Is Miami splintering under coach Al Golden?

Dr. Saturday

Junior defensive end Kelvin Cain left the Miami (Fla.) football team. That in itself is a bit unusual but not the sign of a crumbling program. Cain was a backup and had just 11 tackles this year.

But the Palm Beach Post connects some other dots and wonders if this is an epidemic surrounding Al Golden's team.

The paper said Cain was the second junior, along with offensive lineman Jermaine Johnson, who quit this month. Apparently there may be an underlying schism between the players Randy Shannon recruited, and the younger players Golden brought in who are getting more playing time.

The Palm Beach Post recounted a radio interview by Luther Robinson Sr., father of Miami defensive lineman Luther Robinson, on WQAM:

"Is it something against Randy Shannon players?" Robinson Sr. said. "Luther Robinson needs to be playing defensive tackle more than the other kids. He's a much better defensive tackle [than the others]. He's being held back because he's an upperclassman."

Reporter Jorge Milian also said a player who did not want to be named called him to voice a similar complaint, that "several of his teammates feel like they are seeing their game action reduced or taken away completely based primarily on their connection with the former staff."

There's probably a reasonable explanation for this. Miami has had its struggles this year, and perhaps Golden wants to work in some younger players and see what they can do. Perhaps it's bitterness by the upperclassmen about losing playing time and their way of dealing with it is inventing a bias by Golden against Shannon's recruits. Then again, maybe there is something to it and Golden really doesn't have much fondness for another coach's recruits. It wouldn't be the first time that has happened.

Either way, Miami is 4-4, 3-2 in ACC play, with a chance to have a good record and go to a bowl game in a season that started with low expectations. However, a divide among the team's older players and the younger players Golden brought in, if that exists, could put a serious strain on the rest of the season.

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