Coach Speak: Diaz discusses the defense ahead of UNC

Coach Speak: Diaz discusses the defense ahead of UNC

Stefan Adams
The Hurricanes had some major struggles getting off the field last season on third downs, but have made some serious strides so far this season. Miami's defense leads the nation in getting off the field on 3rd downs, as UM's opponents are 10/57 (17.5%) on converting 3rd downs so far this season, and Manny Diaz has recognized the improvement.

“We are showing more dominance than we did a year ago because our run defense did not start off great last year,” Diaz said. “Our number of snaps we’re playing on defense compared to last year is amazing.”

However, Miami has been forcing less turnovers in 2018, with only 6 through 4 games.

“We want more to be at an elite level,” Diaz said on turning teams over. “But at times, what you’re noticing, is, are we still playing violently? Are we still forcing fumbles? Gurvan (Hall) forced a fumble that didn’t count on the official stats. Are we getting after the quarterback to make the quarterback make poor decisions? Sometimes I would say the quarterback can decide that by getting sacked, or throwing the ball away or those types of things. As long as we’re taking advantage of our opportunities, we know that those things will come.”

As Diaz referenced, Gurvan Hall had a jarring hit against FIU last week that got the crowd on their feet, and Diaz felt that he has earned more snaps.

“We showed the video in our defensive team meeting, showed the impact of everyone on our sideline - there were guys that weren’t watching, all of a sudden everyone looks up,” Diaz said on Hall’s hit. “That’s how you make a name, you have to make those plays that people in the stands spill their popcorn.

“Now what’s your consistency level like? We know you can make a play, now can you be that guy play after play? You’re really judged especially on the back end by how many mistakes you make, because mistakes can turn to touchdowns.”

Sophomore safety Amari Carter made his first career start on Saturday and Diaz praised his play.

“Calm. Under control. Made all the checks,” Diaz said on Carter’s game against FIU. “Amari is a very intelligent player and he played like a smart guy. He played like he knew what was going on, knew what the play was going to be before it happened. The play where he almost made the pick on our sideline, he knew the route that was coming. He almost sort of baited the quarterback to throw it to the guy. We know that Amari will tackle, and that he runs to the ball, and is tough – those type things. He looks like a starter, which was encouraging to see.”

Late in the fourth quarter against FIU, UM had a major coverage bust when both corner DJ Ivey and safety Robert Knowles blitzed in on one pass play, leaving the right side of the field completely wide open for an easy Panthers’ TD toss. Diaz declined to say who exactly made the mistake, but said it’s part of the learning process for UM’s young talent.

“It doesn’t matter who, but obviously it was as a major, major error,” Diaz said. “When the young guys go in and make those mistakes, now they understand. Because out here (at practice) we fuss at them and it’s `Oh, coach, you’re just crazy.’ And then all of a sudden we invited 50,000 people and they saw us bust coverages for touchdowns. Now just that little difference `Oh, I see why coach makes a big deal about that.’”

Miami kicks off ACC play against UNC this week, but Manny Diaz got a head start on preparing for the Tar Heels.

“Truth be told, I had already watched these guys last week,” Diaz said. “Conference opponent, you kind of have an idea of who they are. We’ve got a past history against each other, they kind of know who we are. That helps on a short week of preparation. We have a lot of respect for the way that they coach and the scheme they have offensively. Like you saw last week against Pitt, when they’re clicking, they can score a lot of points.”

Seven UNC players, who were suspended for 30 percent of the season after selling their team-issued sneakers, will return to the team this week and be eligible to play against UM on Thursday.

“We probably can’t predict the way it’s going to change them, what kind of impact it has,” Diaz said. “Certainly, you want to have all the players you can have at your disposal. But for us, we have to defend who’s in front of us – the formations, the plays - all that type of stuff, generally speaking, won’t change too much. It’s about us taking care of our assignments.

“It’s a different world every Saturday. The biggest mistake we make, all of us, is we make assumptions based off past performance. Teams get better, teams don’t play their best, sometimes aren’t ready to play.”
 

Comments (25)

i love that third down stat, but it's really hard to gauge the defense based on who we've played. i'd guess that a significant reason we've had fewer turnovers created is because the opposition hasn't had as many plays to run since the defense has been ending drives earlier than last year. we won't get a great idea of where we're at for a while since the rest of our schedule looks absolutely horrendous since duke is somehow the best team we have yet to play.
 
“Now what’s your consistency level like? We know you can make a play, now can you be that guy play after play? You’re really judged especially on the back end by how many mistakes you make, because mistakes can turn to touchdowns.”

