Diaz breaks down depth chart decisions ahead of opener

Diaz breaks down depth chart decisions ahead of opener

Stefan Adams
Ahead of their first game week of the 2020 season, the Miami Hurricanes released their depth chart on Monday afternoon. Among other moves, head coach Manny Diaz named redshirt junior N’Kosi Perry UM’s backup QB, and he spoke about what went into that decision.

“N’Kosi has had a really good year in all aspects of his life,” Diaz said. “Even before the whole pandemic hit, just his accountability, everything in our program, he’s been the best he’s been since he’s been here, really solid. And he’s done a really nice job when he’s quarterbacking. N’Kosi has played in a lot of games, done a lot of nice things on the field. A lot of the things we’re doing in the offense fits his skill set, making plays with his arms and feet. N’Kosi is continuing to mature, is just going on that curve and it’s been fun to watch him continue to develop.”

Pushing Perry was true freshman QB Tyler Van Dyke, who came in during the spring and immediately generated buzz throughout the program; Van Dyke was listed as Miami’s #3 quarterback today.

“We think Tyler has a really, really bright future here,” Diaz said. “He impressed us in the spring, and when we came back, his ability to make some throws has caught the eye of everybody on the football team. He’s got the ability to move around, keep plays alive. He just needs seasoning, reps."

Which were the toughest positions to make depth chart calls?

“The toughest ones - striker with Gil Frierson and Keontra Smith, both those guys have earned the right to call themselves starter,” Diaz said. “Safety for sure with Gurvan Hall, Bubba Bolden, and Amari Carter - those are all line one starters and will play a lot.”

The main position battle in camp was at left guard, where redshirt sophomore Ousman Traore won out over sophomores Zion Nelson and Jakai Clark, who were both starters for Miami last season.

“Ousman has been super solid, brings good toughness there,” Diaz said. “We feel good about that left side of the line.”

Another major position battle was at middle linebacker, as redshirt junior BJ Jennings returned from injury and beat out sophomore Sam Brooks for the starting job.

“Since [Jennings] has been here, it’s been neck and neck with Shaq (Quarterman) for who the biggest hitters are on our football team - BJ wasn’t far behind,” Diaz said. “I’m talking about in the box, lay the thump on some guys. BJ is a very explosive football player.”

Diaz also mentioned that game flow and situation would dictate how reps are split behind RB1 Cam Harris in the backfield, where true freshmen Jaylan Knighton and Don Chaney are listed co-backups.

“They have to get their feet wet a little bit,” Diaz said of the freshmen.

Junior Mark Pope will open the season as Miami’s primary returner at both PR and KR.

“We want him to make great decisions,” Diaz said of Pope. “The big plays, no different than on offense. Everyone has all these expectations - the plays come, and if you try to force them in the kicking game or on offense, the crazy expectations that every play is supposed to be a touchdown, that’s just not the way it is. What I tell Mark to do is make good decisions and the plays that are there, make them.”

According to Diaz, redshirt senior grad transfer K Jose Borregales has come in from FIU and made an immediate impact.

“He has changed our football team,” Diaz said. “Last year, the kicking game cost us wins. The first time we did a field goal drill in the spring and he kicked it through the upright, the whole team erupted in applause. To have those guys that understand we can get those points, Jose provides a lot of confidence with that.”

With the depth chart settled, Diaz says the team has turned their full focus onto UAB for the season opener on Thursday.

“We’re finally here in game week, are excited to be opening our season on Thursday night,” Diaz said. “This was an occasion we were not sure was going to happen.

“We have an opportunity to play a very good UAB team on Thursday. Everything they do they do very well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They make you earn everything, a lot of man coverage. And on the other side of the ball, a quarterback with 11 career wins, a running back who is the second career rushing leader in all of college football. An offensive line with double digit starts. We’ve been preparing them for the better part of two weeks.”

Coming off a 6-7 record in his first year at the helm of the Miami program, Diaz hopes this team will face adversity a lot better than the 2019 group.

