Miami offensive coordinator Nix fired after 7-6 season

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Patrick Nix was fired Monday after two seasons as Miami's offensive coordinator, the first of what could be plenty of significant changes to the Hurricanes this offseason.

Nix packed up his office Monday evening after a brief meeting with Miami coach Randy Shannon.

"It's time to part ways, but I really enjoyed my time here," Nix told The Associated Press as he and his family prepared to leave the football complex for the final time. "I loved these players to death. I loved these coaches to death. But in the long run, it's probably better that we make this change."

Miami was 7-6 this season and sputtered at times offensively, yet showed sporadic improvement in some areas during the second half of the year. Ultimately, it wasn't enough to keep Nix in place.

Nix said he and Shannon simply had different styles on how to best run an offense.

"I enjoyed it here. I appreciated Randy giving me the opportunity," Nix said. "I'd like to have gone with something more wide-open and more no-huddle. He and I had a philosophical difference on that."

Shannon released a statement announcing the dismissal, without revealing what went specifically into the decision.

"It is my obligation to review all aspects of the program and make decisions as to how we can improve as a football team," Shannon said.

Out of 119 teams in the major college football rankings, the Hurricanes are 89th in total offense this season at 326 yards per game, and 52nd in scoring offense at 27.1 points per outing. Both are improvements over last season, and both came with two freshmen who had never thrown a pass in a college game before this season under center -- Robert Marve and Jacory Harris.

Harris will be the starting quarterback for Miami entering 2009, and it's unclear what Marve will do. Marve started 11 games, missing only the season opener and season finale because of separate one-game suspensions, and is believed to be considering a transfer. It's not clear what, if any, impact Nix's ouster will have in that decision.

"I have nothing but respect for Coach Nix," Marve told The AP last week.

Nix said he doesn't have any ideas yet where his next job could come from. The former Auburn quarterback interviewed for the head coaching position at his alma mater earlier this month, but both that job and the school's offensive coordinator position have since been filled.

Nix came to Miami after five seasons at Georgia Tech, three of those as offensive coordinator. When hiring Nix, Shannon said he liked him for one simple reason: Miami's defenses, which were led by Shannon at the time, always had some trouble facing a Nix offense.

"You always judge a coach on what they present," Shannon said in January 2007, when hiring Nix.

Many players are vacationing after Saturday's 24-17 loss in the Emerald Bowl to Cal.

It's possible that the last part of Shannon's decision to go in a different direction came in the final minutes of that game, when Miami struggled mightily while trying to run a 2-minute drill with hopes of tying the score.

"I fully realized the expectations when I came here, in the end, Coach Shannon and I just have a difference on how to run an offense," Nix said. "What I want to do is just not what he wants to do. God closed this door, God will open another one for me, and I have faith in that."