2020, a year frustrating and terrible for many, offered the ‘Canes a new opportunity. Head coach Manny Diaz changed the culture, Miami finally had a standout starting quarterback and a reliable special teams unit. In hindsight, the Hurricanes took strides forward, despite some areas needing vast improvement. While we wanted to see Miami in the ACC Championship Game and a NY6 bowl game, we witnessed the building blocks of the program become more solidified.
We'll be with you every step of the way, @DeriqKing_. pic.twitter.com/nnIroivU5V— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) December 31, 2020
It may give people flashbacks (not the good kind), but Randy Shannon shows us a pattern during his tenure. Fans, as well as UM, thought Shannon was a disciplinarian that would bring back the tenacity of Miami’s championship teams. Instead, it was all bark, no bite. The team was undisciplined and often outcoached despite Shannon’s drill-sergeant tone.
Coach Urban Meyer had 31 players arrested at Florida.— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) August 24, 2018
About the same time
Coach Randy Shannon had only 1 player arrested at Miami...And had an “exemplary” graduation rate.
Shannon got fired.
Don’t tell me college football is about anything but winning at all cost$$$
Thankfully, Diaz isn’t Shannon and has helped change the culture for the better.
So, what’s the similarity? Wins. Under Shannon, UM improved by 2 wins in each of his first 3 seasons. 5 wins in 2007, 7 in 2008, and 9 in 2009. Shannon is more alike former head coach Al Golden in that sense, who also reached 9 wins in his 3rd year as head coach. Coincidentally, both suffered disappointing 4th years, eventually leading to Shannon’s firing—Golden’s took a bit longer, coming midway through the 2015 season following a 58-0 home loss to Clemson.
Last 2 Miami head coaches Randy Shannon and Al Golden pic.twitter.com/32n7vB9mJE— Christopher Stock (@InsideTheU) February 4, 2015
Diaz, on the other hand, has a chance to break the tradition of regressing after a more-positive season. Even Mark Richt, his predecessor at Miami, followed the paths of previous coaches, winning 10 games in 2017 and just 7 the year after.
In 2019, Miami went 6-7, including demoralizing losses to FIU and Louisiana Tech—the hype proved to be a mirage. However, Diaz made sweeping changes across the program, it’s no accident that the ‘Canes won 2 more games the following year. If Miami can improve by 2 games yet again, an ACC Championship Game and NY6 bowl appearance should be expected.
This time last year Miami was fresh off of a loss to FIU on the Orange Bowl grounds. Crazy how much can change in a year. https://t.co/gU1OURUTgW— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) November 25, 2020
With the talent entering and players returning to the program, Diaz has his best setup yet—it’s time to turn it into results on the field.