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Be Patient. Good Things Are Ahead For Manny Diaz And The Canes

Manny Diaz has a vision for Miami, but patience will be key

Central Michigan v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

You are more than welcome to be upset after the Hurricanes mere 17-12 win over Central Michigan last Saturday. Heck, I was probably more upset than anyone, realizing how poorly we played and knowing that the Canes regressed in many ways.

That being said, Miami fans, myself included, need to take a step back and remember that this rebuild is going to take time. There’s simply no getting around it, that’s how these things work in sports. Weeks, months, there’s a larger vision to be seen than just September 21st against the Chippewas.

When Manny Diaz took the head coaching job back on December 30th of 2018, this once storied program had just finished one of the more embarrassing seasons in school history. While you see five national championship trophies on the Miami campus, something larger to be seen is the 117-77 record since joining the ACC in 2004.

So when Manny created the #TNM movement, we need to realize that he wasn’t just referring to August 24th against the Gators, or even through the first four games of the season.

I know that some of you are probably so sick and tired of this example because I've used it several times, but always remember Nick Saban and his first season at Alabama.

In the seven years prior to Saban’s arrival to Tuscaloosa in 2007, Bama had gone 46-40 since 2000 under three different head coaches. Then in Nick’s first season as head coach, they went 7-6, losing to teams like unranked Mississippi State as well as Louisiana-Monroe at home, and you can guarantee there were Bama fans pleading for the end of Saban already.

Then in the offseason, Saban started recruiting kids that fit his mold, that bought into his system, a prime example being Julio Jones, players that change programs. Though the change didn’t happen overnight, Saban, similar to Diaz at Miami right now, still had players who weren’t totally sold on the change happening. Accountability was implanted by Saban into the Alabama players.

Day by day however, that attitude slowly started to change, and with that change came wins, and lots of them. In 2009, the Tide went 12-2 and obviously haven’t looked back.

Dabo Swinney at Clemson is another great story when it comes to rebuilding a program. His first full year as head coach in 2009, the Tigers began the year 2-3 and plenty were already calling for his job. Instead, Clemson won seven of their last nine games to finish the season 9-4.

Unlike Saban however, Dabo’s second year didn’t result in a near national championship run. That 2010 season, the Tigers stumbled to a 6-7 mark, losing four conference games, as well as being blown out at home to rival South Carolina.

Following that season, Swinney brought in a new offensive coordinator, landed a program changing player like Sammy Watkins, but also snagged three-star Adam Humphries.

Dabo started to recruit his guys for his Clemson, and in 2011 the Tigers went 10-4 and haven’t had a season under double-digit losses since.

And I think there are a few players in the 2020 recruiting class for Miami that can be program changing, such as Willie Moise and Don Chaney Jr. You also have “Manny” guys like Xavier Restrepo, Marcus Clarke or Corey Flagg, three-star recruits who are unselfish and will make the Canes better just with their attitudes.

Even the greatest Miami coaches haven’t had spectacular first seasons. Howard Schnellenberger was 5-6 in 1979 and Jimmy Johnson was 8-5 in 1984. The great Butch Davis, who rebuilt UM back into a national power, started 1-3 in 1995.

People like to throw around the turnaround that Davis had in Miami, but he also took over a team that had played for a championship the year prior in 1994. Johnson’s Hurricanes in 1984 had actually won the title in 1983. Like I said before, Manny is taking over a program that has won 10 games in a season only once since 2004.

Now I can’t be this optimistic and not point out the obvious flaws about this current Hurricanes team. Dan Enos obviously has to make adjustments to fix several areas of the offense. Blake Baker is beginning to learn that the Hurricanes defense is at their best when they blitz.

And perhaps the most frustrating part is that there are still players on this roster that don’t have the same enthusiasm and competitive spirit that they did prior to the Gators game. Saban went through the same thing, and obviously his rebuild of Alabama didn’t take long at all, the point is, is that anything worth it like a national championship takes time.

But here’s the thing about Manny, he has a plan and a clear vision of what he wants Miami to look like as a team. He said it himself following the UF loss, “this program wasn’t just built for August 24th.”

There’s a reason why former players, not just fans, were hyping up coach Diaz in the offseason, pointing out that there’s a different feel to the team. Regular fans (no offense) are quick to point out hype at the drop of the hat, but when Calais Campbell praises Diaz, that gives much more hope.

Again, Enos is still putting the pieces together for the offense, but without a doubt he is the right man at offensive coordinator. He’s found Jarren Williams, who has looked as good or better than any starting Canes quarterback in 15 years. The youth just on offense is amazing in itself, with players like Williams being only a redshirt freshman, tight end Brevin Jordan and receiver Mark Pope only sophomores. Then on defense it’s the same thing, youth at nearly position with players that have already began to prove themselves as future stars.

I’m not saying that the Hurricanes are going to win out in the regular season and finish 2019 with 11 or 12 wins. I’m not even saying that 2020 will be much prettier. What I'm trying to get at, is please don't judge a first year head coach after his first four games.