Diaz on Martell decision, WR battle

Diaz on Martell decision, WR battle

Stefan Adams
Late yesterday, Miami received the good news that Ohio State QB transfer Tate Martell had his waiver approved and would officially be eligible in 2019. After Wednesday’s practice, head coach Manny Diaz said he was pleased with the outcome.

“I am happy for Tate because that was something every day he was waking up and wondering what his future was going to be,” Diaz said. “And I think he feels good, but everyone feels good because the right decision was made. These cases, they all rest on their individual laurels. On the outside, no one knows what the details are - the NCAA has a very hard job. The details of what Tate’s case were from very early on, we were cautiously optimistic that this would be the ruling. The fact it came through, everyone in the process did a great job.”

Was the wait hard on Martell from Diaz’s point of view?

“It was tough. You could see the strain get to him,” Diaz said. “The waiting is the hardest part. To his credit, what did he do? He just came out here and worked. Did a great job in the weight room and just controlled what he could control."

With the Martell news now out, UM will officially have a 3-way battle for the QB job in 2019. According to Diaz, he doesn’t see N’Kosi Perry or Jarren Williams changing their attitude just because Miami brought in another talented player.

"This is the University of Miami and there should always be an expectation of competition,” Diaz said. “This is going to be a competition. We won't be who we want to be unless we have some really intense competition for playing time at practice. So that was a reason with a lot of the transfers - to try and stir up some competition in the locker room."

Unlike Martell, Diaz said sophomore RB Asa Martin is not expected to apply for a waiver and will redshirt this year after transferring in from Auburn. A third transfer, senior KJ Osborn, is eligible immediately as a grad transfer and has come in from Buffalo and raised the maturity of the WR group according to Diaz.

“KJ was brought in because we had very talented wide receivers, but we were very young,” Diaz said. “That was evident with our team a year ago. It is not about whether or not they can play, it is about do they understand how to practice? Do they understand how to go to meetings? By all accounts, everything we heard about KJ from Buffalo was that he was a star in all those things, in addition to the fact that he was a really, really productive player on the field.

“He has probably exceeded our expectations since he’s been here. We can’t kick him out of the building. He is always in the meeting rooms. In our first off-season with the indoor, it really is like the player’s playground. They have to come in and catch balls off the Jugs machine. K.J. will do it and then other guys will join him. He is creating great habits. He is doing exactly what we thought in terms of changing the culture of that wide receiver room.”

Junior WR Jeff Thomas returned to the WR group after a brief 2 month hiatus away from the team, and Diaz said they had a heart-to-heart about what his issues were and what would be expected of him going forward.

“Jeff never wanted to leave - he wanted to be a Miami Hurricane,” Diaz said. “Jeff can be a big part of our success.”

Highly-recruited WR Mark Pope came in with high expectations as a freshman last year, but was often relegated to a reserve role and only recorded 1 catch for 11 yards in 2018. The down season led Pope to consider transferring, but he’s back as a sophomore to show he can live up to his lofty billing.

“For some guys, they flash their first year. But that’s not always the case. Mark got caught up in a young room a year ago that kind of got off track,” Diaz said. “I told him `You will look back 20 years from now and be happy you persevered through this year. But even in two years when you’re a junior, I want you to be the guy that is going to go talk to the freshman that’s struggling.’ It’s hard because you have this expectation. It’s not met, it leads to disappointment.”

According to Diaz, one of the top performers in off-season workouts was WR Mike Harley, and he was rewarded with a starting job to begin spring ball. In 2019, Diaz expects big things from the junior in Miami’s new offense.

“Coach (Dan) Enos has enough tricks in his playbook to get guys like Mike the ball,” Diaz said. “We’re early days into it, just two practices, but Mike has a chance to really take a step forward this spring.”
 

Comments (46)

Talent has always been there to win the Coastal. Our QB room and shitty coaches certainly didn't help last season. But even the maligned OL was good enough to beat Duke, BC, Ga Tech.
 
Plenty of talent at WR no denying that.

There's plenty of talent at all of our skill positions on Offense.
RB's
Lorenzo Lingard
Cam Harris
Deejay Dallas
Asa Martin
Robert Burns

QB's
U already know!

TE's
Brevin Jordan
Will Mallory
TE-3
TE-4
Just kidding about not naming the other TE's but the point is with Mallory and Jordan it doesn't matter who's at #4.
 
There's plenty of talent at all of our skill positions on Offense.
RB's
Lorenzo Lingard
Cam Harris
Deejay Dallas
Asa Martin
Robert Burns

QB's
U already know!

TE's
Brevin Jordan
Will Mallory
TE-3
TE-4
Just kidding about not naming the other TE's but the point is with Mallory and Jordan it doesn't matter who's at #4.

Who is Cam Harris
 
WR ROOM

Osbourne
Thomas
Harley
Hightower
Pope
Njoku
Payton
Wiggins

I'm sure I'm missing one but that's a deep and talented unit right there

Actually we’re short in depth. A Div 1 football team should be 10 deep at wr.
 

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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

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