Shannon Says Miami Won't Make Excuses Over Big Oklahoma Loss

Sunday, September 9th 2007, 6:50 pm
By: News On 6

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) _ This is the week that some around the Miami football program have been silently dreading, the days leading up to a rematch with Florida International and plenty of inevitable reminiscing about last year's on-field brawl between the teams.

Turns out, the Hurricanes have many other problems.

Saturday's emphatic 51-13 loss at Oklahoma prompted another quarterback dilemma for Miami to ponder over the next few days, raised questions about a once-highly touted secondary and simply reiterated that the offense isn't exactly laden with proven playmakers who can put points on scoreboards in a hurry.

Given all that, it's no surprise that first-year Miami coach Randy Shannon has more on his mind than the looming brawl redux.

``You can't make excuses,'' Shannon said Sunday. ``Guys have to get it done and we'll find guys to get it done and do what the coaches say. That's just the bottom line. I'm not going to make excuses just because we're a new coaching staff with a new defensive coordinator and new offensive coordinator.

``These guys are smart enough to get it done,'' he added. ``So we've got to coach them to do it, and if guys don't want to do it, we'll find somebody else to do it. That's just how it's going to be.''

No one's playing time is safe with Shannon at the helm; he insists that competition is always open at every spot. And that may be especially true now.

Cornerback Randy Phillips was beaten on three Oklahoma touchdown passes, and he acknowledged as much after the game _ although he was hardly the only Hurricanes player to have a rough time with the Sooners. Run-blocking seemed nonexistent, although Shannon said the pass-blocking schemes worked. Yet that claim isn't exactly supported by numbers; starting quarterback Kirby Freeman was ineffective, throwing for only 17 yards, and backup Kyle Wright had one strong drive but still finished 7-for-14 for 65 yards and a touchdown.

``That's on us,'' offensive lineman Derrick Morse said. ``How can we throw the ball if we can't run the ball?''

Shannon said he may decide by Tuesday if Freeman will start next weekend against FIU (0-2), or if Wright will get a chance. He indicated that the decision will primarily be based on what he and offensive coordinator Patrick Nix see after more review of the Oklahoma game film.

The game wasn't exactly one that the Hurricanes' history books will fondly remember.

Miami set a school record by allowing six passing touchdowns; it had only allowed four or more four times in 857 previous games. The 51 yielded points were the sixth-most in school history (three of the games on that list were played before 1945), and it was the Hurricanes' worst margin of defeat since Syracuse beat them 66-13 in 1998.

``Now we just focus on FIU and put this behind us, in the past,'' Morse said.

It sounds like the infamous fight from last season is already in the past, too.

FIU and Miami have campuses nine miles apart, with plenty of players from South Florida high schools all over the rosters. It's a natural rivalry that quickly overheated last year, with a sideline-clearing fight in the third quarter that led to 31 players either getting suspended or dismissed from their teams.

Already, both sides are saying that won't happen again.

``That was last year,'' Shannon said. ``And FIU is probably going to say the same thing.''