2006 Miami Hurricanes football team


2006 Miami Hurricanes football team

Pregame Line: Off

This was the seventh meeting between Miami and Florida A&M. Miami continues to lead the all-time series, 6-1. The two teams had last met in 2002, with Miami winning, 63-17.

Louisville

Pregame Line: Miami -17

In the eighteenth meeting between the schools, Miami extended the all-time series lead to 11-7. Miami won 14-13, after a 27 yard gain on 3rd and 24 which lead to a touchdown pass by Kyle Wright to James Bryant and gave Miami the win. Freshman RB Javarris James set a school rushing record for freshman by posting 148 rushing yards, breaking the previous record of 147 rushing yards set by Clinton Portis. Prior to the game, a number of planes hired by Miami fans unhappy with the team's poor start circled over the Orange Bowl while carrying banners demanding the firing of the embattled Coker, as well as Athletic Director Paul Dee.

North Carolina

Pregame Line: Miami -20

Playing without 13 players who were suspended for their actions in the previous week's brawl with FIU, and missing starting tight end Greg Olsen and starting linebacker Jon Beason due to injury, the shorthanded 'Canes raced out to a 20-2 third quarter lead behind strong play from QB Kyle Wright. Underdog Duke would not give up, though, rallying to score two unanswered fourth quarter touchdowns to trim Miami's lead to 20-15 (Duke failed to convert a two-point conversion attempt on the second touchdown). Meanwhile, the Duke defense put the clamps on Miami's running game, holding the Hurricanes to a paltry 37 yards rushing on 25 carries (1.5 ypc) for the game. Duke, however, could not capitalize on two opportunities to take the lead. After driving down to the Miami 29-yard line with less than 3:30 remaining in the game, Duke was stopped on a fourth down attempt and turned the ball over to Miami. Duke's defense would bend, as Miami drove down to the Duke 34, but Duke was able to stop Miami on third down. Faced with a 4th-and-2 from Duke's 34-yard line with inside 2:15 remaining, Miami head coach Larry Coker elected to punt and rely on his vaunted defense rather than go for it on fourth down or attempt a long field goal.

Duke took over from its own 11-yard line and strung together an impressive drive that brought the Blue Devils down to the Hurricanes' 6-yard line with :03 remaining in the game. On third down and with time expiring, Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis' threw a pass intended for wide receiver Eron Riley in the left side of the endzone. However, Miami safety Willie Cooper was lying in wait and was able to jump the route and intercept Lewis' pass at the goal line. Cooper returned the ball all the way to the Duke 15-yard line before voluntarily falling to the ground to end the game and deny Duke what would have been a momentous upset.

Wright completed 23 of 41 passes for 291 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Duke wide receiver Jomar Wright was impressive in defeat, catching 10 passes for 170 yards against Miami's makeshift secondary. Miami sophomore safety Kenny Phillips intercepted three passes, tying a school record. Phillips was named the ACC's Defensive Back of the Week for his stellar play.

Miami improved to 5-2 on the year with a 2-1 ACC record, setting up a showdown the next week with Georgia Tech for control of the ACC's Coastal Division.

Georgia Tech

Pregame Line: Georgia Tech -5.5] The loss was Miami's fifth consecutive against ranked opponents dating back to the previous season's Peach Bowl loss to LSU, and ensured Miami of its first four-loss season since 1999.

Maryland

]

With the Hurricanes dropping to 5-6 (2-5 ACC), they would need to win their final game of the season against Boston College in order to become bowl eligible.

Boston College

Pregame Line: Boston College -3.5

On November 29, 2006, Miami accepted an invitation to play against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the MPC Computers Bowl at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho on December 31. [cite web | url=2006-11-29 | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2680158 | title=Miami accepts invitation to play in MPC Computers Bowl | author=Associated Press | date=2006-11-29 | publisher=ESPN.com] Playing in 20 degree temperatures, quarterback Kirby Freeman completed 11 of 19 passes for 272 yards and led Miami to a 21-20 victory in coach Larry Coker's final game. Freeman, who also rushed for a touchdown, was named the game's Most Valuable Player. The win was clinched when Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe was intercepted by Chavez Grant at the Miami 33 yard line with :18 remaining in the game. After the game, Coker was carried off the field by his players.

The win improved Miami's record to 7-6, making the 2006 campaign Miami's ninth straight winning season. [cite web | url=2007-01-01 | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?confId=1&gameId=263652440 | title=Game-saving interception by Grant ices win for Miami | author=Associated Press | date=2006-12-31 | publisher=ESPN.com]

Bryan Pata murder

Defensive tackle Bryan Pata was shot and killed on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. [cite web | title=Miami senior lineman shot, killed; death ruled a homicide | accessdate=2006-11-07 | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2653361 | format=HTML | publisher=ESPN.com | language=English ] Pata was murdered at The Colony apartment complex in Kendall by an unknown assailant some time around 7:30 pm.

The Miami-Dade police thus far have declined to release any further information about the specific circumstances of the shooting until they finish interviewing witnesses, but have ruled the death a homicide.

