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Does Manny Get A Mulligan in 2020?

The pandemic may change the normal pressure on a Head Coach, but should it?

Virginia v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Coronavirus has wrecked the typical excitement for the college football season. Normally by now we are in full trash talk and countdown mode. Instead most days we sit around reading the news hoping that something positive has changed. The ACC so far has plans to play the season starting in September.

Many times I’ve been asked should the expectations change for the upcoming season for the Canes. With everyone dealing with a pandemic, does it give every coach and program a mulligan?

My opinions were very vocal here and on Hochman & Crowder on 560 and 790 about what happened at the end of the 2019 season. Very vocal as well about what the program needed to do to get better.

Miami Hurricanes football practice Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Manny Diaz has checked all of the boxes for team improvement. Dan Enos out, Rhett Lashlee in. Jarren Williams out, D’Eriq King in. Miami has transitioned from 6-7 laughing stock, to a team that many are very intrigued about heading into 2020. With intrigue comes pressure, but let’s be honest just being the Head Coach at Miami involves a lot of pressure. How will this staff respond in what normally would be a make or break year?

In a multi-million dollar profession like coaching, I have a hard time believing in a mulligan for anyone, but these are extenuating circumstances. First The U is in no position to fire another head coach and go out and pay premium money for a replacement, and let’s be honest the scale for salary in that profession will surely change after the craziness of 2020. Second, programs that change coaches like underwear typically don’t find success. Manny Diaz will be Miami’s coach for better or worse for the next few seasons. Manny deserves at least the same chances that Shannon and Golden were given, and judging by the changes this off-season he also should have more success than either one of them.

The pandemic has switched the schedule and taken away some easier games off the schedule. Temple, Wagner, Michigan St and Duke have been replaced by Clemson and Louisville, but to be the man you’ve got to beat the man. Clemson is the measuring stick in the ACC, so it’s time for the Canes to compete on that level. 58-0 and 38-3 is the score of the last two versus the Tigers so Miami has to close the gap significantly to be taken seriously. Miami also has to start winning the games they are supposed to win. Losing to Duke, Georgia Tech and the FIU/La Tech types can not happen.

ESPN FPI doesn’t have a lot of confidence in the Canes giving them a projected win total of 4.7 - 6.3 games. What are we seeing that ESPNs projections are missing? Are we buying too much into King and Lashlee? Miami has to be better. There was too much offseason shake up for Miami to be a sub .500 team again.

D’Eriq King alone should be worth an extra win or two.

Rhett Lashlee should be worth an extra win or two as well.

The schedule change probably costs you at least 2 wins(one less game, and adding Clemson).

Manny Diaz much like every other “hot seat” coach may get the benefit of the doubt in 2020, but there shouldn’t be any excuses. Miami needs to be in the ACC Championship game at the end of the year. Miami should be at least a Top 30 offense in year one under Rhett Lashlee, and Miami should be ranked in the Top 15 by season end.

The expectation is still the same. Every playing school faces the same challenges, so it’s time to get back to being The U. 2021 recruits are all in, but the product on the field needs to match the offseason hype. Miami needs to win games, and anything less would be a disappointment.

Go Canes