I am a huge fan of the Matrix movies. Like most, my favorite part is at the end of the first one when Neo suddenly sees the ‘Matrix’. That is how I felt today after watching Miami Hurricanes lose to Duke 45-21. My matrix moment did not arrive because I was surprised by this loss. In fact, I called it. Publicly. (Btw, for those of you who are new here, we refer to that as ‘toastradamus’)
My moment came after the game was over. While still laying on my couch trying to wrap my head around the fact that Mario Cristobal has secured losses to both Middle Tennessee State University and Duke University within his first seven games of running the program it hit me!
My thoughts were centered around the current roster and incoming class which is currently rated as the 10th best in the country. The lasting words of fellow Orange Bowl Boy, Scoop, also rang in my ears…
Allow me to expand on his thoughts. I believe there are always two major groups you can put players into. Old School and New School. It has nothing to do with it being 2022, it was the same principle in 1980, 1990 or 2000 as it is today.
Old School Players
You know exactly who these players are. All they care about is winning and doing whatever is necessary to achieve that goal. They will sacrifice their bodies, minds, families, and in some cases, their lives to achieve the glory that goes with raising a championship. Individual accolades are meaningless without team success. They certainly are not worried about their Madden rating. Amused? Sure, but worried? No. Example of an Old School roster? Alabama the last 15 years.
New School Players
These players want to win, but they also want other stuff. They want to win, but also want to increase their followers regardless of team success. Watching some film is fine, but they need time to maintain their streaming sub counts. The right coach can win with these players, but everything must go perfectly, you cannot have major hurdles to overcome. These players generally gravitate to places that have player friendly coaches like Manny Diaz.
My revelation is that the person coaching these types of players is incredibly important. I do not believe that an Old School coach like Mario can resonate with a roster full of New School Miami Hurricanes players. They do not care about work ethic and do not want to eat and breathe football 24/7. That will preclude them from producing the amount of content they need to in order to grow their brand. Mario can only coach Old School players, that is why recruiting his guys is so important.
Here is the kicker. While a player friendly coach like Manny can coach an Old School team and find huge success, he cannot recruit those players. They do not go for his pitch of ‘bling and hashtags.’ He is a used car salesman to them. If you want proof of that, look no further than our own history and the tenure of Larry Coker. So, while a person like Dan Lanning can walk right into an Old School locker room and coach players who want to win and only win, Mario must wait…and wait…and wait until he gets his guys here.
So, what is next?
I believe an exodus of players. The transfer portal has given the Miami Hurricanes plenty and it is about to see many young men enter it and go elsewhere. Places like PSU and SMU will be likely destinations. Mario will continue to recruit and while I am confident, he can keep this class together regardless of how much worse it gets; he is going to have to turn it around quick. This season will be the bottom, but it will be rocky the rest of the way. He will now be starting a new quarterback for at least a few games and with that comes growing pains, like we saw in the 4th quarter today. We have been making fun of our buddies at FSU for being a sub .500 team. We should probably get ready for all of that to come back at us come December.