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The new identity of Miami

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What to expect this season.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Miami
Nov 11, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive back Trajan Bandy (2) runs into the end zone to score a touchdown after intercepting a pass from Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

“The New Miami”

December 27th, 2018, the Hurricanes had a familiar matchup vs the Wisconsin Badgers in the Pinstripe Bowl. A team that consisted of one of the top offensive lines in the nation paired with a top running back, Jonathan Taylor, who had 27 carries for 207 yards and a touchdown (7.6 YPC). As a team, Miami couldn’t get anything done at any positional group and it resulted in a disastrous 35-3 loss. The University of Miami was in trouble for the future if changes weren’t made within the staff.

At the end of the 2018 college football season, the main focus was finding a new play caller on offense and a way to replace Manny Diaz after his departure to Temple. On December 30th, Mark Richt stunned the university and decided to make a decision that most wanted, but didn’t expect. When he stepped down as head coach at the University of Miami, there were many different ways Miami could have approached the search for a new leader. It seemed as though only one hire would have felt right at “Home.”

When Coach Manny Diaz was announced the next head coach at the University of Miami, you can tell it was something he always wanted, but figured his time was later down the line. With his new position at The U, he now has to oversee more, but still manage the same end result, dominate and play with intensity on and off the field.

Coaches under the scope

Head Coach: Manny Diaz

NCAA Football: Miami Spring Game
Manny Diaz after his first complete spring as the Miami Hurricanes Head Coach
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

During his tenure as the Hurricane’s defensive coordinator (2016-2018) he was known for his aggressive, fast paced and mentally–tough defense, that at times played like a top unit in the nation. Now as a head coach, he must make sure that those things are implemented throughout the entire team. He is aware that there needs to be plenty of changes for this program, starting in the weight room. During the first couple months of being the head coach, he has already changed the identity of the program, creating the ‘#TNM’ phrase to set a new standard. There has been much needed changes in the coaching staff and the strength and conditioning, which will put players in position to make plays at the highest level.

Heading into the new season, Coach Diaz has stepped down from calling plays and hired a former colleague from his time at both Texas and Louisiana Tech. This allows Manny to focus on the entire team and see the growth in each player as opposed to him coaching one side of the ball.

Offensive Coordinator : Dan Enos

NCAA Football: The Citadel at Alabama
Dan Enos coaching Tua Tagovailoa, 2018.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 Miami Hurricanes offense is primed to be an explosive and fast paced style of play, which will feature motions and all sorts of formations to counter both zone and man defensive coverages. Whether it’s Williams, Perry, or Martell, Enos’ offense does an amazing job of utilizing a quarterback’s strengths. While at Arkansas, with limited talent compared to Miami, he created an offense that was hard-nosed and played physical football through mismatches. At Alabama, having coached both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, he was able to instill the importance of competition and what it can do for each player. During Enos’ time coaching the duo, he was able to help the Crimson Tide have one of their best season, as well as molding Tua into his star pupil.

One of the most satisfying feelings heading into summer is knowing that the ’Canes will have a creative offense that will let our players develop. During the spring game in Orlando, the players in the starting positions showed they can make plays when given the opportunity. When Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry were in the game they ran an offense utilizing their arm talent, both were able to make some good plays, but not with the consistency you’d expect to lead a team to a 10-win season. When Tate Martell was lined up in shotgun formation, you could really see him being a much more comfortable player who is uncertain with the ball in his hands. Martell was able to escape the pocket with his legs and showed glimpses of why he was a prized recruit at Ohio State. Although, Perry is the only one with true experience, he and the others still have much more work to be done. It is an exciting time for the Hurricanes to actually have competition at QB.

The skill positions on this team are explosive, but of course need to show consistency. Having Jeff Thomas, K.J. Osborn, Brian Hightower, and Mark Pope setting an example for the rest of UM’s receiving group will be important throughout the season. Our tight ends are something to be excited about. Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory are going to be a two–headed monster, with both have ceilings higher than any other tight end in Coach Enos’ career. The O-line has a new coach in Butch Barry who has NFL coaching experience. This is a pure upgrade from last year, and the unit must be able to dominate games and help the offense move the ball.

Defensive Coordinator : Blake Baker

Miami v Virginia Tech
Shaquille Quarterman after the turnover
Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Coming from La. Tech, having coached the NCAA’s career sack leader (DE Jaylon Ferguson) last season and having already worked with Coach Diaz, the hire of Coach Baker seems like a real good choice to lead this unit. The defense is still led by the linebacker duo of Michael Pickney and Shaquille Quarterman, lined up with either Zach McCloud/Romeo Finley by their side to set the edge for one of the toughest defenses in the nation. They should have their most productive season this year.

The front four will likely be Jonathan Garvin, Nesta Silvera, Jonathan Ford, and Trevon Hill which will impose an explosive line with a nasty play style. The addition of Hill provides us an edge rusher that has proven to be very skilled at pressuring the quarterback. Paring him with junior DE Jon Garvin, who has already made a name for himself, Miami will have a formidable defenders coming off the edge.

The secondary will be interesting, which will showcase three new starters. The expectation of Gurvan Hall this year is to have an impact on the defense, given his skill to track the ball and drop his pad level in the box. Coming out of high school he was heavily recruited by Miami and Alabama along with other top programs. The other safety position includes a battle between Amari Carter and USC transfer Bubba Bolden (6’3”, 200 lbs). Bubba was a top recruit at his position at Bishop Gorman High School (LV) and was labeled as a safety who has amazing size and speed.

At corner the Hurricanes have their leader of the secondary, Trajan Bandy, who is embodies “Making the Crib Great Again”. For the last two years, Bandy has played with heart for the name on the front and back of his jersey. Now he must help mentor Al Blades Jr. and DJ Ivey. The rising sophomores are developing at a position of need this year and will need to step up starting in summer to make name for themselves if the goal is to win August 24th.

In 94 days, Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes will run out of the tunnel versus the Florida Gators in a huge in–state rivalary that could determine the season for both teams. The ’Canes cannot take a usual approach to games and start slow offensively, similar to last year’s season opener against LSU. I expect the starters for the ’Canes will feature the best players that can win us games and play with swagger. This season the ’Canes have the ability to run through the schedule to show dominance in the coastal division and in the state of Florida. The ultimate goal is to go head-to-head with the likes of Clemson and start being mentioned as a national threat.

North Carolina v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images