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Diaz talks team, injuries, and philosophy of program after spring opener

Diaz talks team, injuries, and philosophy of program after spring opener

Stefan Adams
Outside, it was pouring rain all day in Coral Gables. However, that didn’t stop the Miami Hurricanes and new head coach Manny Diaz from kicking off spring football today, as practice had already been planned for the Indoor Practice Facility anyways.

“We’re blessed with a great facility and we had the opportunity to use it,” Diaz said. “We can play football in here the same way we can anywhere.”

The Hurricanes brought the energy to the IPF today for Diaz’s first practice as the head coach of Miami football, and while execution will take time to perfect, there’s no substitute for attitude and hard work. Diaz even acknowledged that his assistants got in on the fun as well, showing fiery intensity during some moments today.

“It’s our first spring practice. No matter what, you’re still Day 1. You’re just in helmets,” Diaz said. “What today is, it’s a full-speed walk-through. Football is still blocking and tackling and that type of stuff. I know the energy will reach a different level on Friday when we put the shoulders pads on for the first time, but today is still fun.

“What was impressive today was watching our coaching staff coach, on both sides of the ball - Coach Baker and those guys on the defensive side of the ball, Coach Enos and those guys on the offensive side of the ball. Their energy, their passion, their knowledge and the way they made corrections – I imagine our team is in the locker room right now and they’re full aware of what’s going on. What we have done today is what we wanted to do – we have knocked everyone out of their comfort zone, which is ideally what we wanted. There’s not a guy on the field who has it all figured out. That’s part of what we think is going to make us better.”

A key question on everyone’s mind is: what is the eligibility status of Ohio State QB transfer Tate Martell?

“We’re not keeping secrets. When we know, you’ll know,” Diaz said. “Ultimately we’ll see, but right now, the focus is on getting everyone in the locker room as good as they can be. Right now, we’re just competing. We’re learning an offense. We’re learning how to defend this offense. We’re learning how to practice, how to play. That’s really what we’re concerned about.”

When he was first introduced as Miami’s head coach, Diaz stated that his main goal was to spread the attacking mentality of his defense into the UM offense. That is one of the many standards Diaz is evaluating his team on this spring and is already starting to see a tough offense forming.

“Remember when I first talked about how we want an offense that is hard to defend, the same way we want to have a defense that is hard to attack as an offense,” Diaz said. “They’re doing many things that defenses don’t like to see. They’re making defensive football players make decision. When we self-evaluated a year ago, when we were put in that position, we did not always respond very well defensively.

“The fact that we’re getting this out here for 15 days in spring and then for the 29 days of practice during training camp, it’s going to make our defense better. More than anything, it’s just the competitive nature and getting competitive excellence on both sides of the ball - when we come back here and have an ‘iron sharpens iron’ mindset, [it] will make our football team better.”

How does Diaz describe the meaning of “The New Miami”?

“Outside of this building, I think everyone feels the energy. Everyone feels the passion of what’s going on,” Diaz said. “Inside this building, I think it is summed up by the Miami standard. That’s really what it’s about. That’s a tangible thing. It’s a measurable thing that we can hold our guys and account for every day. That’s what has been real here, since we came back in January in the weight room, out here in the offseason programs and today in Practice 1.”

“What we talk about is just the standard. We’re holding these guys to an extraordinarily high standard,” Diaz said. “But those are the type of men that those coaches are. They ask them all the time, ‘Do you want to be great?’ Some of our guys will respond to that, and some of our guys, to be honest, they might be in the wrong place. But if we’re going to be Miami and we’re going to win the games we’re supposed to win, we have to hold our guys to that standard. That’s all that’s going on right now.”

Former Hurricane greats Greg Olsen, Michael Irvin, Jon Beason and others showed up to practice this morning to support the program and watch a new era of Miami football begin.

“It’s great seeing those guys. For a lot of those guys, it was their first time being in this facility and it’s great for them to see that,” Diaz said. “We have some guys here that actually put their hard-earned [money] into this facility. For them to see our team practice in here is a great reward for them. The more those guys are around, the better. That’s a big part of trying to tie our guys to the tradition here in the past, is seeing the great ones and some of the ones whose names are hanging in the rafters here. To have those guys on our sideline is big for our younger players.”

