I originally focused this article on how Manny Diaz’s career will depend upon the next 5 games of the Canes regular season, but after a few days, I decided to change it. I focus so much on the doctrine of Bill Belichick and Nick Saban and their head coaching philosophies; How could I base an article on what the next few games mean, when in reality, Friday night at NC State is the only one that matters?
Miami enters Friday night with a 5-1 record, and one of the top teams in the ACC, outside of Clemson. A win against the Wolfpack would comfortably put them back inside the top-10. Very much so, the Hurricanes still have an opportunity to potentially play in the conference championship game, and finish the 2020 season with double-digit wins.
With five games to go in the regular season, a lot of pressure is being put on coach Diaz and his Canes, but they can’t let that get to them, and hopefully, the only objective on their mind is beating the Wolfpack on Friday. Miami can’t afford to start worrying about next weeks game at Virginia Tech, or a few weeks later when they host UNC.
Or at least, that’s how UM should be approaching NC State, and that’s what Saban has done in the past with his teams.
Nick Saban on not looking ahead to #LSU this week:— Scott Rabalais (@RabalaisAdv) October 24, 2018
Well, it is the next game, so there's nothing totally wrong with that. We focus on one day and play at a time. That usually works best for us.
One of my biggest pet peeves as a lifelong UM fan, is the pressure created at the beginning of the regular season, when the schedule comes out and the Canes fans start predicting 11-1 or 10-2. What bothers me, is that I feel like those expectations creep into the mind of the football program, and they begin to create extended pressure upon themselves, and if one game goes wrong, the season then falls apart.
All you have to do is look at this tweet from me, yes me, from last November.
Let's beat Louisville, beat FIU, beat Duke, win our bowl game. Let's win out. Let's keep this going— Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) November 3, 2019
Then again, that’s going to come with any big-time program, fans expecting success. However, the difference between great coaches and average coaches, is the ability to create that expectation from within and from winning, instead of it having to come from the fans and the outside.
This year in 2020, that can’t afford to happen. So much progress has been made for Manny Diaz since last season, in terms of recruiting, remodeling of the UM program, you can’t lose to teams that you're supposed to beat. That kind of stuff, that’s the old Miami, and this is supposed to the New Miami...right?
Manny Diaz on NC State: "Our guys are ready for another challenge on the road."— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) November 2, 2020
Look at me, there I go again focusing on the remainder of the season, instead of just the NC State game on Friday. Don't blame me however, I was born in the “Win out” culture of Canes fans, and am just now learning about this “one game” mentality created by Belichick and Saban.
Bill Belichick focuses on one game at a time. Does whatever he can to win every game. He wants to go undefeated. Bill wants to go 19-0.— Mark Dondero (@MarkDondero) July 26, 2017
One of the biggest tests for coach Diaz this Friday, is learning how to prepare his team how to deal with, potentially, several players being out because of Covid testing. Will the Canes falter due to lack of experience and confusion regarding his starting lineup? Or can Miami’s players and coaching staff pull together and come out of Raleigh with a win?
“Every battle is won before it is fought.” -Sun Tzu pic.twitter.com/KMoDcFDFCK— Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) November 3, 2020
Also, Diaz is 0-5 off of bye weeks as the head coach for Miami, either he’s going to change that record for the better.....or the Canes are going to be 5-2 on Saturday morning. This game will be a testament to the culture that Manny Diaz has built and re-built since his arrival as head coach nearly two years ago.