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Coach Speak: Diaz and Hartley discuss their groups after week 1 loss

Coach Speak: Diaz and Hartley discuss their groups after week 1 loss

Stefan Adams
In the loss to the Tigers over the weekend, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz did not feel like the team ever bounced back after LSU’s long touchdown run.

“We made a mistake on a long run and we didn’t respond to it,” Diaz said. “The whole football team. We dropped our gloves in the second quarter - offense, defense, special teams - and that to me was the most disappointing part. We didn’t look like we were very mentally tough. … In these games there’s going to be give and take. You’re not going to lose a game because you give up a touchdown in the first half to make it 10-3, but we did.

“Because after that point we did not respond. Above everything from the game that was the most disappointing part. For us to accomplish anything we have to show some resilience. Not the resilience to not surrender, and yes we made it a little of a game in the second half. But to respond right then and to punch right back when you get punched in the mouth. We didn’t have that. Of all disappointments, that was the biggest disappointment.”

Diaz pointed out some of the defensive players he felt played well in what was for many their first real action.

“I think some of the new guys that had to play inside - I thought Pat Bethel did a good job in his first test,” Diaz said. “Obviously everybody saw what Gerald Willis did. I thought Tito [Odenigbo] did a nice job in there, Jon Ford did a nice job in there. Anytime you have a performance like that, which you’re disappointed in, there’s always going to be some bright spots. But not nearly enough, and not enough where anybody really would be satisfied with our performance.”

The Canes rotated on defense a lot against LSU, and many of the backups struggled to play at the same level of the starters. Will Diaz shorten his rotation in the future?

“It might be the opposite,” Diaz said. “How many guys do have that have proven they can play at a high level? If anything, we need to reduce the feeling of entitlement…we need a good old competition to find out who our best guys are, now that the games are here and we’re not reading about ourselves, to find out who’s really serious about this.”

On the play of senior DB Jhavonte Dean: “They only completed three passes of over 10 yards, and three of them, were essence, his responsibility,” Diaz said. “The more disappointing part was two of them were coverage checks – it’s the idea of being able to answer a question on a motion before the play, where you’re not just leaving a guy wide open because they put a guy in motion. That’s all part of maturation of a player.”

On the freshmen who played in the season opener: “The freshman worth highlighting is Al Blades,” Diaz said. “When we lost Trajan [Bandy], which is another whole topic, we lost two players, because not only our starting corner, but we lost our starting nickel on third down. Al came in there and did not blink. It was not too big for him. He covered maybe their best guy, foot for foot. Al was very encouraging, the way he played in there. And then DJ Ivey played the majority of the last third of the game, and we kind of had the same feeling with DJ. It didn’t seem too big for DJ. He did a nice job. He wasn’t challenged with a pass, but kind of did his job and looked like he knew what he was doing.”

While LSU is in the past, Diaz said the game did take an emotional toll on his players as the Canes attempt to bounce back from the loss.

“Everybody is hurt and we’re still hurt,” Diaz said. “Even today’s practice there’s still rawness out here. Guys invested a lot in that game and they’re not happy about how it went. But maybe that’s the thing that’s going to get this chip back on our shoulder. Look, no one on the outside will care. But on the inside we have to come back from this thing. And we have to get ourselves to when we play it looks like the way we want us to play.”


**Tight ends coach and special team coordinator Todd Hartley mainly rode his starting tight end in week one against LSU. In freshman Brevin Jordan’s first career game, he barely stepped off the field and did an overall excellent job for what UM asked him to do.

“Brevin played 71 out of, I believe, a potential 78 snaps,” Hartley said. “First game, that atmosphere, to be able to go that long without having to come out – we hardly had to [substitute] him – I thought he did excellent, what we asked him to do. He graded out very high. He graded out almost [Chris] Herndon-level, trying to compare some things.

“Assignment-wise, I think he might have had two plays where he didn’t quite do what he was supposed to do. But two out of 71, I’ll take that all day. What he showed me was, he can handle the atmosphere. He can handle that quality opponent. He can handle the blocking, the protection. He didn’t bust one protection. He finished every play. He put his hat on people, he ran his feet, he competed. He didn’t back down. The moment wasn’t too big for him. So I was very, very impressed.”

