|Bowden, Shannon not exactly a contrast in styles|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 01 October 2008 11:48|
Oh, sure, one is in his 70s, white, speaks in a funny Southern drawl and has 376 wins in a Hall of Fame career. The other is in his 40s, black, probably has never uttered ``dadgummit'' and has seven victories on his resume. But even though Bowden and Shannon live on different ends of the Sunshine State, they already have the same job.
Both are at the helm of once-powerful programs, trying to make them strong again.
``We've got two football teams that, during the '80s and '90s, were two of the most powerful football teams in the United States. And now we're not there, neither one of us,'' Bowden said. ``We both plan to get back. I know coach Shannon plans to get back and I plan to get back.''
, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) visits Miami (2-2, 0-1) in the 53rd meeting of vaunted rivals.
Unlike in many other years, neither team is ranked, no national title is at stake.
But it's Miami vs. Florida State. To Bowden and Shannon, there's nothing bigger than that.
``TV always wants Miami and Florida State, no matter what the record is or what you're ranked,'' Shannon said. ``It's going to be a great atmosphere, a great time, and it's one of them games that you know that no matter what happens, both teams are really going to do a great job and the coaches are going to have both teams prepared.''
It's been a while since the Seminoles and Hurricanes were perennial national championship contenders.
An impatient fan base in Tallahassee is restless for change, and there's been plenty of banter about when the time would be best for Bowden - who turns 79 next month - to step aside. Meanwhile, Shannon inherited the reins at Miami before the 2007 season, and in his first campaign the Hurricanes posted worst record in 30 years, not even qualifying for a bowl.
It's not an easy time for either, and both see the obvious parallels in their respective predicaments.
or me. You just have to stay the course and believe in what you're doing and have confidence.'''
Of course, had things gone a little differently, Bowden and Shannon might be linked even further.
Florida State recruited Shannon when he was a standout at Miami Norland High in the early 1980s, before ultimately deciding to offer that scholarship to John Eaford, who played alongside Shannon in high school. Shannon ended up at Miami, and other than some time in the NFL, has been a Hurricanes fixture ever since.
``My first remembrances of Shannon is when he played linebacker for Miami and that's when they had some of their greatest teams,'' Bowden said. ``Some of the great games we had against 'em, he played, and seems like they won 'em all. And I've met him some since he's become the head coach and I'm very impressed with him, the way he acts, the way he handles himself and the job he's doing down there.''
The teams are rivals.
The coaches are not.
Before last year's game, they embraced on the field in Tallahassee, and will likely do the same Saturday when their teams hit the field to warm up at Dolphin Stadium. There's a clear respect between the two, and neither shies from talking about it, a rarity these days when it almost seems like coaches take pains to avoid talking about rivals, good or bad, so nothing can be misconstrued on the recruiting trails.
et together,'' Shannon said.
Bowden says he feels the same way, which could be mildly surprising. Because if there's one program that's gotten the better of Bowden, it's Miami.
Since taking over at Florida State in 1976, Bowden has faced 16 different schools at least 10 times. His record against 15 of those: 182-40-3, with a winning record against each, most of them in staggeringly one-sided fashion.
Against Miami, he's 13-20, having endured so many heartbreakers over the years at the Orange Bowl, Miami's former home - which also was the stadium where he won his first national title in 1993.
``I'd rather play in Dolphin Stadium. That dadgum Orange Bowl was tough, boy,'' Bowden said. ``Now, Dolphin Stadium is, too, but hey, there was no place in the country like the old Orange Bowl. I'm kind of glad we're not going back there.''
They're from different generations and different backgrounds.
One is near the beginning of his career, one is near the end of his.
But deep down, Shannon and Bowden do things essentially the same way.
``Football might change, the formations might change, defenses might change, kids might change,'' Bowden said. ``But recruiting is still very much the same thing. You try to get the young men to want to come to your school more than any other, then get the support of his family. That all goes in recruiting. Randy does a good job of that. I've followed him into homes before. I know he's doing a good job.''