|Shannon says recruits still high on Miami|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 07 September 2008 12:03|
He didn't mind early Sunday.
After Miami's 26-3 loss at No. 4 Florida on Saturday night, Shannon said he and his coaching staff were still fielding calls at 4 a.m. from prep stars, most reaffirming their interest in or commitment to the Hurricanes - and perhaps debunking the notion that losing to the Gators would doom the Hurricanes' recruiting efforts in the talent-rich Sunshine State.
If nothing else, Shannon suggested - without ever mentioning Gators coach Urban Meyer by name - that Florida's choosing to pad a 20-point lead after getting the ball back with 1:55 remaining in an already-decided game might aid the Hurricanes down the road.
``I'll just say this one statement: Sometimes, when you do things and people see what type of person that you really are, you turn a lot of people off,'' Shannon said. ``Now whatever you want to get out of that, I won't say it again. But it helped us. It helped us more than you'll ever know.''
Even so, the Hurricanes (1-1) are still looking for more help.
Shannon had more pressing issues than the perception of Meyer running up the score after reviewing the game films. He cited four penalties - including two personal fouls - that simply killed momentum and helped doom the Hurricanes, along with two dropped passes, some blown coverages and a number of breakdowns in both kickoff and punt coverage.
But one play stuck in his mind more than most, and it wasn't either of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's passes in the final moments.
``The turning point,'' Shannon called it.
Miami was within 9-3 late in the third quarter, when Florida faced a third-and-9 from the Hurricanes' 33. Tebow found Carl Moore deep down the right sideline, and the receiver went airborne to make the catch - while getting drilled by Miami defensive back Randy Phillips. Moore juggled the ball and landed on the sideline, with the initial ruling on the field being an incomplete pass.
The replay official disagreed, the Gators wound up scoring a big touchdown, and the floodgates opened.
``Possession? His body was out of bounds,'' said Shannon, who pleaded with the Southeastern Conference officiating crew to no avail. ``They said his elbow was inbounds. His whole body was out. ... Rule is, if your body's out of bounds, your body's out of bounds.
``I may have disagreed with maybe three calls in the game that would have made the difference in the game,'' Shannon added. ``But they made the calls. I can disagree with them.''
Not long after that 28-yard pickup on the overturned call, the Gators scored after a pass interference against Phillips in the end zone - another call Shannon didn't like - and quickly tacked on gains of 22, 32, 19 and 17 yards on subsequent possessions while outscoring a deflated Miami 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
``They did a good job of responding to it, Florida did,'' Shannon said. ``But it was more of our guys not paying attention, defensively. But that's football. Guys will make mistakes and we've got to keep building on it.''
That's what the next two weeks will be about.
M on Sept. 20 before entering Atlantic Coast Conference play. There will be much for Shannon to harp about when practice resumes - dropped passes, shoddy tackling, the inability to sustain drives, all things that Hurricanes players cited themselves as problems on Saturday night.
``We were here to win it,'' left tackle Jason Fox said in Gainesville after the game. ``Coach wasn't preaching all week, 'Hey, let's just stay close, as long as we don't get blown out.' That's not what Miami's about. That's not what we're about. We were here to win it all along. A couple things didn't go our way. We made a few mistakes and we'll move on.''
And continue getting better, in Shannon's eyes.
On paper, Miami is in exactly the same place it was at this time last year: 1-1 record, with a loss on the road to a highly ranked opponent. A year ago, it was Oklahoma. And no one in the Hurricanes' camp needs to be reminded how dismally 2007 turned out, with Miami only managing a 5-7 record and missing a bowl game.
Shannon doesn't seem the least bit concerned that Miami is on the same downward path in 2008.
``Have we closed the gap on being where we need to be at? I think we've closed the gap,'' Shannon said. ``Are we a lot better than we were last year? Yes.''