All most people talk about when it comes to the Miami Hurricanes football program is the long drawn-out NCAA investigation that led to back-to-back years of self-imposed sanctions from the University. But it appears as if the investigation is finally winding down and the Canes will be able to get back to the business of playing football. And they might just be better coming out of this ordeal than when they went in.
It’s easy to forget that Miami went 7-5 last season and would have represented the Coastal Division in the ACC title game before playing in a bowl game if not for their self-imposed postseason ban. The Canes were starting to come together and put a solid football team out on the field. Now they will be able to come out in 2013 without the specter of the NCAA looming over them and start to rebuild the Miami brand with 20 starters returning on offense and defense.
The continuity through adversity is due in no small part to head coach Al Golden, who heaped praise on his team following their first spring practice on Saturday. He feels the team is playing at a good tempo and improved over the offseason, and with a hearing this June with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, feels like the worst of the NCAA investigation is now behind them.
“That’s signaling of the beginning of the end to me was big. You could almost sense it in the building and for the players that we have a chance to move forward now. We know that there’s at least a terminal date now as opposed to being in the gray and we’re excited about moving forward.”
There’s plenty of reason for them to be excited. In addition to bringing back 20 starters from last season’s squad, they also added some fresh faces to the coaching staff. The new assistant coaches include offensive coordinator James Coley (who comes over from the ACC-rival Florida State Seminoles), tight ends coach Larry Scott and running backs coach Hurlie Brown.
With the cloud of the NCAA investigation finally lifting, Miami will emerge from this storm of controversy stronger than ever and looking to repeat and improve on their 2012 season now that they are finally eligible to bring a division title and bowl bid back to campus.