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Miami DC dismisses Warren Sapp’s scathing critique

Mark D'Onofrio

Former Miami defensive lineman Warren Sapp unloaded both barrels in a scathing critique in a State of The U radio address, saying in part that defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio is killing my school.”  Another former player, Eric Winston, described the defensive scheme as “brutal,” while former defensive back Duane Starks called it “embarrassing” how the defensive staff is consistently “outcoached.”

As the Hurricanes opened spring practice Saturday, D’Onofrio was asked about the wave of criticism that’s washed over him of late.  The coordinator said he was unaware of any criticism and it was the first time hearing of it, then immediately proceeded to brush it off.

“I’m not going to worry about that,” the coach said according to the Miami Herald. “The guys in the building understand what we’re doing. I can only worry about coaching the guys here and trying to get them to execute at a higher level.”

Head coach Al Golden has consistently backed his beleaguered coordinator, with Golden’s boss, athletic director Blake James, was recently quoted as supporting how Golden has put his staff together.

Sapp and others, though, have a point in their collective criticism of how the defense has underperformed of late.

As the Herald wrote, “UM finished in the bottom half of the country in every key statistical category in 2013: 65th of 123 teams in scoring defense (26.8), 77th in run defense (176 yards per game), 88th in third-down conversion defense (31.9 percent success rate for opposing offenses, 45 percent in the final month), 89th in total defense (426.4 yards per game), 90th in pass defense (249.8), and 108th in fourth-down conversion defense (14 of 21 successful).”

There’s certainly plenty of talent on that side of the ball, enough talent where such statistical lows should be unattainable. While Golden stands by his man at the moment, another season of underperforming could lead him to think twice about that stance.

(Photo credit: Miami athletics)

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18 Responses to “Miami DC dismisses Warren Sapp’s scathing critique”
  1. theworkhorsebackdotcom says: Mar 2, 2014 4:46 PM

    For all the stuff that comes out of Sapp’s mouth, he nailed this situation on the nose.

    Put up or shut up time for Coach D.

  2. atxcane says: Mar 2, 2014 4:49 PM

    “There’s certainly plenty of talent on that side of the ball…”

    Didn’t see any games this year huh?

  3. psly2124 says: Mar 2, 2014 4:58 PM

    The u is not even relevant in football anymore. They should go over to a mid major and submerge itself in a .500 abyss.

  4. birdcen says: Mar 2, 2014 5:33 PM

    The U is a joke…just like Sapp and Irvin.

  5. John Taylor says: Mar 2, 2014 6:08 PM

    atxcane: That’s some quality, selective editing.

    “There’s certainly plenty of talent on that side of the ball, enough talent where such statistical lows should be unattainable.”

    Didn’t see any words after the comma huh?

  6. cubano76 says: Mar 2, 2014 6:12 PM

    Just the fact that Sapp said it, I’m siding with the D Coordinator.

  7. atxcane says: Mar 2, 2014 7:29 PM

    @John Taylor,

    The premise (what I quoted) was what was wrong there…”plenty of talent” or even “enough talent” doesn’t describe that side of the ball at all.

  8. steeler1nation says: Mar 2, 2014 10:18 PM


  9. canetic says: Mar 2, 2014 11:43 PM

    If you think a good defense should be aggressive, should be able to tackle, should be able to stop a team on third and long, should be able to stop a running qb, or should keep the opposing team from scoring 40 points, then sure, Miami does not have a good defense. But if you exclude those measurables, then they are adequate.

  10. csilojohnson says: Mar 3, 2014 6:44 AM

    Probably the only time you’ll see Sapp and school in the same sentence.

  11. vincentbojackson says: Mar 3, 2014 7:45 AM

    Looks like Warren Sapp is out making friends again.

    Honestly folks, this guy’s act grew tired 5 years ago.

