Diaz discusses fallout of UNC loss, home opener, and recruiting

Diaz discusses fallout of UNC loss, home opener, and recruiting

Following Saturday’s 28-25 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels over the weekend, Miami head coach Manny Diaz took to the podium on Monday afternoon to discuss the game in his weekly press conference with the media.

“We’re obviously very disappointed and upset at the result on Saturday,” Diaz said. “But after reviewing the film and being with our team yesterday, we think it is possible to be angry and optimistic at the same time. We’re certainly angry, again, at the result and the things that we did that led to the result, but from what we see in our performance, there are a lot of reasons to still be optimistic - not just optimistic in terms of what’s available for us this season, but also optimistic for what we think, where this program is going beyond.”

Despite the loss to UNC, Diaz felt that the Hurricanes were the better team and simply let one slip away.

“Part of the credit goes to them, which is to be expected – that’s probably the best atmosphere they’ve had in Kenan Stadium in who knows how long. You have to give them some credit,” Diaz said. “However, after we got it righted, I thought we were by far the better team and, at times, bordering on dominant. Our issue was that our dominance – especially at the line of scrimmage on both sides, our ability to run the football, and our ability to shut their running game, which we had a lot of respect for – was not being shown on the scoreboard because of either issues in terms of red zone offense or kicking game.

“As we were the better team, it’s almost like an NBA game, where teams went on runs. They went on their run, and when we went on our run, we don’t feel like we got the separation on the scoreboard that really the play dictated.”

With the clock about to run out late in the 4th quarter, the Canes had one last chance to tie the game, but Bubba Baxa missed a 49-yard FG attempt wide left. It was Baxa’s second miss of the game in which he also had an extra point blocked.

“That’s certainly not why we lost the game,” Diaz said of the missed final kick. “Bubba is our kicker. We have great faith in him. We know he is as talented as anybody out there. We see it every day in practice. Bubba can’t let one miss turn into two misses. If you think even back to the Florida game, the first drive of the game, he made a field goal that we had to retake because of a delay of game [penalty]. That’s hard on a guy. He made it again. He made another one again. But then we had a miss, one thing begets the other.

“We had issues in field goal protection. The first short kick was actually deflected at the line of scrimmage. It was low, however. Then the same thing with the [missed extra point]. On the PAT, we had a breach of protection, however the kick was also low. Those are things that we can work on this week. But we have to support Bubba. He’s our guy and we do believe in him.”

Diaz was also questioned about ending the game holding onto 2 timeouts in his back pocket, as it seemed the offense was instead rushed and burning time on the final possession in which UM took control with just over a minute left in the game.

“Having the timeouts on the last set of downs is exactly what we wanted,” Diaz said. “We were able to get out of bounds on the plays that were getting us down the field. That last sequence we had first and 10 at the 31, we used one timeout on that sequence. Second down play tackled in bounds, you can call timeout - let’s say on second down we get (some yards), call timeout, then have an opportunity to get the ball to the middle of the field and call timeout. To me, all the data, science, is saying the more you can save your timeouts (the better).”

Midway through the third quarter down 4, Diaz went for it on 4th and 1 from the UNC 19-yard line. The Canes were unable to convert, and missed an opportunity to get 3 points. As UM ended up losing by 3 points, Diaz was asked what went into this decision.

“I’m big into data. And the Money Ball effect has filtered into football as well. People have run every fourth down in the history of whenever from every yard line and have a formula. I equate it to playing Blackjack. There are certain hands the play is the play is the play. … I thought the play call we had on that was (good). We want to be a team that’s aggressive. Dan Enos called a fantastic play, the guy swipes Jarren (Williams’) leg. He doesn’t hit his knee, he has a chance.”

Will Diaz continue go for it in that type of situation?