On Jordan’s role in the offense: “He is definitely a weapon in our offense,” Hartley said. “We had some things called for him in the game, [LSU] just did some things defensively that kind of took that away, and took the look elsewhere. I thought he handled it well. I really did. Going forward, he’s going to get his touches. He’ll get his touches.”

As the special teams coordinator, Hartley had another freshman starting under his command: kicker Bubba Baxa.

“You’re all nervous when you’re starting three freshmen – two freshman tight ends and a freshman kicker,” Hartley said. “You don’t know how they’re going to react until they get on that stage, and Bubba comes out, that first [field goal], sticks it. Second one was a little longer and it got tipped…that’s why it came off a little like that.

“I thought Bubba handled it well. He had two kickoffs we asked to kick normal – one was a touchback and one was two or three yards deep [in the end zone] and they actually brought it out. The other two, we were trying to strategically place the ball at the end of the game. One we wanted to kick it high to make them return it and the other one, we tried to get it to where they weren’t and it ended up going out of bounds. He did exactly what we thought he would do. Obviously, we’d like him to make all field goals, but that one got tipped and we have to make sure we shore up our protection a little bit better.”

At punter, sophomore Zach Feagles had a whirlwind game, seeing his first punt almost blocked by a rusher that came through untouched up the middle, and then shanking his next punt off his foot.

“With ‘Feags,’ it’s very disappointing the first punt of the year, we have an issue with protection. We have a guy come scotch free, right through the ‘A’ gap. If you watched the film, he actually did an unbelievable job of not getting the punt blocked. The guy is literally from me to that microphone, and he was able to punt it to where the guy didn’t block the punt.

“Because of that, he had pressure his first time, I thought he thought he was going to have pressure the rest of the game. What he did was, he tried to speed his process up. He tried to speed his steps up. With punters, it’s all about rhythm. With that rhythm, our goal is to get that ball punted in two seconds or less. With him, because of that protection issue, he’s trying to get it off as fast as he can and it took him off rhythm. He had a couple after that that weren’t where we wanted them, but towards the end of the game, he ended up having some punts that were a lot better.”
 

Comments (26)

Man miss me with the Feagles BS. He has stunk since last year and mostly when there has been no pressure. I don't understand why they haven't change punters yet. He will continue to help cost us games
 
That Diaz interview was one of the better ones I have read from a coach so far. He is spot on. After that 50 yard TD run our guys mentally were done. They couldn't get back up. And that is surprising because we have come back before so its not like we have spent all last season being a front running horse. We came back against FSU, GTECH, and UVA. Just mind boggling they mentally lost it against LSU.

And you can tell the coaches (especially Diaz) were more or less in shock. You can tell from watching it on TV that Diaz couldn't believe his guys had threw in the towel and I think he didn't know how to get them out of the funk. Which is his job as a coach. But he wont admit it fully that he was shellshocked a little as well IMO.
 
That Diaz interview was one of the better ones I have read from a coach so far. He is spot on. After that 50 yard TD run our guys mentally were done. They couldn't get back up. And that is surprising because we have come back before so its not like we have spent all last season being a front running horse. We came back against FSU, GTECH, and UVA. Just mind boggling they mentally lost it against LSU.

And you can tell the coaches (especially Diaz) were more or less in shock. You can tell from watching it on TV that Diaz couldn't believe his guys had threw in the towel and I think he didn't know how to get them out of the funk. Which is his job as a coach. But he wont admit it fully that he was shellshocked a little as well IMO.

I don't get it either bc all three LBs in the game were backups to include #20 unfortunately roaming in the backend...When Shaq, Pink, and McCloud got back in the game, there is no reason for them not to respond...Just BS talk by my Primo, Diaz...
 
Funny Diaz said what I wanted to her from Richt, one thing I'll say is there no team that talks a better game than ours.
All we heard all off season was how angry the players were about how LY ended and they planned to make up for it. Then they go out and play tough guy before the game and as Diaz said get punched in the mouth and do nothing about it.
 
Bullshyt...Diaz was wrong. That touchdown was because of him. Then he throws them under the bus after his bad play call. Of course anybody on here would be a little deflated after that.

So the blown assignment and horrendous angle had nothing to do with it? That should have been a 4 to 5 yard pickup at best on a 2nd and 15 play. What is clear is we've got some upperclassmen that really need to move down the depth chart, even on defense. They are the same liabilities they were last year.

