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.
Coach Diaz's vision isn't just to win the Coastal this year, but to change an entire culture of this once great program. Y'all think everything was going to completely chance after 4 games? Yes there's issues, and he's very aware. Again I plead to you, have patience— Confused But Still Optimistic Canes Fan (@hurricanesmarsh) September 27, 2019
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.
Manny isn’t just being tasked of fixing this 2019 team, but fixing a program that has been a mess for over 15 years.— Confused Canes Fan (@hurricanesmarsh) September 27, 2019
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.
Manny Diaz: "We didn't build this for August 24th... the idea here is to build monsters that last."— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) August 26, 2019
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.
If and when the Miami Dolphins struggle in Brian Flores’ first season, recall Nick Saban’s Alabama lost to Louisiana-Monroe and 5 others his first year there. And Bill Belichick lost 11 his first year in NE. Process over results. Especially Year 1.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) August 1, 2019
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.
This is why Nick Saban wins, culture wins championships. Talent is great to have but it's worthless without players and coaches keeping each other accountable. Punctuality and hard work should be reinforced. https://t.co/AzfLq1pquC— FNF Coaches (@fnfcoaches) June 18, 2018
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.
Nick Saban went 7-6 his first year at Bama. Jim Tressel went 7-5 his first year at Ohio State. If the Canes don’t go 12-2 the first year under Manny, PLEASE don’t go pushing the panic button Canes fans— Confused But Still Optimistic Canes Fan (@hurricanesmarsh) May 7, 2019
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.
Remember, Dabo Swinney was 19-15 in his first 3 seasons. Building a championship culture and program takes time.— Brandon Chambers (@chambershoops) January 10, 2017
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 Swinney on Adam Humphries "He was a baller for 4 years here and beat out a lot of 4 and 5 star guys."— Matt Connolly (@MattatTheState) August 2, 2016
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.
Coach Cutcliffe & Dabo Swinney both told me that when you create a strong culture it'll squeeze out the people who don't work hard.— Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11) August 9, 2015
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.
When asked if he’s still 100% with UM, 2020 DT commit Willie Moise said “you can add another zero to that” pic.twitter.com/AMOYTARx9w— Stefan Adams (@stefan_adams305) August 3, 2019
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.
Bobby Bowden (5-6) in 1976. Lou Holtz (5-6) in 1986. Howard Schnellenberger (5-6) in 1979. John McKay (4-6) in 1960. https://t.co/bUJaFHk167— Josh Peterson (@joshtweeterson) October 31, 2015
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.
#Canes— Canes Insider (@Canes_Insider) September 22, 2019
Yards Per Game - 86th
Yards Per Play - 73rd
Rushing Yards - 97th
Yards Per Rush - 109th
Passing Yards - 45th
Yards Per Pass - 43rd
Points Per Game - 100th
3rd Down Conversion % - 128th
Redzone TD % - 93rd
Sacks Allowed - 102nd
TFL Allowed - 126th
Penalties - 126th
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.”
Manny Diaz, on learning from his dad (former mayor of Miami): He's been a great model for me, that you have to set a vision and stay true to that vision.— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) September 4, 2019
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.
I have a really good feeling about #TheU right now! @Coach_MannyDiaz has the team looking ready! And can’t wait for @EdgerrinJames to get his gold jacket! #SurroundedByGreatness pic.twitter.com/rvJpKWuUY4— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) April 11, 2019
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.
Reminder:— Confused But Still Optimistic Canes Fan (@hurricanesmarsh) September 27, 2019
Harvey, 3 DT's, Miller (freshman)
Greg R, Blades Jr, Ivey, Silvera, Gurvan, Bolden (sophomores)
Bandy, Garvin, Amari, Ford (juniors)
Remember the youth. https://t.co/VZmrDt1qGs
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.