There’s a lot of varying opinions out there as whether or not Al Golden will be a successful coach at Miami. There’s just as many differing views as to whether or not he’s been successful so far in his three seasons with the Hurricanes.
My view? It’s too early to judge whether either question can be answered in the affirmative.
Under normal circumstances, it would be reasonable to judge Golden’s first three years as unsuccessful given how quickly other coaches (re: Malzahn, Gus) have turned around seemingly moribund programs in less time.
Of course, there haven’t been normal circumstances in Coral Gables for the vast majority of Golden’s tenure given the specter of an NCAA investigation.
For every big recruiting get Golden gets, it’s equally as dismaying to see players in many case fail to improve or even regress in some cases. Schematically, the team doesn’t seem up to snuff at times, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but then, when has any of Miami’s vintage teams ever won anything by tricking anyone?
Moving forward, it’s fair to expect more from Golden. A gander at the schedule and who’s returning lends itself to the opinion that the ‘Canes might be lucky just to replicate this season’s 9-win campaign. Even that wouldn’t go over particularly well in South Florida given the array of talent available in UM’s backyard.
At the same time, UM’s improved in wins since Golden’s tenure began. There’s no doubt there’s far more talent on the team now than on the one Randy Shannon left him.
Miami also generally does a better job recruiting under Golden (save for Miami Northwestern High school) and the staff Golden’s assembled seem to be better recruiters than those on Shannon’s staff.
So, though there’s been a great rush to judgment condemning Golden following the losses in particular to Duke, Virginia Tech and Louisville, his flirtation with Penn State and some potential misses in recruiting as we near National Signing Day, it’s my opinion that the jury’s still out on Golden at UM.