One of the common themes throughout Manny Diaz’s media appearances surrounding ACC kickoff has been that the Miami football team needs more consistency.
A lack of consistency was the downfall of the Miami football team during their 7-6 2018 season. Coming off of a 10-3 2017 season Miami fell far below their number eight ranking nationally to begin 2018. Miami began the season with a disheartening 33-17 loss to LSU. Five straight wins seemed that Miami was back on track.
Four straight losses to follow put the Hurricanes 2019 prospects in serious jeopardy. Wins at Virginia Tech and at home against 2018 ACC Coastal Division Champion Pittsburgh allowed the Miami football team to finish 2018 7-5. The inconsistency from play to play, series to series and game to game in 2018 was maddening to Diaz.
Diaz has spoken routinely during the 2019 offseason about separating the players on the Miami football roster that love football from the players that like football. During appearances, this week on the Joe Rose show, at the ACC Kickoff and talking to reporters that were covering the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte Diaz repeated that theme.
With five national championships in program history, The Miami football program should have high standards. Diaz expects his players to have the same mentality. Manny Navarro of The Athletic quoted Diaz discussing what he expects from his players.
“I’m hoping like heck we’ve got 11 on each side of the ball. If you’ve got 22, that’d be amazing. I know we don’t have 85.
We just can’t put a guy that’s not in it for the Canes in a dependable situation and then all of a sudden be surprised that he dropped the ball on third down or missed the block on third down or missed a tackle on third down. I think as long as the players know that, that’s cool.
This is UM, man…I mean, this is a high-standard place. We’ve got to win. And that’s really what we did defensively. In 2016, we said, ‘I don’t know how good we’re gonna be on defense, but we’re going to set ridiculously high standards.’ Who thought we’d start three freshmen at linebacker?
Why did we start them? Because they were the only ones that met the high standard. The older guys were like ‘Nah, Coach, you’re gonna play me.’ But the older guys weren’t in like the younger guys were. Those three guys were not going to take no for an answer. They were going to play.
The older guys we’re like, ‘Nah, I’ve heard this coaching talk before. I’ll still play.’ They couldn’t believe (it). So that’s really what I want for the team. I don’t know how good we’re going to be now, and I don’t really care. I know where it’s going, and I know how we have to get it there.”
Those three freshmen, Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud are about to enter their fourth season starting together. Quarterman has started all 39 games in his collegiate career. Miami is 26-13 in that span. That comes out to 8.67 wins and 4.33 losses per season. The Hurricanes hope to be better than that in 2019.
Miami should be one of the favorites in the ACC Coastal every year. They have been for the majority of their ACC tenure. The Hurricanes only have two ACC Coastal Divison titles and one appearance in the ACC championship game. Diaz continued by discussing what standard will be set for the Hurricanes every year.
Miami is expected to be the ACC tri-favorite with Virginia and Virginia Tech in 2019. The Hurricanes are a bit more of an unknown with Diaz ascending to his first head coaching job. The Hokies are coming off their first losing season since 1992. They barely qualified to keep their bowl streak alive at 26.
Miami won in Blacksburg in 2018 but lost in Charlottesville. The Hurricanes will host the Cavaliers and Hokies in 2019 in games that could potentially decide who wins the ACC Coastal. Diaz stated that he has to set the standard every year so that his players always believe they can win the Coastal.
— That’s so David (@ADavidHaleJoint) July 17, 2019
“If we get our team competing to the standard the Miami Hurricanes (set), we should be in the mix to go to Charlotte (for the ACC Championship Game) every year starting this year. We’re not saying if we do this in three years, we’ll have a chance.
If I went into the locker right now and said, ‘I’m not sure we can make it to Charlotte this year,’ our kids will start fighting. Like, literally, you’d have to fight. But we’re not going to talk about it. We’re not going to be goal-based.
We’re going to really, really dig into the ‘how’ every day. If we get our ‘how’ to where we want it to be, generally speaking, you end up in nice places at the end of the year. I really believe that.
So, instead of putting stuff on a T-shirt — you’re not gonna win with that — we’re going to win by really, really working and really showing a lot of toughness. That’s the ‘how.’ That’s the ‘how’ that was set before me. Every coach that has come through Miami, they’ve won the same way.”
Diaz has spoken often about setting the culture. His statement above indicates that. It began in the weight room during the offseason with new strength and conditioning coach David Feeley. Diaz is showing his players what it takes to win. Goals are nice, but dedication and creating good habits are far more important.
Mark Richt upped the standard at Miami, Diaz is bringing the culture up a few more notches. Richt admitted he didn’t have the energy necessary to run a Power Five College Football program. Diaz does. He has shown every step of the way since succeeding Richt he brings boundless energy and positivity in everything he does.