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Diaz speaks on the field position battle, importance of bowl games

Diaz speaks on the field position battle, importance of bowl games

Stefan Adams
With the Canes on a 4 game losing streak, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz says it’s the bond within his unit that keeps them going strong.

“Well, you have to have some sort of bond,” Diaz said. “You’ve got to have a connection with something outside yourself, right? To be good at anything. So, you have to have some greater connection because yeah, if you get into your feelings and if you start feeling selfish then you may start to lower your standard.

“The great thing that we have is we’ve created a unit that takes a lot of pride in how we play and it would be a frightening thing to be the guy that lets down all the other guys that play defense; to be that guy. Because if our locker room senses it, if we sense it, the pack is going to take care of it and they’ve been told and demanded to do that. It’d be a bad idea to be the guy that all of a sudden let their level of performance drop because of what our record is. So, I think having a great locker room and having a great leadership helps with that.”

What are the issues that are still plaguing the team?

“Well, there’s some obvious things,” Diaz said. “I mean, number one is field position….you can’t go back-to-back weeks and give the other team the ball at the average of the 41-yard line. You can’t play on a 60-yard field. You cannot turn the ball over inside your red zone for five straight weeks. Conversely, we have to create turnovers that give our offense short fields. We have to do something to get our offense playing on a short field.

“The game is not complicated. Our offense and defense don’t operate in vacuums. So, we’ve got a defense that’s got to do more to get our offense on short fields. And we have an offense and special teams that has to protect our defense.”

The Canes are constantly below average in field position every game due to a combination of poor offense and special teams. Diaz feels if they get that fixed, along with the defense creating more short fields via turnovers, it will go a long way towards fixing some of the issues on this team.

“If you have to drive 75- to 80-yards against our defense, you are not going to score a lot of points,” Diaz said. “But when you see that you are top-five in every category, and then you’re like 25th in scoring defense, you are giving up more points than you should because it is math. Where they are getting the ball, translates to how many points they score. I think we are fifth in red zone touchdown percentage. So, everything is on this scale, but we don’t play for those stats. We play for points. We are giving up too many points.

“It’s watching five-year olds play soccer, right? The goal the ball is closer to, more often gets scored in the most. So, we have got to get back to winning field position, which every man on the travel team has something to say in. That’s on offense getting two first downs. That’s on defense creating three and outs. That’s on special teams, on flipping field position… We are walking around, the patient is sick, and the diagnosis is pretty obvious.”

Currently with a record of 5-5, the Canes are in danger of missing a bowl game, and Diaz says reaching a bowl and getting those extra practices will pay dividends for next season’s team.

“It’s great for the continuity of your team, and improving,” Diaz said. “You know, bowl games are sometimes a bridge to the following year, we saw that with the West Virginia game after the 2016 season and how that spring boarded us into the 2017 season. Right now, the goal is go play your best game. You know, our best game is out there, go find a way to put it together: offense, defense, special teams. Go play a game like we should play, because we are running out of at-bats to do it. What a great weekend to do it up in Blacksburg.”

As Diaz is also the coach of the linebackers unit specifically, he pointed out two young players he sees making more of an impact in 2019.

“Still just encouraged with (Bradley) Jennings and (Waynmon) Steed,” Diaz said. “It’s hard to take (Mike) Pinckney and (Shaq) Quarterman off the field, but we think we have two guys at that role that can play like Hurricanes.”
 

Comments (6)

"...It’s watching five-year olds play soccer, right?..."

Sums up the sad state of Miami's program.

Jesus.

F[]cking.

Christ.
 
“If you have to drive 75- to 80-yards against our defense, you are not going to score a lot of points,” Diaz said

Man he has to be so frustrated right now. I feel for him but his attitude is good and his players reflect that
 
The Canes are constantly below average in field position every game due to a combination of poor offense and special teams. Diaz feels if they get that fixed, along with the defense creating more short fields via turnovers, it will go a long way towards fixing some of the issues on this team.

That's a relief. All they need to do is get the poor offense and special teams straightened out and we're rolling. Sweet.
 
When 2/3 of the game is sucking, your team is gonna suck 2/3 of the time. Reflects our results
 
Diaz is right, of course opposing offenses have been gifted short fields way too many times. It would help if we could move the ball a little and get a decent punt for a change.

This does illustrate why traditional stats often don't tell the story.
 
It's tempting to think good ST is all punt return TDs and FG, but hell. Just a competent punter is a gift you rarely appreciate. Unless that punt gets downed inside the 10, you don't really think about the punter.

If we had Bosher this year, we'd still suck, but we'd be 7-3 or something. If nothing else we wouldn't have given up that punt return TD to fsu...Bosher would never allow that sht to go down.

Fck me, I'm nostalgic for a damn punter.
 

2022 Commits

WR
6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
OLB
6'1"
195
Miami, FL
CB
6'0"
160
Lexington, MS
QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA
CB
6'1"
175
Fort Myers, FL
S
6'1"
170
Orlando, FL
WR
6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

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