Hurricanes of the Past Share Their Thoughts on the Future
Perhaps the most successful collection of football talent ever assembled was standing on the sidelines Saturday at Lockhart Stadium witnessing the culmination of Miami’s spring practice. All conference players, national award winners, multiple first-round draft picks, and school record holders alike came together and celebrated University of Miami football, with the 2001 undefeated National and Rose Bowl Champions being recognized during halftime.
Standing at 6’7, 220 pounds, defensive end Ted Hendricks starred at Hialeah High before embarking on his Hall of Fame career at Miami from 1966-1968. “The Mad Stork” was one of the greatest players in the history of college football. He was a two-time All-American (1967 and 1968), finished fifth in the Heisman balloting in 1968, and was a second-team All-American in 1966.
Hendricks shared his thoughts with CaneInsider on Coach Golden. “It’s too early to really tell, but Coach Golden seems like a great gentleman when I met him. This is the second practice I’ve been to. It seems like he’s got us on the right track, but we’ll have to wait and see how he’s going to develop this team. I believe he’ll get Miami back on a winning track.”
The University of Miami and NFL Hall of Famer talked about what makes UM different. “The University of Miami has always been unique. The tradition, the location, the students and alumni; it’s like a big family,” Hendricks replied. “Even without having some of the facilities that other state powers have, Miami has managed to have a great program. Tennis, track, baseball, and women’s basketball, those sports are doing well. The culture is there, the tradition is there, now all you have to do is get the right people there, and I believe UM has.”
Ken Dorsey, statistically, is Miami’s best quarterback to ever lace them up. He compiled a 38-2 record, leading his team to the 2001 National Championship and an appearance in the 2002 National Championship game. He set career marks for total offense (9,486 yards), passing yards (9,565), passing touchdowns (86), completions (668), attempts (1,153), winning percentage (.974), consecutive passes without an interception (193), and consecutive games with a TD pass (31). He was also named Co-MVP of the 2002 Rose Bowl, named first-team All-Big East three times (2000, 2001, and 2002), was the winner of the Maxwell Award in 2001, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 2001 and 2002.
Dorsey shared his insight in to the QB battle headed into the fall. “I think the competition is good for the both of them. Whoever earns the job just needs to stay focused on the task at hand, work hard, make good decisions, and most importantly, win some ballgames.”
Regarding Coach Golden, Dorsey said, “I think he’s laying down the foundation for the future, and I’m confident that he will put the University of Miami back to where we belong, competing for and winning national championships.”
In 1999, DT Damione Lewis accumulated 57 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and was named to second-team All Big East. As a senior, he recorded 39 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. He was named first-team All Big East and third-team All-American in 2000. He was a first-round draft pick in 2001, 12th overall selection of the St. Louis Rams.
Lewis talked about the new leadership in Coral Gables. “He’s doing a great job instilling toughness into the program. The way this team is practicing and scrimmaging is exemplifying that. I think the guys are responding. I know there is some work to do, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the guys in camp, letting all the dogs loose, and getting this thing turned around. I’m confident that he’s going to do a great job here.”
The current Houston Texan gave his thoughts on the strength of the defensive line. “I think we are really strong at defensive end. At tackle, I think the best guy didn’t play today. Today was a good opportunity for the guys that are going to rotate in to get some reps, good for them to settle into their roles and set the standard for what we can expect this fall,” Lewis said. “They have a lot of work to do, but I believe Jethro (Franklin) is going to do a great job with these young guys. They’ll be ready.”
Lewis gave his opinion on Coach D’Onofrio. “He’s doing a great job, too. He’s going to get this defense going again. The DB’s and LB’s are looking good, and when the DL catches up to those guys, we’ll have a great defense on our hands.”
Mike Rumph was on the undefeated 2001 National Championship team. During his career, he compiled 117 tackles, two forced fumbles, and six interceptions. He was selected as a second-team All Big-East performer in 1999 and 2001, and a first-team All Big East player in 2000.
Rumph talked about the secondary depth and talent. “Actually, I see a lot. On Friday, a lot of the alumni came back to speak to the guys. We sat down with them for over two hours and told them things that we see that they can improve on. I feel like we have good depth, and for guys being so young, they’re smart,” he reported. “There’s talent here, as usual, but it’s about getting the technique and fundamentals down. It’s about understanding what the coaches put in front of them. The faster the guys get that, the better and faster this defense will be.”
The former first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers gave his insight on the new staff. “Having a chance to meet the coaches and see practice a couple of times, I think we’re going to get a great job out of Coach Golden. With all the great coaches they brought in, especially Coach Kehoe, I think it’s going to ignite something special again. He said that he would do a great job in recruiting, and he did. Now, it’s about getting better this spring and summer and turning it on in the fall. Overall, he’s doing a great job.”
Coach Golden has opened up the program to the former players and they’ve responded with their invaluable support, evidenced by their attendance to the spring game and willingness to share their experiences with the current players. Players from across all generations have bought in to Coach Golden’s program. With the welcomed return of greatness, the future looks bright.