The memories are still vivid at the University of Miami.
Excellence does not seem that long ago, championships and Heismans, swagger and smack. It seems like a blink of an eye since Jerome Brown and Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin and Bennie Blades, Vinny Testaverde and Ray Lewis.
In truth, it has been an eternity. It is not correct to say that Miami is chasing who it used to be. Rather, it is that the Hurricanes are still chasing who they used to be.
It has been 11 years since the U joined the ACC. It still does not have a title.
It has been 14 years since the last national championship.
It has been 12 years since the last double-digit winning season.
Once, they were among the most boisterous college football programs in the country. They won the national title five times. Five of their former stars are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Two others were Super Bowl MVPs.
Yet, something seems to be missing. Miami had seven players drafted by the NFL last year, and six others signed as free agents. And yet the Hurricanes went 6-7.
This year isn’t supposed to be a lot different. Miami was voted third on ACC media day despite the presence of quarterback Brad Kaaya.
For coach Al Golden, who is 28-22 in four years, the voices are getting louder. He could use a solid season. He could use a little swagger.