Pata was the fourth Miami football player to die in the past ten years. Linebacker Marlin Barnes and a female companion were bludgeoned to death in Barnes' on-campus apartment in 1996 by the woman's jealous ex-lover. In 2002, linebacker Chris Campbell was killed in a car accident. A car accident in 2003 also claimed the life of safety Al Blades.

Pata was described by friends and acquaintances as a "Christian" with a friendly, outgoing personality. Pata, who was projected to be a third-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, also harbored dreams of one day possibly joining the FBI when his football career was over. [cite web | title=Canes lineman Pata shot, killed | accessdate=2006-11-08 | url=http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/15954555.htm | format=HTML | publisher=MiamiHerald.com | language=English ]

Epilogue

With the Hurricanes finishing the regular season at 6-6, the 2006 season proved to be one of the worst for the program in the past thirty years. The fall of Miami, which established itself as the most successful college football program of the past twenty five years, was one of the biggest stories in collegiate football in 2006.

The season was the culmination of a gradual decline for the program since it won the national championship in 2001. In each year since, Miami appeared to have taken a step back in terms of national stature and its overall record, going from an undefeated national championship in 2001 to a national championship game loss in 2002 to a two-loss season in 2003 to back-to-back three loss seasons in 2004 and 2005, and a six-loss season in 2006. The team, which had the longest current streak of being ranked in the AP Poll, fell from the AP Top 25 in 2006 for the first time in 10 seasons.

Most noticeable during the decline were the mounting losses to mediocre programs, the increase in home losses, and a persistently anemic offense.

Only a late season win over Boston College ensured that Miami would finish the season bowl eligible. Since 1983, Miami had failed to play in a bowl game just twice: in 1995, when the program served a one-year bowl suspension, and in 1997, when the Hurricanes, hampered by NCAA scholarship sanctions, finished just 5-6.

Considerable speculation about Larry Coker's job status began to swirl after Miami's loss to Louisville in the third game of the season, which only intensified after the midseason brawl against FIU and the team's four game losing streak late in the season.

As expected, Coker was dismissed on November 24, 2006, the morning after his Hurricanes closed the regular season with a 17-14 upset win over #18 Boston College. Coker will coach the team in its bowl game. As part of the terms of his contract, Coker will receive a buyout in the neighborhood of $2 to $3 million. [cite web | url=2006-11-24 | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2674282 | title=Coker fired by Miami after .500 season | author= | date=2006-11-24 | publisher=ESPN.com]

Head Coaching Search

In the aftermath of Coker's firing, a number of prominent college head coaches were speculated as potential candidates for the Miami head coaching job, including South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier [cite web | title=Miami reportedely set to target Spurrier | accessdate=2006-11-19 | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15801939/ | format=HTML | publisher=MSNBC.com | language=English ] [cite web | url=2006-11-19 | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2668273 | title=Source: If Coker fired, Miami to target Spurrier | author=Joe Schad | date=2006-11-18 | publisher=ESPN.com] [cite web | url=2006-11-24 | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2668273 | title=Say what? Spurrier says he's not going to Miami | author= | date=2006-11-19 | publisher=ESPN.com] , former Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez, and Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano. Schiano, a former defensive coordinator at Miami, was reported to be the university's top choice. [cite web | url=2006-11-24 | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=schlabach_mark&id=2674357 | title=Miami official: Canes to target Rutgers' Schiano | author=Mark Schlabach | date=2006-11-24 | publisher=ESPN.com] [cite web | url=2006-11-24 | url=http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/16092277.htm| title=Schiano appears to be at top of Miami's list of candidates | author=Barry Jackson | date=2006-11-24 | publisher=TheMercuryNews.com] Schiano discussed the position with Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee, but subsequently removed his name from further consideration. Speculation ran high around Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, who was one of only three coaches publicly confirmed as a candidate for the job, but Leach fell out of consideration after an interview with Dee.

After an intensive two-week head coaching search, Miami opted to stay in the family and promoted its highly-regarded defensive coordinator Randy Shannon to the position of head coach on December 8, 2006. Shannon, who played linebacker at Miami from 1985 through 1988, became just the sixth African-American head coach in NCAA Division I-A football at the time. Shannon took over recruiting duties immediately, but expressed his desire for fired head coach Larry Coker to stay on and coach the team one final time in its season-ending bowl game against Nevada. [cite web | url=2006-12-28 | url=http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/16189333.htm| title=UM chooses Shannon as head football coach | author=Susan Miller Degnan, Barry Jackson, and Michelle Kaufman | date=2006-12-07 | publisher=MiamiHerald.com]

Awards & Honors


=All-ACC [cite web | url=2006-11-28 | url=http://www.theacc.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/112706aag.html| title=Four Schools Dominate 2006 All-ACC Teams | author=Associated Press | date=2006-11-27 | publisher=TheACC.com] =

First Team

*Calais Campbell, DE
*Greg Olsen, TE
*Kenny Phillips, SS

econd Team

*Kareem Brown, DT
*Brandon Meriweather, S/CB

Jack Harding University of Miami MVP Award

*Calais Campbell, DE

References

External links

* [http://hurricanesports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mifl-m-footbl-body.html Official web site of Miami Hurricanes football]
* [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/clubhouse?teamId=2390 ESPN Miami Hurricanes Clubhouse]


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