Did you buy your off-season season tickets? For the second consecutive year the Miami Hurricanes and head coach Manny Diaz have created some optimism after a key staff hire and a particular tandem of portal moves.
However last year had a similar trend. The names Trevon Hill, Tate Martell and Dan Enos certainly evoked much fan fair last year. The hope was the construction of a new Miami landscape which would be prominent on the college football skyline.
Ultimately calamitous collapse occurred on the precipice of a 6-7 season and the hashtag “The New Miami” was buried underneath the rubble and ash. Hill had a respectable 4.5 sacks, Martel had both seven yards passing and rushing and Enos was fired after amassing the 98th ranked offense.
The University of Miami football program announced Friday that Dan Enos has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. pic.twitter.com/9pnggcS7Pq— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) December 27, 2019
So round two. Ding. Ding. Off-season moves now enters aggressively and is controlling the center of the ring. Enter your defensive end via the portal, former Temple edge rusher Quincy Roche. This pass rushing dynamo had 49 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss including 13 sacks in 2019 en route to All American status.
Now Hill ended up being a solid contributor last year for the Miami Hurricanes but considering in 30 games at Virginia Tech, Hill recorded a total of 11.5 sacks. It is safe to say the previous stop production value favors Roche.
No doubt that Tate Martell came in with a lot of fan fare. Martell was the focal point on the Netflix series QB1: Beyond the Lights and garnered the social media presence and clout of a Hollywood “A” Lister. Unfortunately for Martell, becoming the QB1 at Miami proved to be more script than fact.
D’Eriq King? He had 50 combined touchdowns for the Houston Cougars in 2018. That is undeniable fact. King amassed 36 passing touchdowns vs. 6 interceptions, 271 yards passing a game, a 63.5% completion percentage and added another 14 rushing touchdowns on the ground.
A “Ferrari with feet” King is a defensive coordinators conundrum and someone who will undeniably keep defenses up at night. No, he wasn’t featured on any television documentary but he definitely can be featured in high definition in a Rhett Lashlee offense.
Rhett Lashlee was my undeniable first pick for offensive coordinator after the departure of Dan Enos for one simple reason. Lashlee did “more with less.” In a four year recruiting snap shot for SMU during the years of 2015-2018 you will see something very clearly.
They had less than Miami. SMU recruited ZERO four stars in that time frame. SMU never achieved better than sixth in conference recruiting, had an average recruit rating of .8127 and had an overall average class rank of 80th nationally.
Yet Lashlee had a top ten offense averaging 489.8 yards a game and was only one of eight schools in FBS who averaged 40 points a game. When Miami could arguably be the school who is the poster child for doing “less with more” an architect in the reversal was needed. Lashlee is that guy.
Manny Diaz deserved all the heat for last year’s 6-7 season. But without hesitation he should receive the credit for taking the necessary steps to correct it. When the NFL pays top premium for quarterbacks and defensive ends, Manny unequivocally elevated those positions.
When the nature of the game has gravitated and mandated that offense is king, Diaz got a real King and an offensive architect to build him a throne. This isn’t last year. It is different. This isn’t just another off-season. It is better.