A week ago, the Miami Hurricanes officially ended their 2018 season by getting annihilated by Wisconsin 35-3 in the Pinstripe Bowl, and securing an extremely disappointing 7-6 year.
Flip the script one week later and today, it is quite a different feeling in Coral Gables. Canes fans are excited, hopeful and energetic, all because of the hire of Manny Diaz as the new head coach.
Something needed to happen with Mark Richt, we were all very aware of that. Though none of us thought that it would result in the retiring of Richt, and believed the immediate changes would come from the hiring of a new offensive coordinator. However, the sudden resurgence of hopefulness from the fan base just confirms that this was the right thing to do.
Changing the culture is something that Diaz was able to do at Miami when he took over as defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes back in 2016. From creating the turnover-chain to also turning the Canes defense into an elite force, Diaz will now look to do with that with the entire team.
@Coach_MannyDiaz press conference got me feeling like...— Ephraim Banda (@CoachBanda) January 2, 2019
Future Canes and those who love this place hit play and get yourself JUICED UP to attack 2019‼️https://t.co/kTE4UfZvdh pic.twitter.com/5uqERawp2o
Since being named as the new Miami head coach, Diaz has wasted little time getting to work, and has implemented a very important characteristic that was being ignored in 2018 under Richt; accountability.
This past season, Richt failed to make obvious coaching changes, and whether or not he was going to make those in the off-season, the lack of holding those coaches and players accountable dwindled fans hope in the future of the Canes.
Diaz on the other hand, coming in like Ari Gold in an episode of Entourage, made the necessary changes, and made them fast, letting go the entire offensive coaching staff as well as other coaches.
As a VT grad, UM hiring Manny Diaz scares me. Especially with him immediately replacing offensive staff.— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) January 1, 2019
That’s the best compliment I can give him as a division rival.
So one thing has been made certain, that Diaz recognized the glaring issues from this past season, removed them, and in-so the Hurricanes are moving on.
Midnight came an hour early in London. https://t.co/0sEvQdqHFf— Michael Ryan Ruiz (@MichaelRyanRuiz) December 31, 2018
In addition, Diaz said at his press conference that in regards to what type of offense he’ll look for in hiring an offensive coordinator, that he wants to be “cutting edge” on that side of the ball. When you put that up against Richt, who said he still uses plays from the 1980’s, how could you not be excited about the Diaz-era?
Manny Diaz: "The word 'spread' has been dragged around it's so spread out, as a defensive coordinator I don't know what spread means anymore...The word I want to be is 'cutting edge'. The word I want to be is 'modern.'"— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) January 2, 2019
Whether it was during his interview with the College Gameday crew on Tuesday, or his first press conference on Wednesday, it’s clear that Diaz’s attitude towards to the state of the program, and what he wants to see out of his players, is something that has been lacking for the past several months.
The vision that Diaz has been able to capture has been passed down to not just fans, but players as well. For instance, linebacker Shaq Quarterman, who many thought would be departing one year early for the NFL, has decided to stay his senior season, as well as fellow linebacker Michael Pinckney.
One more round. I’m all in! pic.twitter.com/EbUzU7PJ4V— ShaqTheGr8️⃣ (@OgBoobie_Shaq) January 1, 2019
Now, changing the culture fully will depend on how Diaz and Miami finishes this recruiting cycle, and even more importantly in less than 250 days when the 2019 season kicks off. The Hurricanes may enter next year not even ranked, and the revenge tour will be on full-blast as Miami will look once again to be one of the top teams not just in the ACC but in the country.
But if the future feels anything like the last several days have, it looks pretty good. Let’s just kickoff against the Gators already.