It’s that time of year in college football.
As the season approaches its final games, players begin contemplating entering the NFL Draft early or skipping bowls. And coaching rumors pop up everywhere.
University of Miami coach Mario Cristobal spoke Monday about how he addresses draft decisions. And his defensive coordinator Lance Guidry spoke afterward.
Guidry was told that talk was swirling about him being mentioned for jobs at other major programs, such as LSU and USC.
Guidry, who last week was nominated for the Broyles Award that goes to the top assistant in college football, is from Louisiana and spent the past two seasons as coordinator and safeties coach at Marshall University, where his defenses were among the nation’s best. He was not named as a Broyles semifinalist Monday, but UM, which had an off day on defense in its Saturday loss to No. 9 Louisville, is 28th nationally in total defense, ninth in rushing defense, eighth in sacks and 44th in scoring defense.
Guidry was asked his mindset regarding Miami and his future.
“You always want to be wanted,’’ Guidry said. “Those places that are talking, I’ve got an agent and my agent hasn’t told me anything about that, so it’s just people and chirping and talking.
“But as the season is finished, Coach Cristobal I’m sure will sit down with me and we’ll talk about next year’s plan and what we’ll do here at Miami. This is the job I have. I love it here. We’re building something special, so I’m not looking to go anywhere. I said it when I came here that this was a place that I was always intrigued to coming to to try to get this back to what it was.
“...Until somebody picks up the phone and calls me it’s not real. I love our players and we’re recruiting some really good players. I want to be here at Miami because it’s the job that I do have. There’s always going to be speculation.’’
Added Guidry: “The grass isn’t always greener somewhere else.’’
LSU defensive coordinator Matt House coached linebackers for the Kansas City Chiefs for three years before joining Brian Kelly’s LSU staff last season. The Tigers are 8-3 and currently 103rd in total defense, 101st in rushing defense, 99th in passing yards allowed and 83rd in scoring defense.
Southern Cal (5-6) recently fired Alex Grinch with two games left. The Trojans are 121st in scoring defense, 118th in rushing defense, 117th in total defense and 113th in passing yards allowed.
Cristobal on the draft
When asked what his process is regarding players considering entering the NFL Draft early, Cristobal said he is “proactive’’ and honest in dealing with the subject.
“Making sure we gather and provide all information relevant to a draft status [and] share it with them, with families, so that they can sit down and make the best decision for themselves,’’ the coach said. “But making sure that everything we give them is very accurate. It’s a very noisy world postseason for these guys. People will come at them from all angles. Everybody wants a piece of them and their future earnings and their trajectory and all that other stuff.
“It’s important as it relates to everything with their education, their future life after football, that we’re providing them with some really good information, accurate information from the right sources so they can make their best educated decisions.’’
Among the Miami underclassmen who might be contemplating their NFL futures are safeties Kamren Kinchens and James Williams and defensive tackle Leonard Taylor, all third-year juniors.
Skipping bowl games
Regarding players that opt to skip bowl games, Cristobal said, “In my opinion, anytime you have a chance to play football, you play football. That’s never going to change. Do I judge people? I don’t believe in that. But always encourage it, push it, because you never know when you are not going to be able to play again. You’re not guaranteed another day of football, no matter who you are, no matter what your status might be.
“I believe in closing it out the right way.’’
Not many are denying that this season’s Hurricanes team is showing more promise and talent than last year’s 5-7 team.
But it still has been a completely frustrating experience for the Canes (6-5, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who are preparing for their final regular-season game Friday at Boston College (6-5, 3-4).
Learning to win tight games has been an ongoing challenge for the Hurricanes, who are trying to get it done before their last two games, one of which is a yet-to-be-determined bowl. The past two of three consecutive losses have been by one touchdown — a 27-20 loss to then-No. 4 Florida State and this past Saturday’s 38-31 loss to No. 9 Louisville.
“Obviously you want to win games,’’ quarterback Tyler Van Dyke said Saturday. “We know if a couple plays went our way, execute better on those plays, we’d be standing here right now with a win — maybe a win last week. Yeah, it is frustrating, because we feel like we are a really good team. We don’t feel like we deserve to be 6-5, but we are.
“We’ve got to own up to those plays that maybe [would] win us the game and not make those mistakes.”
On Monday, Cristobal was asked by WQAM’s Joe Rose how his players can learn to win those tight games.
“You go right to reality, right to the film,’’ Cristobal said. “The reality of it is, yeah, we’ve progressed a bunch. Our systems are producing [a] top-25 offense and defense. We’re moving the ball better this last game. Defensively, we’ve been good all year.
“And then because we’re playing against good teams, because we’ve closed the gap and there’s parity, you don’t have any plays to waste. The value of each play is critically important. And if you miss on those plays, if you self-inflict a wound on those plays, pretty good chance you’re going to pay the price.”
He said the only answer is to “dissect’’ the plays and and determine why his players “are not getting it done.’’
He also said that coaches need to determine how they can teach better and “provide clarity.’’
More from Cristobal:
▪ On the decisive Louisville touchdown in which UM cornerbacks Jaden Davis and Te’Cory Couch collided as receiver Kevin Coleman scored on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Jack Plummer: “They’re busting their buts on the play — swing, slant, under, whatever you want to call it. You just gotta be able to play it off and avoid each other. Certainly they’re trying to avoid what happened, but It happens.
“Unfortunately you’ve got to live with the results.’’
▪ The coach said he expects tight end Elijah Arroyo back this weekend, and that cornerback Daryl Porter and defensive tackle Leonard Taylor III “looked pretty good’’ Monday.