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Previewing Manny Diaz’s First Opponent as Miami’s Head Coach

Miami kicks-off the 2019 season facing an SEC opponent for the second straight year.

Florida v Miami Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Last season’s opening game against LSU turned out to be an embarrassment for the ‘Canes — getting trounced by the Tigers on national television in Arlington, Texas. This year, however, first-time head coach Manny Diaz and his staff have a chance to instantly restore Miami’s relevance.

The ‘Canes faceoff against the Florida Gators to begin the ‘Manny Diaz Era.’ A bitter and history-rich rivalry — but lacking in recent installments. Since 1986, the teams have only played 8 times. History is on Miami’s side though, winning the last 7 of 8 meetings, and leading the all-time series 29-26. Miami also won the most recent chapter of the rivalry, which took place early in the 2013 season.

Records aside, beating the Gators in 2019’s inaugural game would be a monumental accomplishment for Manny Diaz. ‘Cane fans are expecting great things from the new coaching staff — starting the season off with a win against a major opponent would assure them that the program is truly headed in the right direction.

While Miami’s 2018 season was a ‘disappointment’ to say the least, the Gators posted 10 wins — capping it off with a dominant Peach Bowl victory against the Michigan Wolverines by a score of 41-15.

Miami’s reloaded defense will have to be in great shape in order to hinder the Gators’ offense. Similar to the 2018 Hurricanes, the Gators have had great defenses in recent years, but have been inept on offense. The Gators finally found a way to consistently score in head coach Dan Mullen’s first year — the ‘Canes hope to accomplish a similar feat in 2019.

Ultimately, the Hurricanes have a bevy of questions to answer before their season opener. With an entirely new offensive staff, Miami has great potential that is yet to be proven on the field.