On Thursday afternoon, the Miami Hurricanes finalized the 2021 coaching staff. Returning to The U is DL coach Jess Simpson, who will also reprise his role as associate Head Coach. CB coach Mike Rumph will move to the recruiting department, while former recruiting staffer DeMarcus Van Dyke will now coach Cornerbacks. And former DL coach Todd Stroud will move into an advisory role.
Here’s the release on the coaching staff moves from Miami Athletics:
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes hired Jess Simpson as assistant head coach/defensive line and promoted DeMarcus Van Dyke to cornerbacks coach, head coach Manny Diaz announced Thursday as UM finalized its football coaching staff for the coming season.
Simpson’s hire is pending completion of a standard University background check.
Simpson, who held the same title at Miami during the 2018 season, returns to Coral Gables after spending the past two seasons as defensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons. Van Dyke, a former UM cornerback who spent six seasons in the NFL, shifts to cornerbacks coach after serving the past two seasons as UM’s assistant director of recruiting.
Simpson and Van Dyke join Blake Baker (defensive coordinator/inside linebackers), Jonathan Patke (special teams coordinator/outside linebackers) and Travaris Robinson (defensive backs) on the defensive coaching staff. Diaz also announced he will be calling the defensive plays on gameday moving forward.
In addition, former assistant head coach/defensive line Todd Stroud will now serve as Senior Football Advisor and former cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph will assume a role in UM’s recruiting department.
“We are excited to announce these staff hires as we work to improve all facets of our program on and off the field,” Diaz said. “Jess is a proven defensive line coach at all levels who had great success with our defensive line in 2018 and we are thrilled to have him back at UM. DeMarcus is eager to take the next step in his coaching career and work in tandem with Travaris with our defensive backs.
“Jonathan will continue to work with our outside linebackers and lead our special teams, which are coming off a season in which we led the nation in net punting and had our first Lou Groza Award winner.
“Blake will continue to run our defense and I will call the defensive plays on gamedays, which we feel is our best path to maximizing our strengths on that side of the ball.
“We also think it’s a tremendous asset to have Todd and Mike continue to work closely with our program. Overall, this is a staff that firmly believes in our vision and culture for Miami Football and we can’t wait to hit the ground running with our offseason program.”
Simpson originally joined the Hurricanes staff in March of 2018 after a first stint with the Falcons as defensive assistant in 2017. In his first season at The U in 2018, Miami delivered a stellar season on defense. The Hurricanes ranked No. 4 in the country in total defense and ranked No. 1 in several categories, including tackles for loss, third down conversion percentage and passing yards allowed. Under Simpson’s tutelage, defensive tackle Gerald Willis earned All-American honors. In 12 years as the Buford (GA) High School head coach, Simpson won seven state titles and compiled a record of 164-12 – a .932 winning percentage. Simpson earned his bachelor’s degree from Auburn in 1993 and added a master’s in education from North Georgia College in 2002.
Van Dyke has spent the last two years as assistant director of recruiting after spending 2018 as a defensive quality control analyst for the Hurricanes. This past year, Van Dyke played an instrumental role in the Hurricanes reeling in a recruiting class ranked in the top 10 nationwide by ESPN. Van Dyke was a four-year letterwinner for the Hurricanes, graduating from Miami in 2010. He was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The Miami Gardens, Fla., native spent the 2017 season as cornerbacks coach at ASA College in Miami.
Here’s a video from when Simpson previously worked at Miami.
Welcome Back, Coach Simpson! pic.twitter.com/z5TT1nct9Y— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) January 14, 2021
Buried in the release above is another key piece of information: Diaz announced he will return to calling the defensive plays during games next season. This is arguably the biggest news of any from today. Yes, Baker was brought in to run the same style of defense as Diaz, but the efficacy clearly decreased when Baker was calling the plays instead of Diaz. This is yet another step — and a big one — for Diaz to try and steady the ship and get things moving in the right direction after seeing Baker’s version of the defense...uh....have some struggles in the back half of the 2020 season.
Just to run down the list, here’s the full Miami Hurricanes coaching staff for 2021 as presently constructed:
- Head Coach Manny Diaz (will call defensive plays)
- OC/QB coach Rhett Lashlee
- RB coach Eric Hickson
- WR coach Rob Likens
- TE coach Stephen Field
- OL coach Garin Justice
- DC/LB coach Blake Baker
- DL coach/Associate Head Coach Jess Simpson
- Striker coach/ST coordinator Jonathan Patke
- DB coach Travaris Robinson
- CB coach DeMarcus Van Dyke
Will that group be of the quality to get Miami moving forward? We’ll see, starting in 233 days in Atlanta against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.