The Miami Hurricanes have been punks of legendary proportions for years, so it should come as no surprise that they were involved in a bench clearing brawl with the lowly Panthers of Florida International University on Saturday night.
To give a quick recap, Miami player James Bryant caught a touchdown pass halfway through the third quarter and promptly earned an unsportsmanlike conduct flag for bowing to the crowd after the score. Of course Bryant had a reason to celebrate since Miami stinks this year and looked awful again against the winless Panthers.
But rather than go into how far Miami has fallen – they have gotten to the point where they get hammered by good teams and struggle against bad teams – let’s go back to the fight.
After the ensuing extra-point try, an FIU player takes a cheap shot at a Miami player – goodness knows Miami has never taken cheap shots or taunted anyone – and as a result all hell broke loose. An FIU player can be seen kicking a Miami player who is on the ground and engaged with another FIU player as both teams spilled out onto the field, throwing punches.
Miami’s Anthony Reddick – in what can be described as a criminal and cowardly act – can be seen swinging his helmet at opposing players during this riot.
Cops streamed onto the field to try and restore order and after about a 10 minute delay 13 players were ejected – 8 from FIU and 5 from Miami.
In a situation like this both teams – coaching staffs included – must be blamed and punished equally.
This much is for sure: Larry Coker must go. He not only can’t coach, but he can't control the guys on his team. Lost in the tumult of the moment is the fact that Miami was up only 7-0 at this point in the game and was struggling to beat one of the worst teams in Division 1-A. The Miami offense was hardly a juggernaut against the winless Panthers despite the fact that they scored 35 points; the score was only 21-0 after 3 quarters.
The way last season finished and the way this season has begun for the Hurricanes, Coker needs to be fired. The behavior of his players during the brawl shows that he has absolutely no control over his team.
Hurricane starting quarterback Kyle Wright had this to say about the incident, "It's something they started and our guys finished it. … They're going home with a 35-0 loss and they're 0-7."
Apparently Wright was feeling good after his performance in which he accounted for 117 yards passing and 3 touchdowns against one of the worst teams in the vaunted Sun Belt Conference. Since Wright hasn’t done too much this season, this kind of performance must really make him feel good. Too bad for Wright that Miami can’t play Florida A&M and FIU every week.
Here’s what Coker had to say about the brawl: "This won't be a big negative on the University of Miami," Coker said. "I'll put it that way."
Really Larry? Why don’t you watch the tape of the brouhaha and then get back to us, okay?
Reddick should be thrown off of the team – but you know that he won’t – and others should be suspended for the remainder of the season – but you know that they won’t.
On the FIU side Head Coach Don Strock – former backup quarterback for the Miami Dolphins – has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do as well. The FIU player who started the brawl and the player that is seen kicking the Miami player – Marshall McDuffie, Jr – both need to be thrown off of the team, and the other clowns that were involved need to be suspended for at least a couple of games.
Here’s what Coach Strock had to say: "Whatever penalty is handed down, especially from us, we're going to make it the most severe. We don't condone that. It's embarrassing."
Let’s hope Strock isn’t just paying lip service to the idea of meting out the appropriate punishment for this kind of behavior.
Officials from both the ACC and the Sun Belt conferences – as well as officials at both schools – will review the tape of this embarrassing display of poor sportsmanship and criminal activity; we can only hope that the penalties really are “most severe.”