Analysis: Brown as RB's coach

The University of Miami announced the promotion of Hurlie Brown to Running Backs coach this afternoon. CanesTime's Mike Bakas takes a closer look at what it means for the program.

What to Like:
Hurlie Brown is a Miami Hurricane. He played here. He's coached here. He knows the program inside and out. Brown has Florida roots -- he grew up in Merritt Island, part of the Florida Space Coast which has been very pro-Gator over the years. It's not like Al Golden went outside the UM family here.

He becomes the fourth assistant on the staff who played football here (Mario Cristobal, Mike Barrow, and Art Kehoe). Anytime you have four assistant coaches who were playing here during the championship years, it's a plus. Like the other three, Brown can help instill a lot of those same qualities that he learned as a player into the players that he'll now be coaching. He's used to winning. He was part of a couple national championship teams here as a player. He's been exactly where he wants his players to be. Only a few coaches on this staff have been there before, and Brown is now one of them. He was used to playing in an ultra-competitive environment. That's something Al Golden wants here again, and it's something Brown can help guide his running backs through.

Having spent the last couple seasons on Miami's support staff, he already has a built-in relationship with several players. He has good connections in the high school community. Golden isn't bringing n a coach with no ties to the current running backs, or the coaches in the South Florida community. From all accounts, Brown is young, energetic, someone who's very familiar with the south Florida recruiting landscape, and someone who can relate to the type of players Miami has and the type of success the entire program wants to have.

Finally, at the end of the day, Golden felt he was the most deserving of the job after interviewing several other candidates. Golden has a vision -- a real good one -- and he thought Brown fit into that vision.

What May Concern you:
Unlike Terry Richardson, who is the coach being replaced here, Brown was not a running back when he played. He was a defensive back. While good football coaches can teach football to players at a variety of positions, it's something that usually helps in trying to get players to relate to what you're doing. For players like Eduardo Clements and Danny Dillard, two players who will need strong coaching skills from Brown, he's never been in their same shoes -- as a running back playing college football.

Largely because of having never played running back, he's never coached running backs at the college level. His 10 years as a college assistant were spent working with defensive backs. Switching over to running backs is certainly something Brown is capable of, but he has absolutely no track record in doing so.

After spending 10 seasons coaching non-BCS schools (FIU and Louisiana-Lafayette), Brown has spent the last two on Golden's football support staff. In other words, he wasn't even coaching football the last two seasons -- at least not a particular position, and certainly not running backs.

Bottom Line:
A lot of running back coaching positions across major college football are being held by coaches with strong recruiting backgrounds. That's why you see schools like Oklahoma and LSU (and Miami the last two years with Richardson) having running backs coaches who are also recruiting coordinators. Brown gives Miami another recruiter, who has the potential to be very good -- especially in the state of Florida and in south Florida particularly. They say coaching college football is more about the Jimmy's and Joe's than than X's and O's and the running back position is probably where that is most accurate. Brown should be able to provide the coaching staff with a dynamite recruiting presence while developing the skills of his current players.

Miami won't be the only school in the state -- Florida (Brian White) and Florida State (Randy Sanders) -- with running backs coaches with backgrounds at other positions. Now they'll have a coach in place who knows the school, knows the program, knows how to win, knows the culture, knows the south Florida community, and will likely do whatever he can to help get the University of Miami back to where it was when he played here.

Nice job, Coach Golden, for sticking your neck out and making a very good hire.


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