“You don’t really know until you get into the season,” Diaz said. “You can try to test them, put them through some adversity in a camp setting, which we’ve done. The players, their knowledge and experience that they saw a year ago helps, helps foster some different leadership. But you have to get in the games and find out what you’re all about. This year is going to be a long year, a marathon, there’s all sorts of uncertainty between now and December.”

The Turnover Chain will also return in 2020, and Diaz mentioned it will be sanitized after any player touches it.

“It’ll be a little different, as it is every year,” Diaz said. “It won’t be a Turnover Mask.”
 

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The Turnover Chain will also return in 2020, and Diaz mentioned it will be sanitized after any player touches it.

“It’ll be a little different, as it is every year,” Diaz said. “It won’t be a Turnover Mask.”

Golden Globes Reaction GIF by MOODMAN
 
For the first time in a long time we have some good depth on both sides of the ball.

And with how often Diaz likes rotating players in, having solid depth is a recipe for success.

The backend is strong at Safety & Striker has good versatility, LB group is about 7 deep & the DL is extremely deep.

To me CB is still a question mark & will come down to how often will Couch & Christian Williams play, we gotta start getting those guys more reps.
 
“A lot of the things we’re doing in the offense fits his skill set, making plays with his arms and feet. N’Kosi is continuing to mature, is just going on that curve.”

N’Kosi can throw with both arms???

No wonder he won the backup job.
 
For the first time in a long time we have some good depth on both sides of the ball.

And with how often Diaz likes rotating players in, having solid depth is a recipe for success.

The backend is strong at Safety & Striker has good versatility, LB group is about 7 deep & the DL is extremely deep.

To me CB is still a question mark & will come down to how often will Couch & Christian Williams play, we gotta start getting those guys more reps.
Still can’t believe bandy left
 
Deepest and most talented team we've had here in forever. Also a much tougher schedule than what we thought we'd be seeing.

This season is going to be mentally challenging for the players and coaches, for a multitude of reasons we've all talked about.

Feel 1000x better going into it knowing King will be under center. He will be the difference maker for us this year.
 
Still can’t believe bandy left
I can & TBH, I'm glad he did.

He was dealing with a lot of stuff with his family & wasn't completely checked in mentally.

It would've been nice if he came back from a Depth standpoint, but ultimately he would've been a liability on the field because he just couldn't be fully focused on the task at hand.

I wish him the best, but those reps he would've got will hopefully go to one of the young pups, it's time we start developing these younger corners.
 
I can & TBH, I'm glad he did.

He was dealing with a lot of stuff with his family & wasn't completely checked in mentally.

It would've been nice if he came back from a Depth standpoint, but ultimately he would've been a liability on the field because he just couldn't be fully focused on the task at hand.

I wish him the best, but those reps he would've got will hopefully go to one of the young pups, it's time we start developing these younger corners.
Well didn't know any of that. Hopefully he can get his mind right and get back on track. Will forever be in his debt for the pick 6 against the domers.
 
I can & TBH, I'm glad he did.

He was dealing with a lot of stuff with his family & wasn't completely checked in mentally.

It would've been nice if he came back from a Depth standpoint, but ultimately he would've been a liability on the field because he just couldn't be fully focused on the task at hand.

I wish him the best, but those reps he would've got will hopefully go to one of the young pups, it's time we start developing these younger corners.
At this point if he can make a practice squad for a year it will help ease the financial burden a bit and hopefully help him get refocused and such...
 

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
Miami, FL
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

Latest Predictions

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Medium
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Certain
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2020 Schedule

09/10
UAB
Miami Gardens, FL
W 31 - 14
09/19
Louisville
Louisville, KY
W 47 - 34
09/26
Florida State
Miami Gardens, FL
10/10
Clemson
Clemson, SC
10/17
Pittsburgh
Miami Gardens, FL
10/24
Virginia
Miami Gardens, FL
11/06
NC State
Raleigh, NC
11/14
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
11/21
Georgia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
11/28
Wake Forest
Winston-Salem, NC
12/05
North Carolina
Miami Gardens, FL
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