This is what drives me crazy. Diaz always preaches consistency. Being the same guy on every play. Well Knowles has been the same guy on every play. Every time hes come in he gives up a play. Hes consistently bad. Play gurvan! he might make some mistakes but hes gonna make plays. When has knowles ever made a play when hes in. I dont recall a single hit or tackle that hes made.
 
Craziest part of Hall’s hit was that was no dinky slot receiver. Looked like an athletic TE or oversized WR to me. That dude was legit size and Hall just erased him.
 
Are any of those seven suspended players impact guys? UNC was trash last year and bad up until the Pitt game this year. Any worries here?
 
“Now what’s your consistency level like? We know you can make a play, now can you be that guy play after play? You’re really judged especially on the back end by how many mistakes you make, because mistakes can turn to touchdowns.”

This is what drives me crazy. Diaz always preaches consistency. Being the same guy on every play. Well Knowles has been the same guy on every play. Every time hes come in he gives up a play. Hes consistently bad. Play gurvan! he might make some mistakes but hes gonna make plays. When has knowles ever made a play when hes in. I dont recall a single hit or tackle that hes made.
20 is the 12 on defense. Maybe both will try out punting js
 
We seem to have improved on 3rd down. I do consider the teams we played though. Toledo is decent the rest are terrible on offense. Maybe we contributed to that. UNC was killing us last year with a FR.
 
We seem to have improved on 3rd down. I do consider the teams we played though. Toledo is decent the rest are terrible on offense. Maybe we contributed to that. UNC was killing us last year with a FR.

We weren’t very good on 3rd down against bad competition last year. Toledo was around 50%. So was UNC. We shut down UNC this year and I think we can safely say this team will be a lot better on 3rd down this year. Maybe not 16% level against good teams, but we will be better.
 
“Amari is a very intelligent player and he played like a smart guy. He played like he knew what was going on, knew what the play was going to be before it happened. The play where he almost made the pick on our sideline, he knew the route that was coming. He almost sort of baited the quarterback to throw it to the guy. We know that Amari will tackle, and that he runs to the ball, and is tough – those type things. He looks like a starter, which was encouraging to see.”

@Liberty City El it's happening Mang!
 
Striker position has definitely paid dividends especially on 3rd down. But Diaz needs to chill with the 3rd and long zone blitzes. I hope he's just putting those on tape against bad teams to mess with teams gameplanning later in the season.
 
Getting off the field on the third downs at the 30% rate>>>> depending on turnovers
 
i love that third down stat, but it's really hard to gauge the defense based on who we've played. i'd guess that a significant reason we've had fewer turnovers created is because the opposition hasn't had as many plays to run since the defense has been ending drives earlier than last year. we won't get a great idea of where we're at for a while since the rest of our schedule looks absolutely horrendous since duke is somehow the best team we have yet to play.

I'd say it's starting to round out on defense in terms of rankings. We've played LSU who's a run-heavy team as well as Toledo which has one of the best offenses in the nation, despite playing in the MAC.
 
Craziest part of Hall’s hit was that was no dinky slot receiver. Looked like an athletic TE or oversized WR to me. That dude was legit size and Hall just erased him.

Yep, that was Sterling Palmer Jr - 6-6, 230 pound TE. His pops, btw, was a HUGE recruit (enormous guy that played at FSU in early 90s - 6-7, 260 pound monster).
 
Coach Kool is one of the best in the country at coaching up pass rushers. But it seems Simpson is a better coach overall. Our defensive linemen are snuffing out the run. Especially when you consider we lost to 2 DTs. Coaches want DTs who can play the run in the NFL, if u can't, you wont be able to rush the passer because its 3rd and short all the time. I think that is one of the underrated part of what happened in the offseason. That's what has improved our D. Other than getting burnt on a blitz v LSU, DL has been stubborn against the run. McIntosh and Norton would have improved their stock a couple rounds atleast if they were balling in this D. Willis is gonna go first round imo. He is playing better than anyone on Clemson's DL. He will be the first Miami DL drafted first round in a long azz time i think.
 
Sophomore safety Amari Carter made his first career start on Saturday and Diaz praised his play.

“Calm. Under control. Made all the checks,” Diaz said on Carter’s game against FIU. “Amari is a very intelligent player and he played like a smart guy. He played like he knew what was going on, knew what the play was going to be before it happened. The play where he almost made the pick on our sideline, he knew the route that was coming. He almost sort of baited the quarterback to throw it to the guy. We know that Amari will tackle, and that he runs to the ball, and is tough – those type things. He looks like a starter, which was encouraging to see.”

Wasn't Amari a 4.0 student at Palm Beach Gardens?
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
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WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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