

Leave it to NVA to make the connection. Morris is the only player that sounded aloof in his interviews and unfortunately he is the quarterback. Eric Winston is a tool.

Losing to a UNC (6-6), Clemson (6-5) and VT 10-3 2004

Does not equal:

Losing to a Duke (10-3), VT (8-4) and FSU (12-0) 2013
Man your love for Al Golden is so strong that you can't even admit that there are similarities between that season and the 2013 season.

Strength of Schedule 2004 Season - 10th in the country according to the stats I got
Ranked 13th in Points allowed per game
But yes the 2013 season was so much more successful than that season. Keep telling yourself that.

I got you so rustled that you can't help but defend Golden when I wasn't even attacking him. Lulz at you and your emotional postings.

and I guess I got you so rustled that you made the assumption I was supporting Golden in my post. Where did my Golden love come out? I was talking about the 2004 team and 2013 team, not coaches.
 
Reading that felt like I was reading a recap of this season. Damn near identical description from losing to teams we shouldn't have to the apathy of player's responses. Interesting.

Great stuff Dan
It wasn't my intent but I can see how one might make analogies.

Leave it to NVA to make the connection. Morris is the only player that sounded aloof in his interviews and unfortunately he is the quarterback. Eric Winston is a tool.

Losing to a UNC (6-6), Clemson (6-5) and VT 10-3 2004

Does not equal:

Losing to a Duke (10-3), VT (8-4) and FSU (12-0) 2013
Man your love for Al Golden is so strong that you can't even admit that there are similarities between that season and the 2013 season.

Strength of Schedule 2004 Season - 10th in the country according to the stats I got
Ranked 13th in Points allowed per game
But yes the 2013 season was so much more successful than that season. Keep telling yourself that.

I got you so rustled that you can't help but defend Golden when I wasn't even attacking him. Lulz at you and your emotional postings.

and I guess I got you so rustled that you made the assumption I was supporting Golden in my post. Where did my Golden love come out? I was talking about the 2004 team and 2013 team, not coaches.
Lulz. Teams are an extension of their coaches. Good try good effort though.

Now lets not sully a great thread.
 
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I remember those shirts. I cant believe we've been in this shiz league for 10 years and have gooseggs for titles, can't even win the cotdam Coastal. Dee hiring Randy.... gawd damit.
 
What a great piece of work Dan. Kudos again.

I remember that season very well too. It was frustrating and little did we know at the time would be a peek at what the next 5 years would bring.


Can a guy still buy those t-shirts anywhere?
 
Its the potential that kills more than anything. To know that this program has the potential for greatness and yet it hasn't reached it for whatever reasons. Hopefully Golden will be the one to right the ship.
 
Great piece indeed. What this shows is a University, AD and Boosters who are good liberal administrators, but lack the knowledge and how too when it comes to building a football powerhouse. The decline in Hurricane football can be directly attributed to leadership that didn't understand or see that the landscape of college football had changed to a big money sport, i.e. facilities, budgets, coaches and recruiting required big money. They were too slow and refused to accept what needed to be done, so we got Coker and Shannon on the cheap. Our facilities were D2. It took this program almost dying for these wine and cheese liberal administrators to understand a significant investment was needed. That's why 10 years later we're seeing this same group touting the new facilities. Duhh!!! With all due respect to Al Golden we need to leap ahead and shock the world by bringing in a pro caliber staff that can give us instant credibility and success. This administration, boosters and fans don't seem able to understand the kind of things you have to do to compete on the level we want to return to. We can't keep being treated by a nurses assistant! We need the top Doctor from Johns Hopkins too treat our symptoms! Point being that we'll never get back to where we were with this staff. Its just the reality guys, nothing against where Al has brought us.

My suggestion for coaches I believe can get us into the top 5 is:
1. Greg Schiano. Has Miami background. Coached in Pros and with top Coaches, Saw with he did at turning Rutgers into a competitive program. Excellent recruiter and talent developer. Dude would be that Doctor.

2. Kirby Smart because he's learned the process and would bring instant credibility coming from Bama and been schooled by Saban. He's learned and knows the kinda Coordinators it takes to win. Plus being in SoFl he'll have the recruiting base and the connections throughout the SEC to add to the bevy of talent withing a 100 miles of the U.

3. Pep Hamilton. Had huge success at Stanford as OC. So much so Indy Colts made him their OC. Dude great at the X's and O's and developing players. Brings a high aptitude to a top quality private institution. Gotta admit that being an African American should bring that intangible to the table when recruiting majority AA athletes.
 
damn, this is sooo depressing. Got to understand where you are before you can move ahead. I hope we can turn this thing around with a win against Louisville on Saturday. The more that Dan E. writes, the more that I realize that this game is another pivitol moment for Golden and this program. We can end the mediocrity now, or keep toiling in this **** for another few years.
 
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