I do agree that we got punched in the mouth and we rolled over in the second quarter. We didn't quit but we also didn't respond. A couple of kids just killed us on defense after the first touchdown and it wasn't the young guys.
 
Go back and watch the play and the play before and see if you noticed some similarities. Then notice the interaction between Jaquan and Diaz after Joe Burrow changes the offensive call and you may change your tune.
 
Diaz said. “How many guys do have that have proven they can play at a high level? If anything, we need to reduce the feeling of entitlement…we need a good old competition to find out who our best guys are, now that the games are here and we’re not reading about ourselves, to find out who’s really serious about this.

This really stood out to me, maybe they start playing the most talented players and not the most experienced. Hopefully CMR takes note of this and dumps Rosier.
 
Bullshyt...Diaz was wrong. That touchdown was because of him. Then he throws them under the bus after his bad play call. Of course anybody on here would be a little deflated after that.

Straight up man. This sucka doesn’t play DISCIPLINE DEFENSE. Them acc coaches were right about him being overly aggressive and over his head sometimes. He doesn’t freakin teach gap responsibilities and you see those linebackers for the most part out of freakin place.

It’s starting to sound like the man with the Tie staff to me
 
manny kept it real. i like how he called out dean and then shouted out blades and ivy. basically is saying dean's losing his job to blades.

also the sense of entitlement, hes 100% right on.
 
So basically cool with the coach not having to be held accountable for his own actions and rail on the players. Ok got ya.

I seem to remember this guy with a tie that was head coach here doing the same thing. But hey maybe I’m remembering something different.
 
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For three straight years, I cringe and pray whenever our special teams comes onto the field. I'm excited to see what DeeJay and Jeff can do at KR/PR but if our blocking doesn't get better, it won't matter. I'll give Bubba a pass on his first game but we need to have the punter job open. I would much rather take the punter who can punt 42 yards 90% of the time over Feagles who can have 1 55 yard punt and 3 shanks.
 
So manny thinks that 50 yarder wasn’t on him? Oh and he also thinks that the backups are so terrible that we should play the starters even less. Right
 
Diaz said. “How many guys do have that have proven they can play at a high level? If anything, we need to reduce the feeling of entitlement…we need a good old competition to find out who our best guys are, now that the games are here and we’re not reading about ourselves, to find out who’s really serious about this.

This really stood out to me, maybe they start playing the most talented players and not the most experienced. Hopefully CMR takes note of this and dumps Rosier.

What were the coaches doing in the months of preparations leading up to the game? Purposely not looking for the best guys? More nice sounding words from Diaz that fans will eat up I'm sure. Nothing of actual substance other than they are outing themselves as not being elite at their jobs.
 
That Diaz interview was one of the better ones I have read from a coach so far. He is spot on. After that 50 yard TD run our guys mentally were done. They couldn't get back up. And that is surprising because we have come back before so its not like we have spent all last season being a front running horse. We came back against FSU, GTECH, and UVA. Just mind boggling they mentally lost it against LSU.

And you can tell the coaches (especially Diaz) were more or less in shock. You can tell from watching it on TV that Diaz couldn't believe his guys had threw in the towel and I think he didn't know how to get them out of the funk. Which is his job as a coach. But he wont admit it fully that he was shellshocked a little as well IMO.

Malik sucks. You go down 14 points in the second quarter and you have Malik as your QB against a D like LSU... you know you have to play perfect ball to have a chance to win.
 
Go back and watch the play and the play before and see if you noticed some similarities. Then notice the interaction between Jaquan and Diaz after Joe Burrow changes the offensive call and you may change your tune.

I'm not going back to watch it so can you expound please?
 
I'm not going back to watch it so can you expound please?
The play before the touchdown was a false start, if you notice our alignment were running a safety blitz with Jaquan. Their linement on that play was overloaded to the right.The very next play they are overloaded to the left. Jaquan starts creeping up to run the same blitz. Burrow notices that we are about to run the same defensive play and checks to the run. Jaquan notices that Burrow is checking and looks directly at Manny. Manny waves him off and tells him to run the play he called. The rest is history.

But yet it’s the players fault according to some on here. Ya ok...
 
it was right in front of my seats... JJ looked over to the sideline and seemed to want to check out of the blitz... he got waved off and followed his orders.
 

2022 Commits

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Manvel, TX
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