“It depends on score, time of game, the opponent,” Diaz said. “I can’t say `You didn’t go for it the next time.’ But what I knew at that part of the game is we were dominant. We had a third down before, felt if we got closer it would be a go on fourth down. … I did not want to (settle for) a field goal. How often does a college kicker hit a 37-yard field goal? All of that goes into the science of it.”

The Miami defense gave up multiple big plays in the secondary to the Tar Heels, and surrendered a 4th and 17 on UNC’s game-winning drive. However, Diaz stressed he has complete confidence in DC Blake Baker as a play-caller and hasn’t thought about resuming those duties at all.

“Blake Baker is our play-caller. He’s our defensive coordinator,” Diaz said. “I’m involved in all the game-planning meetings, all the meetings, watching practice every day. I can’t have a better defensive staff than Blake, Ephraim Banda, Jonathan Patke, Mike Rumph, Todd Stroud – these are all individuals who know the ins and outs of defense. We all know exactly how everything works. We know the fixes when something doesn’t go right.”

Has the switch in play-caller from Diaz to Baker had an impact on the team at all?

“It certainly has not had an effect on our play. We probably miss Jaquan Johnson as much as they miss me running around on that field, and Sheldrick Redwine, and those type guys,” Diaz said.

While Miami was among the nation’s leaders in havoc stats (TFL and sacks) a year ago, the Canes have been somewhat lacking in that department so far compared to 2018. UM is 23rd in the country in TFL (16) and 51st in the country in sacks (5), but Diaz isn’t worried about the D-Line play.

“To me, Jon Garvin and Scott Patchan have been very constructive, Greg Rousseau will play, is flashing every single time,” Diaz said. “Our pass defense has taken a step back from a year ago, some of that is to be expected, but I don’t think that’s indicative of the pass rush.”

After the slow start to the season, how will Diaz and the team handle the outside pressure coming from the fanbase, alumni, and media?

“The change is going to come from the inside out, we can’t stick our head out the window and wonder what everyone thinks about us,” Diaz said. “What we think is the most important thing. When you look at a game like this you have to look at the total performance.

“What about this gives us reason for optimism? What do we like, what do we not like? There are so many opportunities, plays that one thing goes another way you win the game… You’re labeled with a record, it is what it is. That doesn’t absolve us from being a team that has to get better week in and week out, and that’s what our goal is… There’s a lot of optimism in what this team can achieve this season and beyond.”

Speaking of beyond, next up on the schedule for Miami will be the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats for UM’s home opener this weekend.

“We’re very excited to come home. I think that’s just what this team needs at this time,” Diaz said. “We need to get back into familiar surroundings, get in our stadium and get around our fans and get ourselves going. I think the season, the way that our schedule breaks, that we have that exact opportunity do that. Like I mentioned, I think this team’s goals are all still ahead of it.

“We have probably gone into the two most difficult environments we will play in all year. And the way those guys have performed and the improvement [from] our freshmen who played from Week 1 to Week 2 was really extraordinary. Now it will be nice to get back home, where we’re not the ones facing adversity all the time and to put out a performance that gets everybody excited about Hurricanes Football.”

The Canes are 4-0 all-time against the Wildcats, with their last meeting resulting in a 41-13 Miami victory at Hard Rock Stadium back in 2017.

“We were watching Bethune-Cookman film today from our game in 2017, where I thought we played very poorly on defense that day,” Diaz said. “I’m watching sophomore Shaquille Quarterman not being able to get their running back on the ground. I’m watching Jaquan Johnson and younger guys like Mike Jack [Michael Jackson] struggle to cover their players, and those guys moving the ball down the field on us, because we had some sophomores in some important positions.

“That’s all part of the growth and development. That’s what creates the excitement of college football, is that your roster is always turning over, and guys have to step up and got to be ready to replace some really important guys that left your team.”

Diaz also had an interesting comment in regards to recruiting, saying the program has put new protocols in place in an effort to lock in their commitments.

