The Hurricanes’ defense was light years ahead of the offense in 2018 in terms of efficiency — the ‘Canes look to close that gap before their season opener against Florida.
While implementing a completely new system never goes completely smoothly, Diaz was brutally honest with the offense’s performance. To put it bluntly, Diaz’s comments are unsettling, especially due to the difficulty of their first opponent of the year.
“It was uneven, to be honest,” Diaz stated following Miami’s second scrimmage. “The first half, it was a massive butt-whooping. The defense just got after the offense. Very disappointing in the way that you started to see the ‘far away’ look in some guys on the offense, things we’re trying to eradicate from our program. We had a feeling the disease wasn’t fully cured. That being said, second half, the offense rallied. Where in the past, when things have not gone well, there would sort of be a tanking for the game. I saw a couple productive touchdown drives in the second half and guys showing some competitive fight and spirit, which is really what this camp and this offseason has all been about. That’ll be encouraging. But the self-inflicted wounds in the first half, not to mention, sometime you just take a beating – will be disappointing. It’s a good reality check. Conversely, defensively, to play as well as they played in the first half, and to sort of lose their edge in the second half, was disappointing. It’s like what we figured. We have not solved all of our issues. We are solving them. But to think we just snap our fingers and have it all fixed would be fooling ourselves.”
The improvements in the second half sound encouraging, but the offense must be tighter, and less ‘streaky’ if they want to start the 2019 season on a high note. Frankly, the ‘self-inflicted wounds,’ and the ‘disease’ Diaz mentioned sounds eerily reminiscent of last season.
On a brighter note, Jarren Williams was named starting quarterback on Monday. Williams, who was rumored to be transferring from the program after the conclusion of the 2018 season, has apparently developed wonderfully and gives the ‘Canes the best chance to win according to the coaching staff.
Ultimately, it seems that Miami still has a championship-caliber defense, but an offense that is trying to catch up. The new staff and system should give them a much higher ceiling compared to former head coach Mark Richt’s outdated playbook, but they need to be firing on all cylinders in order to defeat the Gators. Here’s hoping that they work out the kinks before they take the field in Orlando.