Players that sat out today included senior STRK Zach McCloud, sophomore RB Lorenzo Lingard, and sophomore TE Brian Polendey. Diaz says that while they are limited, the three are progressing nicely.

“[Zach] is around. He’s just limited with his hand,” Diaz said. “[Lingard] would be in that group. It’s a pretty small group. Brian Polendey is still limited.”

The first day of spring practice depth charts are based on things like effort in off-season workouts and almost never end up holding true through the end of spring. Diaz says the goal is to evaluate the roster throughout the 15 practices and scrimmages, and come out of April with a good idea of where the depth chart is at.

“We don’t promise anybody anything except for nice weather and a chance to get a great degree,” Diaz said. “In all seriousness, today is Day 1 in just helmets. What we told all of our guys was that we were going to set our depth charts and make our characterizations on what they can do [based] off what they’ve done in our offseason program. Today we played football. We really didn’t play football, because we didn’t have pads on.

“So we’ll make some assessments out of today, we’ll do the same thing when we come back tomorrow. When we really get to Friday, we’ll see. Like I’ve said all along, we’re not concerned with who’s first and who’s second in March. But we do want to come out of April at least finding out what our guys can do. Then as we go through the summer, we have a chance to put the team in right positions to have our guys do what they’re actually capable of doing.”

Diaz is entering his fourth season with the Canes, but obviously today was the first time he was in charge of the entire operation. Did today feel any different?

“You’re always excited the first day of practice. You finally get to be a football coach. We do a lot of things other than coach football, and today there was a football team out there and we got to coach them. That part was super exciting. The fact of coming in as a head coach, that adds a little more excitement, but I think there’s not a guy on our staff who wasn’t jumping out of bed this morning to get here.”
 

Comments (23)

Diaz talking bout Cancers??? Lol

“They ask them all the time, ‘Do you want to be great?’ Some of our guys will respond to that, and some of our guys, to be honest, they might be in the wrong place.”
 
Diaz talking bout Cancers??? Lol

“They ask them all the time, ‘Do you want to be great?’ Some of our guys will respond to that, and some of our guys, to be honest, they might be in the wrong place.”

99.9999999999% of college teams
 
“Remember when I first talked about how we want an offense that is hard to defend, the same way we want to have a defense that is hard to attack as an offense,” Diaz said. “They’re doing many things that defenses don’t like to see. They’re making defensive football players make decision. When we self-evaluated a year ago, when we were put in that position, we did not always respond very well defensively.( Subtle shot a Richts pedestrian offense)
 
Hope McCloud can get over this hand thing...he's been hurt since he's been here. I don't remember a time that he was totally healthy.
 
Ok, WE READY!

"We don’t promise anybody anything except for nice weather and a chance to get a great degree,” Diaz said. “In all seriousness, today is Day 1"
 
“Remember when I first talked about how we want an offense that is hard to defend, the same way we want to have a defense that is hard to attack as an offense,” Diaz said. “They’re doing many things that defenses don’t like to see. They’re making defensive football players make decision. When we self-evaluated a year ago, when we were put in that position, we did not always respond very well defensively.( Subtle shot a Richts pedestrian offense)

Then that would also be a shot at his own defense. I think he was simply stating what he wants the new O to be rather than focus on what we didn't do last year.
 
Great to hear the HC talk about today, the process of Spring practice, and his thoughts in general. Great as well to hear the coaches really being vocal, correcting kids, and showing them the proper technique to utilize for every single drill, not every 1/3rd. TNM is going to be an infectious energy that will hopefully spill over to 8/24, and the 2019 season.
 
So anybody else worried that with the new IPF that we won't be used to the heat in South Florida? Losing those outside practices hurt in that respect.
 
So anybody else worried that with the new IPF that we won't be used to the heat in South Florida? Losing those outside practices hurt in that respect.

Greentree is being renovated right now. This was always planned. They'll be out there all summer and into fall camp. Nothing to be worried about.
 
So anybody else worried that with the new IPF that we won't be used to the heat in South Florida? Losing those outside practices hurt in that respect.
I'd rather have them practicing inside than not at all because of the rain.
 

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