“There are some things we are changing in what we’ll do to take a commitment,” Diaz said. “Not all those things are grandfathered, but what it means to be committed and a certain criteria for that to happen. There’s a criteria for what happens when you are committed that has never been in place in the past. Our recruits are aware of that now, I don’t want to get into the details. But from the inside out, if we don’t put value in something, it’s just sales.

“Before you value it, I have to value it. The way we look at ourselves, current players look at ourselves, it has to come from inside this building. The next step is from our fan base and community. Part of that is not tolerating people not respecting the University of Miami, the hometown team. That’s personal to me, my staff, our players. The University of Miami is going to get back to where it needs to get back to with players that love the University of Miami.”

TemplarCane

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HurricaneHauk

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"I can’t have a better defensive staff than Blake, Ephraim Banda, Jonathan Patke, Mike Rumph, Todd Stroud – these are all individuals who know the ins and outs of defense. We all know exactly how everything works. We know the fixes when something doesn’t go right.”

I hope to God this is coach talk, well I assume it is because he was going to keep Simpson over Stroud. Patke can stay since DDS said he at least knows his ****, Banda can do look for Pandas or be the team Bartender
 

FrancisSaywer

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"I can’t have a better defensive staff than Blake, Ephraim Banda, Jonathan Patke, Mike Rumph, Todd Stroud – these are all individuals who know the ins and outs of defense. We all know exactly how everything works. We know the fixes when something doesn’t go right.”

I hope to God this is coach talk, well I assume it is because he was going to keep Simpson over Stroud. Patke can stay since DDS said he at least knows his ****, Banda can do look for Pandas or be the team Bartender
I can’t have a better defensive staff than Blake, Ephraim Banda, Jonathan Patke, Mike Rumph, Todd Stroud – these are all individuals who know the ins and outs of defense. We all know exactly how everything works. We know the fixes when something doesn’t go right.”

This is the very root of the problem. Collectively that defensive staff is mediocre on it's best day. I truly wonder if Diaz really thinks that the current defensive staff is going to cut it. You have to think that even if he did believe this at some point that he is beginning to realize that he was mistaken. I've said it before and I will keep repeating it. This is the type of judgement error that 1st time head coaches usually make. They don't put enough value on surrounding themselves with the best staff possible. Diaz should have gutted most of the defensive staff as well. He needed a veteran proven DC as well as experienced position coaches and elite recruiters. Handing Patke the keys to Special Teams was also a colossal error in judgement. I only needed two games to see that Baker is hot garbage. Let's hope that I reached that conclusion prematurely.
 

TimeB0mb

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‘I can’t afford a better defensive staff than Blake, Ephraim Banda, Jonathan Patke, Mike Rumph, Todd Stroud...’

Fixed.
According to the offseason rumors when Richt was still the HC, the BOT had allocated up to 1 million for a OC (might have been 1.5 mil, I don't remember the exact amount). Diaz, amazingly, only makes about 900,000 per year less than Richt did. Yes, you read right- Miami gave first time HC Manny Diaz 3.2 million, as compared to 17 yr experience, 2x SEC winner Mark Richt's 4.1 million (oh, and Miami bought out Diaz's Temple contract too. Blake James has a gift for business).

Anyways, Diaz had PLENTY of money to hire a highly qualified staff. He was not limited by funds when choosing his staff, he picked the guys he wanted. IMO, Richt's biggest flaw was that he was awful at staff selection. Richt's coaching tree is a stick- it's a sad fact that no one who worked for him over nearly two decades ever went on to any success. Initial impression is that Diaz has the same problem of identifying coaching talent.
 

Twhizman

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Sounds like Golden. Yikes.
Difference is with golden both games wouldve been over for us after the 3rd qtr.nc game reminds of the pennst game in 86 we had better stats just lost the game.hopefully this step back is growing pains for a first yr hc and staff.
 

