Oct 26, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden at a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Hurricanes: Could this be Al Golden's best year?

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In Greek mythology, there is a period of abundance and blessing where humans have everything provided for them. The Earth supplies all of its needs.

This period of time is known as the “Golden Age.”

At the University of Miami where football is king, Coach Al Golden has implemented the touch of King Midas on the Hurricanes football program. Ever since landing at Miami, the Canes have entered into blessing and prosperity, and this season with Golden’s hands all over the program the trend will continue.

Could next year be Al Golden’s best year coaching? 

Oct 5, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden arrives before a game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 5, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden arrives before a game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

6-6
7-5
9-4

These numbers are not combinations into a temple of gold, like in “The Mummy.”

These numbers are the records of the Miami Hurricanes under Coach Golden. The number on the left signifies the Canes wins and as people seem to forget when it comes to Miami, that number continues to increase.

Sounds like prosperity?

Not quite yet.

The expectations of the Miami Hurricanes fan base is extremely high. We expect championships and nothing less is acceptable. We got spoiled early having a roster with first string and second string backups turning into NFL players.

It doesn’t always work like that. Miami Hurricanes fans (myself included) are looking at a special foundation that Coach Golden has laid down, and it is paying off.

Since Golden’s arrival there have been a bunch of new additions to his name. New athletic facilities, new uniforms, a clean program, smarter athletes, a better roster. Because of all these additions, last season’s 9-4 record represented the best season in the “Golden Age” and it granted them a berth in the Russell Athletic Bowl. This bowl game was the first for the program since 2010.

In order to ensure a double-digit win season the Hurricanes have to fix their Achilles heel — the defense.

Last season the Hurricanes were pitiful at stopping the run, finishing 77th. They also were 89th in total defense and they couldn’t stop anyone on third down, finishing 88th in third down percentage defense.

The defense got so bad last year I overheard someone talking about the Canes and they said jokingly “if they just learned how to tackle.” Ironically, football is a game where that is more than necessary.

The bright spot of the defense was the Miami Hurricanes increased their takeaways.

Sep 7, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Chris Thompson (85) runs against Miami Hurricanes linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) during their game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

From the 2012 season to the 2013 season their takeaways nearly doubled from 15 to 27.

In addition, the defense returns six starters from last season. Leading the defense is Senior Denzel Perryman. Last year he made the All-American team leading the Canes with 108 tackles.

If Coach Golden can help defensive coördinator Coach Mark D’Onofrio get a grasp on the defense and improve their rankings, a double-digit winning year wouldn’t be difficult to imagine.

The Golden touch?

Coach Golden missed a few notable players in the South Florida area that would’ve helped the program, with Teddy Bridgewater, Devonta Freeman, Matthew Thomas, Ermon Lane, and Sony Michel going elsewhere. But then again, it’s recruiting.

However, he managed to land some pretty awesome ones too. Chad Thomas, Joseph Yearby, Stacy Coley and Duke Johnson were some terrific recruits.

With Johnson and Coley as the Hurricanes primary offensive playmakers it will be really difficult for defenses to stop them.

This is where Coach Golden’s ability will kick in. The way teams will play against him defensively, Golden will have to counter offensively deciding whether the rushing attack or the passing attack will decide victory.

Whichever part of the offensive attack the defense attempts to stop, the Canes have the players to counter.

Johnson is a Preseason All American, and Coley led the Canes with 1,461 all-purpose yards, which is the 10th highest single season total in school history. He also was the only player in the FBS to score a touchdown rushing, receiving, returning a kick and a punt.

Speaking of their passing attack, the Hurricanes are in the middle of a quarterback competition between freshman Brad Kaaya, and grad student Jake Heaps, but that is a conversation for another day.

Regardless of the signal caller, the Canes rushing attack will be the feature of the offense. With Gus Edwards, freshman stud Joseph Yearby, and Johnson the Hurricanes will be running the ball so much the quarterback will have to call an audible just to throw once.

With the type of talent the Hurricanes are carrying in their backfield, it would be a surprise to see Coach Golden not utilize them often.

This season the expectations are there, from fans and media members alike.

The Hurricanes are ranked as high as number one to finish as the leader in the ACC Coastal Division. If that does happen, then they will most likely have a match-up with the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship.

The moral of the story in King Midas was that true happiness needs recognition. Since we are living in the “Golden Era” of the Miami Hurricanes, the fan base in Miami needs to appreciate greatness of the Hurricanes slowly creeping back.

 

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Tags: Al Golden Denzel Perryman Duke Johnson Miami Hurricanes NCAA Football

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