Manny Diaz is in a very precarious position when it comes to rebuilding the Miami Hurricanes to the football program he wants them to be. How much leniency should be allowed to the players on the team and how much time should he give his coaching staff to get it right? 6-6 at a school like Miami is unacceptable especially playing against a very weak schedule in 2019. Losses to FIU, Duke and Georgia Tech would’ve gotten a seasoned coach fired immediately, but with this being Coach Diaz’s first year, he will be given additional time. There are multiple warning signs that he needs to fix now, or he will suffer the same fate as Randy Shannon, Al Golden and Mark Richt.
Players Can’t Run the Team
Manny must implement a no tolerance policy when it comes to player behavior, or lack thereof, for the Canes. Too many times in the last calendar year players have threatened to leave the program, taken a leave from the program or missed practice, only to be allowed to come back at their leisure and play again. Miami was 6-6….let me put that in bold letters so it hits home….Miami was 6-6…so no player is good enough to beg to stay on this team.
Jeff Thomas is a super talented individual, but the second Manny allowed him to come back to the team he set a bad precedent. I have no problem giving kids second or 3rd chances, but when you threaten to leave, put your name in the transfer portal and choose another school, then it’s time to cut bait and move on.
Yesterday it came out that Cleveland Reed was going to withdraw his name from the transfer portal. I ask why? Did he not get any offers from other schools? Did he see how awful Miami was on the offensive line and now think that he can win a job? Either way where was his fight a month ago when the Canes could’ve continue to help him grow and maybe he could’ve earned a job by years end.
Tate Martell is another example. I’m not sure why Martell has taken multiple “leaves of absence” from the team, but it’s a bad look. If Martell has a valid reason from missing games and practices, then I will back off of my stance, but if he is missing time just for lack of playing time, then Miami needs to move on. His story has become a sideshow distraction that isn’t needed from your 3rd string QB.
Miami needs to stop being the fall back plan for kids either in recruiting or on their own team. Miami needs to let kids know, the second you enter the transfer portal, you are no longer on the team and you will not be welcomed back. Make kids accountable for their decisions, and you will have a locker room united. If Manny continues to allow this fall back mentality then you will have a locker room that shows minimal fight when they are in tough games, because the lesson being taught currently is it’s acceptable to quit and Miami will bring you back. That is a losing mentality!
Can’t Be Friends
We have seen all of the dreadful numbers that Miami’s offense produced in 2019, and there have been many articles imploring Manny Diaz to make changes. Manny cannot fall into the trap that Al Golden did while he was in Miami, and that is to keep guys on his staff because of friendship or loyalty. If a coach is not producing, then they need to find a replacement that can produce. Dan Enos doesn’t look like the right fit schematically or culturally to succeed in Miami. Manny needs to pull the plug now, and not wait for this to spiral down any worse than it already has. There is no reason for the Canes to be a bottom 40 offense in college football.
Todd Orlando was recently fired by Tom Herman and he had been on Herman’s staff for a long time. Herman realized in year 3 that in order to save his own job he needed to sacrifice his friend. Manny needs to take notes and do the exact same thing, or 2020 becomes a very tough year for Coach Diaz. If he sticks with this staff, it will be a hard sell for fans to want to come to games, and if he does and the team doesn’t drastically improve then he could be the one that is let go. Jimmy Johnson fired the entire staff after his 1st year in Miami, and Manny fired all of Mark Richt’s offensive staff when he got the job, so the same can be done this off-season.
Drastic times call for drastic measures and it is a drastic time in Coral Gables. The program is at rock bottom and needs to climb back out sooner rather than later. Manny Diaz needs to take the bull by the horns and make some tough decisions.