UMovement

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Got a lot of folks out here talking about we been lied to but Manny never lied. He tried to tell you all along that we have a lot of work to do but folks put out all these hyped up narratives. All Manny should be held accountable for is making this team as good or better than it was last year. He’s a first year, first time Head Coach.

This board will look completely different come November.
 

Mnhurricane

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"I can’t have a better defensive staff than Blake, Ephraim Banda, Jonathan Patke, Mike Rumph, Todd Stroud – these are all individuals who know the ins and outs of defense. We all know exactly how everything works. We know the fixes when something doesn’t go right.”

I hope to God this is coach talk, well I assume it is because he was going to keep Simpson over Stroud. Patke can stay since DDS said he at least knows his ****, Banda can do look for Pandas or be the team Bartender
If not coach talk then we have already seen how this ends. Stubbornly and ugly just like fat Al
 

prinmemo

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The drop in pass D doesn’t have anything to do with the lack of a pass rush? GTFO man that’s a ridiculous statement. Just admit the pass rush isn’t there and you will game plan to change that
Why would he admit that? So our next opponents know exactly what adjustments we plan to make?

Genius!!!!
 

prinmemo

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According to the offseason rumors when Richt was still the HC, the BOT had allocated up to 1 million for a OC (might have been 1.5 mil, I don't remember the exact amount). Diaz, amazingly, only makes about 900,000 per year less than Richt did. Yes, you read right- Miami gave first time HC Manny Diaz 3.2 million, as compared to 17 yr experience, 2x SEC winner Mark Richt's 4.1 million (oh, and Miami bought out Diaz's Temple contract too. Blake James has a gift for business).

Anyways, Diaz had PLENTY of money to hire a highly qualified staff. He was not limited by funds when choosing his staff, he picked the guys he wanted. IMO, Richt's biggest flaw was that he was awful at staff selection. Richt's coaching tree is a stick- it's a sad fact that no one who worked for him over nearly two decades ever went on to any success. Initial impression is that Diaz has the same problem of identifying coaching talent.
You jump to this conclusion about Manny after two games?

All of you that give up this quickly must be total losers. Nothing special in life is easy. You will always face adversity, no matter how talented or good you are. The question is how tenacious you are and how willing are you to make adjustments to be successful. This is true in life in business, school, personal relationships, etc.
 

NVA CANE

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You can’t blame everything on the defensive staff for the defensive failures. There’s a natural drop off when you lose veterans like Jaquan, redwine, Mike Jackson, Willis, Jackson. Those guys were our best defenders and most experienced.

That being said, as coaches they have to find a way to solidify the defense. I hope to see improvement as the year progresses.

Lastly, the defensive staff is virtually the same as last year and the prior two years. Not sure why people are complaining about their coaching acumen now when they weren’t before. They definitely leave a lot to be desired on the recruiting trail that’s for sure, but in terms of Xs and Os and coaching them up let’s see how the defense performs as the season wears on.
 

Fightinibis

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"I can’t have a better defensive staff than Blake, Ephraim Banda, Jonathan Patke, Mike Rumph, Todd Stroud – these are all individuals who know the ins and outs of defense. We all know exactly how everything works. We know the fixes when something doesn’t go right.”

I hope to God this is coach talk, well I assume it is because he was going to keep Simpson over Stroud. Patke can stay since DDS said he at least knows his ****, Banda can do look for Pandas or be the team Bartender
It is. No different than how the 4th and 17 issue was never really addressed either. That was sooo bad, what could he say except to dive into the faith he has in his DC. Hell, the scary thought is that he might have signed off on that ridiculous set.
 

CFDan

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You jump to this conclusion about Manny after two games?

All of you that give up this quickly must be total losers. Nothing special in life is easy. You will always face adversity, no matter how talented or good you are. The question is how tenacious you are and how willing are you to make adjustments to be successful. This is true in life in business, school, personal relationships, etc.

i haven't been on this board long. it's absolutely obvious how many quitters and half assed mental midgets post on this thing
 

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