Diaz outlines thoughts following COVID postponements and moving forward

Diaz outlines thoughts following COVID postponements and moving forward

Stefan Adams
This morning, Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz gave his thoughts on 560WQAM for the first time since UM’s next two games were postponed due to COVID issues on the team.

“The way I look at it is we have a chance to get well, have to be even more diligent against the virus, but we have a two-game season,” Diaz said. “Winning those next two games (vs. Wake Forest December 5th, UNC December 12th), we’re going to look at our record, we have a shot at 8-1 (in conference) to get in the ACC championship game. If for whatever reason 8-1 doesn’t get us in, we will have one more game (vs. Georgia Tech December 19). Win that, and odds are you’re looking at a new year’s bowl game. Chance to finish 10-1, win a bigtime bowl. A lot to play for.”

As of now, the team isn’t practicing while infected players quarantine and recover, but the healthy players are conditioning and trying to stay in shape.

“We knew in 2020 we had to be ready for anything, knew that going in, and here we are,” Diaz said. “We fell below the threshold of available players for us to be able to play safely. We’ll be off the next couple of weeks, but that will give our guys a chance to get healthy, get well. We have to continue to battle the virus, double-down on the virus.”

AD Blake James intimated yesterday that the plan was to take two weeks off before returning to get a full week of practice in ahead of the December 5th game against Wake Forest. Does Diaz also anticipate that will happen?

“I think (the players) respond well, we have great leadership, some guys that want to accomplish some bigtime goals,” Diaz said. “Our (team) meeting was on Zoom, you can’t see everybody eye to eye on Zoom like you want to. We’ll slowly build it back with socially distanced workouts, get back in practice, that game flow, and get ready to go again.”

With the team standing at 7-1 on the season, Diaz attributes that success to a certain mindset that has grown throughout the locker room in the past year.

“I think we have more like-minded people compared to last year,” Diaz said. “Miami’s always had great individual personalities, but they always put the team first. When people throw around words like ‘Culture, winning attitude’ - it happens with your work ethic. Sometimes you work too dang hard to let the other guy beat you. And we’ve seen some of that this year.”

To continue to build on this season, Diaz sees strong recruiting and development as absolutely paramount.

“You get great recruiting classes, stack them on top of each other, put them in a great scheme and a great system and great strength program to develop them, and off you go,” Diaz said. “That’s what we feel is going on here.”
 

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Miami, FL
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