I'll start by saying I like Greg Cote. I always enjoyed his work with the Miami Herald and looked forward to his Friday NFL column with his Sunday picks and commentary, when I lived back east and got my sports info from the newspaper, instead of online.
That said, why he felt the need to chime in on the Robert Marve and Randy Shannon saga, I don't get. Barry Jackson, Susan Miller Degnan and Manny Navarro have all bases covered - but Cote felt the need to pile on and beat a dead horse.
Cote took his first shot regarding the timing of the suspensions, as if Shannon wouldn't have sat players for a bigger game and only did so because Charleston Southern will be across the line of scrimmage tomorrow.
I guess Cote missed Shannon's suspension of Sam Shields for five games last year - most notably a stretch that included Florida State, NC State and Virginia, back-to-back-to-back. Shields was Miami's second best receiving threat, behind Darnell Jenkins and the then sophomore remained in Shannon's dog house the majority of 2007 - big game, or small.
Attempting an even harsher stance, last Shannon told Sports Illustrated's Gary Smith that it was his desire to dismiss every Cane involved in the FIU brawl of 2006, but was met with resistance by then-head coach Larry Coker and the top brass.
If Miami had another Labor Day tussle with Florida State, bet your bottom dollar Shannon would have sat the same seven players missing Thursday night's game.
Anyone who's paid attention to the second-year head coach's words, attitude, demeanor and decisions knows Randy is all about right vs. wrong, character and integrity. Everyone is held to the same standard and no one gets a free pass, regardless of position and opponent.
Like the rest of the media looking to make a mountain out of a molehill, Cote jumps on the 'timing of the suspension' bandwagon; worried more about the way the message was delivered instead of the actual message itself.
First off, every Miami Hurricane signs a contract regarding their conduct and the ramifications. After midnight phone calls and trouble with the law equate in automatic one-game suspensions, if not longer.
Knowing this, where were all the crack reporters ten months ago asking if Marve would miss game one, or at least hinting that it could happen? No one asked, so no one was told.
Just because it wasn't advertised, didn't mean a suspension wasn't looming from day one.
"When I took the job at the University of Miami, I was going to hold everybody to higher standards than most teams in the country," Shannon said, months ago. "We have our rules and regulations as far as academics, curfew, study hall, and doing the right things in the classroom. We move forward."
Cote gave a cute little example about one's daughter getting in trouble last October, no punishment being handed down, the fact she's done well since and then suspending her before senior prom, saying that's essentially what Shannon did to Marve.
Marve sat out 2007, so Charleston Southern was the first time the law could be laid down. If he could've sat out a game last November, bet that's when the punishment would've been swift and just.
Furthermore, Charleston Southern is no senior prom. Next Saturday at #5 Florida, maybe, but not this glorified scrimmage doubling as the season opener. Marve will miss a throw-away game, but has been handed the keys to the Canes offense and was named starter, getting that shot in Gainesville and the 'game of the year'.
If Marve is "missing prom", he's sure getting a hell of a consolation gift a week later.
Cote calls Marve's mistake, "dumb testosterone stuff", rambling on about the Marve family being "furious" with the decision, saying star players have left for less.
News flash, if #9 wants to go the way of Brian Fortay and give up his career at The U over a one-game suspension, then he doesn't have the grit and moxie to be a University of Miami starting quarterback. It's that simple. That'd be a quitter's move and would show he didn't have broad enough shoulders to handle the load.
Why this topic is being discussed ad nauseam is beyond me. Last I checked, this was football and these are sports writers. These aren't a bunch of yentas at The View, beating a topic into the dirt, over analyzing every angle and trying to drum up controversy - yet that's exactly how the sports media is playing it.
Marve screwed up. Shannon suspended him for a game. Jacory Harris will get the nod against Charleston Southern. Marve has been named starter for the rest of the year. Period.
Leave it at that and you have no drama.
Cote asks what happens if Harris plays terrific on Thursday night. Pretty simply answer. Marve starts at Florida. He didn't win the job on a whim and a stellar performance from Harris against a doormat like Charleston Southern isn't going to undo months worth of hard work and preparation.
Marve's efforts since spring earned him the starting gig, as did spending all of 2007 as a member of the scout team, learning the offense.
Quarterback controversy? Only in the eyes of the fire-starting media that continues to blame a coach that did right, instead of a player who did wrong.
Where are the local media members, on their soapboxes, championing Shannon's cause? Look a few hundred miles north, where Urban Meyer re-welcomes Ronnie Wilson back on board, having kicked him off the squad last year for pulling - and firing - an AK-47 at a student he had just beaten down and spat on. The Gators need depth on the line, so Meyer puts his own best interest in front of the young man's, completely blowing any chance to send a message or make a dent in Wilson's life.
Bobby Bowden gives wide out Preston Parker a two-game suspension for possession of marijuana and a loaded gun, where at Miami, Parker would've been shown the door because of Shannon's "no gun" clause.
The legendary Joe Paterno has 46 players arrested since 2002 for over a hundred infractions, yet gets away with a sheepish, "I can't control what they do off the field" excuse.
Georgia earns a #1 ranking entering 2008, but Mark Richt's bunch had upwards of eight players arrested this off-season.
Shannon is making a stand few others do. He's doing exactly what sports fans criticizes other coaches for not doing - and instead of praise, he's being nickel and dimed over the timing or how the message was delivered.
How did doing the right thing put the second-year coach in a lose-lose position? Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Doesn't seem fair for a guy so hellbent on doing the right thing.
The Canes have enough of a struggle this year, trying to pick up the pieces and move forward.
How about an ounce of love - or at least respect - from the local media who should have Randy Shannon's back, instead of sticking a knife in it every time a decision is made?