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Marsh’s Mailbag: Manny Diaz Weakness As HC, Who’s Miami’s Third Receiver, And More Predictions.

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Miami starts fall camp next Friday, so who’s going to start at defensive tackle? Which transfer will make the biggest impact? Those questions and more!

Miami Spring Game Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Is Zach McCloud the backup for Michael Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman?

Yes, I'd say McCloud is that next guy after Pinckney and Quarterman, and honestly it’s been that way for awhile. Zach has that experience that makes you feel very comfortable when he's in the ballgame. McCloud is a player who I think is going to improve in 2019, and finish off his Miami career strong. You can also throw Romeo Finley in there, but he’ll be used more as a striker.

Does Jarren Williams end up transferring if he isn’t picked as the starting quarterback?

You never, ever, want to see a Miami Hurricane transfer from this great program, but that’s just how things happen nowadays. All the QB’s that Miami has at the moment are talented enough that they can go to most schools in the country and start. Jarren is an incredibly talented quarterback, and if he’s named the starter for the Canes, I'll be thrilled. If he isn’t, then I wouldn't be shocked if he leaves.

Who will lead Miami in sacks and TFLs?

I have the same answer for both questions, and its junior defensive end Jonathan Garvin. 5.5 sacks and 17.0 TFLs in 2018, Garvin is one of the best players Miami has on its team. I’ve made predictions that Garvin will reach 10 sacks this year, and I'm expecting his tackles for loss to be high again as well.

Who’s the third receiver after Jeff Thomas and K.J. Osborn?

I think the Hurricanes have one of the deepest receiver rooms that they’ve had in a very long time, and though I've wrestled on this particular question, I believe sophomore Mark Pope is going to be that third WR for Miami. I’ve been critical on Pope for a while, but he’s just too talented not to become a star, and 2019 we’re going to see him become a big part of this offense. Also expect Brian Hightower to breakout as well.

What, in your opinion, is Manny Diaz’s biggest weakness as an HC?

Well coach Diaz has a 0-0 record as HC, so I don’t necessarily know exactly what his weakness is at this point. From what we’ve seen so far since December 30th when he was hired, there haven’t been too many things where you can point out as a weakness. As a coordinator, I know a big knock on him was that he couldn't close as a recruiter, so hopefully he’s able to change that here in the next few months.

Prediction for points per game on offense/points allowed on defense?

With adding Dan Enos as the offensive coordinator, I really do believe, as do most people, that we’re in for a special season with the Hurricanes offense. When you look at the talent that Miami has on that side of the ball, I’m setting the number of points per game at 30, at least.

On defense, that same level of domination they held last year is going to carry into 2019 in my opinion. I’d be very surprised if the Canes defense gives up 20 points a game or more throughout the season, they’re that good.

What’s going to be our overall record, and which bowl game do you see us going to?

I’ve been asked this question so many times over the past few weeks that it’s starting to linger in my head continually. Right now, I'm predicting that the Hurricanes finish the 2019 season with a 10-4 record, that’s including the ACC Championship game and whatever bowl Miami goes to. As far as what bowl they go to, who knows. Would be awesome to see the Canes in the Orange Bowl just like 2017, and I think it could happen.

Which transfer do you think has the biggest immediate impact for the Canes?

Well, depending on if he’s picked to start, obviously I think Tate Martell can have the most immediate impact for Miami, and provide them with the quarterback play they’ve been lacking over the course of several years. Besides Martell, I really believe that receiver K.J. Osborn from Buffalo is going to have a breakout season for the Hurricanes, and be a reliable target for the quarterback. Ever since he transferred to Miami, we’ve just heard great things about Osborn, and seems to be one of the hardest workers UM has this year.

Which player is going to be the biggest surprise in 2019?

I don't know if Miami has players that are totally going to shock us, but Gurvan Hall at safety I think is going to exceed expectations. He had a great spring practice, and safeties coach Ephraim Banda said that Hall is one of the best players he’s ever coached, so that’s always a plus.

Who are going to the starting offensive lineman?

This is definitely the biggest concern for Miami heading into the 2019 season, though I think the offensive line will be better than people think. I say Zion Nelson at LT, DJ Scaife at LG, Navaughn Donaldson at center, Corey Gaynor at RG and Kai-Leon Herbert at RT. Speaking to Phil Steele this past weekend, Herbert was one of the players that jumped out to Steele when he visited Miami in the spring, which gives me a lot of confidence.

Who will be the starters at defensive tackle?

Losing Gerald Willis III at DT will definitely hurt Miami, but their depth at this position is really something. Obviously, the biggest name at defensive tackle that people are looking forward to watching is sophomore Nesta Jade Silvera, and he’s expected to have a big 2019. I say that the starters will be Silvera and Jonathan Ford, who Coach Diaz has been especially high on since spring practice. They will also have players like Pat Bethel and Chigozie Nnoruka at DT, so I'm very excited to see this unit perform in 2019.