After 778 yards of total offense was amassed by the North Carolina Tar Heels and any hope for a New Year’s 6 bowl game lay devastated and wasted, you knew change was coming. Games in that calamitous category deserve a punishment and penance. It was unescapable.
Blake Baker was stripped of his play calling duties and rightfully so. Yet a division of the fan base was so opposed to this perceived favoritism. A demotion was more of an unjustified olive branch that needed to be thrown into a camp fire.
Blake Baker needs to be fired.— DieselCane (@DieselCane22) October 10, 2020
Blake Baker needs to be fired right now. I can't believe there were people actually defending this joke because we shut out Duke.— ChiCanery (@CaneryChi) December 12, 2020
Now regardless of what side of the fire Baker divide you fall on, Manny Diaz is a better coordinator and the Miami Hurricanes are in better hands then it was a year ago. I will gladly state the case.
First off with a question. If Diaz was fired by the university as a head coach tomorrow, how long do you think it would take for him to obtain a top flight defensive coordinator job? Honestly? The reality is Diaz was able to parlay his previous successes as a defensive coordinator into a head coaching job. Twice.
The Hurricanes under the play calling of Diaz achieved a top 5 defense in 2018. Miami held teams to 278.9 yards of total offense a game. In Diaz tenure as defensive coordinator, the most he gave up a game was 21.0 in 2017. In 2016 and 2018 it was south of 20 points per. Baker was 51st nationally giving up 27.0 points a game last season.
The numbers prove the Diaz statistical superiority here. Plus the tenure and experience of Diaz cannot be overshadowed. He has had multiple successful stops at the P5 level calling plays. (Yes. I know what happened at Texas) Baker? He only had two seasons of P5 play calling and it showed.
There is also that repeated echo any time Baker would fail that this is in fact Manny Diaz’s defense. It has been repeated at nauseum and I find this so blatantly false on one easy pretense. Just because two people speak the same language, doesn’t mean they will use the same words.
How in good conscious can you admit that even though the plays might be called the same name for both Diaz and Baker, that given the same situation, they will actually call the EXACT same play, EVERY time on game day. You see how far fetched that is?
The art of play calls on game day is in fact an art. Both men can have the same set of paint, doesn’t mean the final product will look the same. It certainly didn’t in 2020.
Blake Baker says he and Manny Diaz work together on the defense as is. It's not his or Diaz's defense, but "our defense," he said.— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) October 7, 2019
Even if both of these men use the same defensive playbook is irrelevant. Who calls the better game on game day? That is the point and the question. Diaz is obviously the better apt and more experienced derivative here.
A serious program would not have its head coach calling plays. Jimmy Johnson didn’t believe in it. That statement is laughable too. Andy Reid and last year’s Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs say hello. If the head coach happens to be the best scenario for play calling duties, so be it. No exact formula on this one. It simply is preference.
This has been Manny Diaz's defense the past two years, today he announced publicly that he will be calling the plays https://t.co/ac3mvf8AOk— Christopher Stock (@InsideTheU) January 14, 2021
And finally the names that were rumored to be associated with the defensive coordinator position were not necessarily better, they were just new to the position of Miami DC. Charlie Strong? A failed head coach at multiple stops who hasn’t been a defensive coordinator in a fortnight.
In sport’s society there is the ever present fascination with new. You ever notice that the new recruit at quarterback is always sky rocketed to the head of the line as the guy. That is, until the next quarterback is signed. On and on this goes. It is not better just because it is new. Until it is proven on the field, it is what it is, new.
.@FootballScoop reports that former #Gators assistant Charlie Strong was “planning to return to the Florida program to work alongside veteran defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, but appears instead to have chosen to go with Meyer” in Jacksonville. https://t.co/tcVpWORsP1— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) January 15, 2021
There was no sure fire name at DC that would unequivocally have been the best option for the Hurricanes. They would have been new for the position, sure. All of the names that were surfacing had baggage. All of the names would have to prove themselves on the field. That is where the breakpoint begins and ends.
So I applaud Diaz. You want to put your career solely on yourself? Great. You feel like you are the most capable person in that room calling plays on game day? Great. Diaz knew it. He made the move. The right one.