  12. charlesinwinter says: Mar 3, 2014 9:47 AM

    I dont think he has the football intelligence to adapt to a first-class program. But, if Im wrong or D’Onofrio adapts, I will be the first to say I was wrong. However, how long can we wait for a coordinator who is not only creative, smart and charismatic, but also instills a warrior attitude in his players? I looked at his resume from the beginning and knew he was a major risk. I compared him w other D coordinators at the time and the D coordinator at Florida for example had 13 yrs of pro experience not to mention all the college experience. Im not a football expert, but instead of schemes that were easily picked apart week after week, he, like all great coaches could’ve adapted and used what talent he had. If I were the D coordinator, I would’ve taken my undersized guys and used it to my advantage. I would have (like Louisville did) put 9 guys on the line and sent a different blitz package every play to confuse an offset the offense. He’s had 4 yrs now to develop players. We’ve had a lot of patience w him, but have seen my Canes get humiliated in big games week after week, yr after yr. I have called-off the criticism for now because he wasn’t fired after all like we all hoped he would be. But, as I said, I am not waiting for the end of the 2014 season to do everything I can to get rid of him just as Butch Davis finally had to get rid of his close friend Miller. Miller was full of excuses week after week, but someone had to take the responsibility and it was a great decision because The Canes hired Greg Schiano who took the team to the next level. So Golden, take a cue: I dont care what personal sacrifices you have to make, this is not about you…this is about bringing a National Championship back to Miami and reestablishing the dynasty.

  13. realfootballfan says: Mar 3, 2014 5:27 PM

    More of the DC’s problem is that he doesn’t have the players, particularly up front, to run that scheme but insists on continuing to do it. A sign of a bad coach is one who doesn’t adjust to what he has on hand. The development of the players at Miami has been a bigger problem, going all the way back to the Coker administration. Players got to campus and never improved, got bigger, etc. Look at Harris when he was QB, he still looked like a HS senior when he was a collegesenior, and he’s not the only one.

  14. js20011041 says: Mar 4, 2014 8:02 AM

    The talent simply is not there. Talent wise, that’s a middling to slightly above, ACC defense. Just compare them to their top level league competition. They have one player, Denzel Perryman, who would have started for FSU. They were starting one guy, Highsmith, who wouldn’t even be on scholarship at FSU. They didn’t have a single defensive lineman who makes FSU’s two deep. If you want to dump on this staff for not recruiting well, fine. But whether the scheme is good or bad is irrelevant. The best DC in the world isn’t going to make this defense elite.

  15. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Mar 4, 2014 2:58 PM

    Losing Eddie Johnson really hurt the team, also lost guys like Gionni Paul and Thomas Finnie hurt the defense.

    Plus Golden being unable to recruit properly with the weight of a scandal hurt his ability to bring in top shelf talent.

    Bringing in guys like Chad Thomas and Anthony Moten help immediately, although losing Travonte Valentine to a boat load of cash from LSU was disappointing.

    Secondary will be much better with Deon Bush not playing hurt all year too, he’s a superstar in the making.

  16. canes1 says: Mar 4, 2014 10:47 PM

    I love every time I read comments from people about how Miami isn’t even relevant anymore. Haha. If they aren’t relevant and you don’t care about them…why comment?? I’d give FSU fans a break on this because UM and FSU have a respectful rivalry…all others are just laughable. Those that claim to be UF fans are really probably more a fan of the way overrated SEC…and if you are a fan of an entire conference, you’re a dipshit. Anyone else who hates UM is just a joke of a college football fan and should get to bed because freshman homeroom is calling your name tomorrow morning

  17. justalonewolf says: Mar 6, 2014 1:49 PM

    charlesinwinter: Ah and there you have it, you’re a fucking genious so when do you start as the new DC ? and let us all see your wonderful crediantials, eh? Yeah uhuh right go back to your banana plantation in Cuba and pick some.

  18. darind61 says: Mar 23, 2014 2:09 PM

    I am amazed at all of the attacks on Warren Sapp for speaking the truth. Sapp is a 7 time pro bowl and selectee, and Hall of Famer.The record under Golden is 22-15. Randy Shannon was fired for a 28-22 record. The fact that Golden interviewed for the Penn State Job is disheartening. His only commitment to the U is a paycheck. Now enter his wingman D’Onofrio (DC) this guy could not lead a little league team to a championship. We will constantly be out recruited by other schools. The kids simply don’t trust Golden or his wingman D’Onofrio. Each year I hear and see Golden supporters proclaim the that the U is back! The U will not return to the winning tradition that we are accustomed to until Golden and wingman are gone! Stephen Morris is a quality QB, and he failed to get batter during his days under Golden. Golden can’t motivate or teach, but we has done since arriving is cash those fat paychecks consistently. He is a FRAUD!

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