Mark D’Onofrio

No. 6 Clemson blasts Miami as Golden Era continues to disappoint

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There are two ways to look at No. 6 Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) dominating Miami (4-3, 1-2 ACC) to the tune of a 58-0 final score. Let’s focus on the positives first.

Clemson looks every bit worthy of serious College Football Playoff contention talk as any team in the country so far. A complete team effort in Miami saw the Tigers jump out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the defense score a touchdown and a complete mismatch in total yardage on the road in conference play. Miami may be down, but the Hurricanes are not the ACC’s equivalent of Iowa State or Purdue. Starting quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 15 opf his 19 pass attempts for just 143 yards and one touchdown, but he also got an early rest as Clemson piled on early and put this one in the bag with plenty of time to spare. Watson also rushed for 98 yards and a score. As Watson rolls, so will Clemson.

This was Clemson’s third straight ACC victory by double digits, and the Tigers also own a quality victory over a Notre Dame team that continues to be in the top 15 of the polls. Of course, Clemson’s fate in the ACC and perhaps the national championship picture will likely come down to what happens on November 7 at home against Florida State. The Tigers and Seminoles are the top teams in the ACC and the most likely playoff contenders from the conference. Clemson also has to avoid slipping against North Carolina State next weekend in Raleigh, but all systems appear to be good to go for Clemson. If Clemson gets by these next two games, the Tigers could be in a very good position when the first playoff rankings are unveiled on November 3.

The picture is not nearly as pretty at Miami, where the latest demoralizing loss of the Al Golden Era will only increase the pressure for the program to start making some serious changes. At this point there is really only one move Golden has left to make, but he may be too loyal to play it. Miami defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio has long been the subject of criticism at Miami, and the time has come for Golden to make a change at that position. That is, of course, unless somebody higher up makes the decision for him first.

Miami did lose starting quarterback Brad Kaaya to an injury in the game. He was taken to the locker room to undergo concussion protocol testing and was not set to return. What is unknown is whether that decision was based on the results of the testing or the fact that the game was already out of hand for the Hurricanes. Kaaya’s injury was not even an excuse for this one.

Clemson out-gained Miami 567-146 in total offensive yards. Miami had three turnovers and seven penalties for 88 yards. The most fight Miami showed took place in the pregame warm-ups when a couple Miami players got into a bit of a shouting match with some Clemson players, but this is not like it used to be in Miami. These Miami players have no room for smack talk because they cannot back it up on the field the way the Hurricanes of the 1980s did.

Miami still has a difficult road to travel in order to get to the postseason. Although Miami just needs to win two more games, the Hurricanes still have contests against Duke in Durham, a road trip to North Carolina, a home game against Georgia Tech and a road trip to Pittsburgh. Those are not going to be easy games at all for Miami. This season could get ugly coming down the stretch.

Broyles Award nominees include Kiffin, Venables, 38 others

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With the next round fo the coaching carousel about to get underway at full speed, some programs may want to pay attention to the list of names nominated for the Broyles Award. The Broyles Award is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football, and the list of 40 nominees for this year’s award includes some names with previous head coaching experience and others about to be in line for a head coaching gig somewhere around the country.

Current head coaches who previously won the Broyles Award include Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, UConn’s Bob Diaco and Duke’s David Cutcliffe. Last year’s Broyles Award winner was Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who many feel could be ready for a head coaching offer in the next round of the coaching carousel.  This year Narduzzi is not a finalist for the award, but Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner is.

“This will be one of the most challenging years ever for our selection committee to choose the top 5 finalists and winner, so many assistant coaches did outstanding work this year,” David Bazzel, Broyles Award executive director.

This year’s Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 9 by The Rotary Club of Little Rock and sponsor Delta Dental. The award is named after former Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles, who had a solid track record of pumping out quality assistant coaches. Some of the assistants who coaches under Broyles include Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, and Jackie Sherrill.

Broyles Award Nominees

Alabama – Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator
Appalachian State – Dwayne Ledford, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Arizona – Jeff Casteel, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas – Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas State University – Walt Bell, Offensive Coordinator
Boise State University – Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator
Boston College – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
Brigham Young University – Nick Howell, Defensive coordinator
Clemson – Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator
Colorado State – Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
Duke University – John Latina, Run Game Coordinator/OL
East Carolina University – Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator
FIU – Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator
Georgia Southern University – Doug Ruse, Offensive Coordinator
Louisiana – Marquase Lovings, Running Backs
Louisiana Tech – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
Louisville – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator
Memphis – James Shibest, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
Miami – Mark D’Onofrio, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan – Greg Mattison, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan State University – Dave Warner, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Minnesota – Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
Mississippi State – Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator
Missouri – Dave Steckel, Defensive Coordinator
NC State – Desmond Kitchings, Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator
Ohio State University – Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator
Ole Miss – Dave Wommack, Defensive Coordinator
Oregon – Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator
Penn State University – Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator
Stanford – Lance Anderson, Defensive Coordinator
TCU – Doug Meacham, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Temple – Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator
UCF – Brent Key, Offensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
UCLA – Noel Mazzone, Offensive Coordinator
Utah – Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator
Utah State University – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator
UTSA – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator
West Virginia University – Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator
Western Michigan University – Kirk Ciarrocca, Offensive Coordinator
Wisconsin – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator

Warren Sapp not exactly a big a fan of the state of The U

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Warren Sapp has never been shy of expressing his thoughts or feelings. This is why if Sapp is making the rounds at the Super Bowl’s week-long radio row and generating some buzz. On Thursday he was asked about a number of subjects regarding the Pro Football Hall of Fame class and the upcoming Super Bowl by Miami sports station 560 WQAM, and that included some questions about Sapp’s Miami Hurricanes.

He was not all that thrilled about the current state of The U.

“Don’t talk to me about Al Golden and whatever that D-coordinator’s name is,” Sapp said. “Don’t hire someone you can’t fire. That’s the golden rule. The D-coordinator is killing my school. That looks like no Miami defense in the history of our school; even when [Howard] Schnellenberger was getting it started!”

The defensive coordinator Sapp did not bother to mention by name is Mark D’Onofrio, who has come under fire for struggling defenses the last couple of seasons at Miami. The Hurricanes finished 10th in the ACC each of the last two seasons in scoring defense. Miami was 13th in the 14-team ACC in total defense in 2013.

Sapp also took exception with Golden interviewing for the head coaching vacancy at Penn State.

“Go home,” Sapp said when reminded Golden was a Penn State alum. “You don’t need to interview at home if you know what home is. Go home.”

Clearly Golden has some work to do to smooth over relations with some members of the Miami football family.

Full audio via 560 WQAM.