On the 26th, which is Sunday, it’ll mark one month since the Hurricanes humiliating 14-0 defeat to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl, a loss that sent the program to the lowest of lows. Finishing the 2019 season with a 6-7 record, offensive coordinator Dan Enos was fired the next day, and voices everywhere you turned were calling for Manny Diaz also to be let go.
In the weeks that have passed, it seems like there’s something new everyday happening in Coral Gables and at the Hecht Center. Another situation arises every other hour for the program. There was the debacle with Alonzo Highsmith, and the deal that was not made to bring him on as chief of staff. Oh, and it happened twice in a matter of days.
So sick of the whole situation, I’ll keep this short. Blake James is a prideful little man who is destroying this program. That man HAS to go.— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) January 9, 2020
President Frenk do the right thing
Along with Enos being fired, offensive line coach Butch Barry was let go as well, both coaches lasting just one year at Miami, coming far short of expectations. Players like Lorenzo Lingard and Jarren Williams announced they’d be entering the transfer portal. One of the main leaders on the team, Deejay Dallas declared early for the NFL Draft, as did Jeff Thomas and Jonathan Garvin.
Jarren Williams' IG post about the portal. All the best, kid. Godspeed. https://t.co/RvT2sUm7bx— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) January 24, 2020
To put an even bigger dent into UM and its image, several news sources wrote articles about the diminishing culture within the Miami football program, mentioning a drug problem, players partying the night before a game, breaking curfew, etc. The articles rocked the Canes for several days, and fans were wondering what had happened to their team, which had once been one of the dominant programs in college football, now it was an embarrassment.
You could talk about the “lax” culture at Miami and how it’s on the coaches, but a starting quarterback should be smart enough not to go out the night before the game. But yeah it’s all on the coaches...— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) January 12, 2020
However, there has also been moves made by coach Diaz, that are starting to point Miami back into the right direction. The first big hire was bringing on new OC Rhett Lashlee, who has had success in the past and runs the type of offense that the Hurricanes have been dying to get their hands on.
“We’re gonna get our swag back on offense.” I’m ready to die for Rhett Lashlee pic.twitter.com/f58A9Dh775— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) January 15, 2020
Then there was the next hiring, adding new OL coach Garin Justice, someone who hasn’t just had success in wins and losses, but also with connecting to his players, gaining their trust, which is something that UM needs more of. Justice has even already reached out to former Canes, such as Bryant McKinnie.
Coach Justice already chattin it up with Bryant McKinnie. You honestly just love to see it pic.twitter.com/MBcRHSuKqT— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) January 23, 2020
And even though Miami lost several talented players to the transfer portal, the Canes added two outstanding talents from the portal and brought them down to South Florida. The first one is perhaps the most important, as Miami somehow landed quarterback D’Eriq King from Houston. As most people know, King threw for 36 touchdowns and also ran for 14 more in 2018, and is viewed as one of the top QB’s in the nation. For a program that has been searching for their next great quarterback for over 15 years, King appears to the answer to those prayers.
Welcome to The U, D’Eriq King! pic.twitter.com/A45FaIWtvz— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) January 21, 2020
The Hurricanes also picked up defensive end Quincy Roche, who transferred over from Temple. In 2019, Roche was the AAC Defensive Player Of The Year, as he totaled 13 sacks and 19 TFLs. He’ll be teamed up with fellow elite DE Gregory Rousseau, who racked up 15.5 sacks this past year. Together, they’ll form perhaps the most dominant defensive end duo in the country.
Though King and Roche will be only be Hurricanes for a year, the next wave of UM playmakers are already on campus. Even with a 6-7 record last year, Miami still managed to get a record 14 early enrollees at UM for this semester, as they’ll go through workouts and get ready for spring ball. The impact that these EE’s will have on the program moving forward cannot be understated.
14 Early Enrollees at Miami— Big Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) January 21, 2020
LOVE to see it pic.twitter.com/xKbapLIORb
You can definitely look at the recent success Miami has had with the portal and coaching hires, and make the argument how last offseason was the exact same, but you’d be wrong. Now in 2020, Diaz definitely has a better understanding what he’s looking for in assistants, he has a proven star at QB, a plethora of incoming freshman who are ready to change this culture, as well as a rejuvenated locker room, who are sick and tired of losing.
In addition, he also has a better grip on how to act as a head coach. If you remember, his first year as HC, he was posting something on social media for every little occurrence, but it definitely seems like he’s matured a little and learned his lesson. Instead, his starting running back Cam’ron Harris is the voice of the Canes on Twitter, sending something out every once in a while.
We Will Be Ready To Go to War ! With You or Without You -Sep 5— Camron Harris (@polo_man_cam) January 24, 2020
When you look at the 2020 offseason so far compared to 2019, it definitely looks like Diaz and Miami has a more clear plan, more focused, not worried about creating hashtags, but concentrated instead on bringing back the pride to UM. Also, if you stick your head out and listen to the chatter outside Miami’s campus, there’s an excitement surrounding the 2020 Hurricanes, as positivity and optimism is replacing residue of negativity and losing.