Ever since the 2020 season ended, the Miami Hurricanes coaching staff has been much like trying to figure out a sudoku puzzle - chaos all over the place and just trying to figure out who fits where. But now, it appears the dust has mostly settled right before spring football is expected to start in two weeks.
On January 14, 2021, Cameron Underwood wrote about how the Miami Hurricanes Football finalized their coaching staff. But in the subsequent month, the Miami play-callers, including those who joined the program, said not so fast. This includes one hire who ended up departing for another position before the paint even dried on his office’s name tag.
To provide a full up-to-date background which was delineated in Underwood’s writeup, the January 14th announcement included the following activity: Jess Simpson returned as DL coach after two seasons as DL coach for the Atlanta Falcons - a position he held at Miami prior to making the move to the NFL; CB coach Mike Rumph moved to the recruiting department; former recruiting staffer, DeMarcus Van Dyke, moved to coach CBs; and after two seasons as DL coach, Todd Stroud moved into an advisory role. Another huge announcement on that day was that the fearless leader, Manny Diaz, would return to calling defensive plays during the games in 2021, taking over Blake Baker’s duties doing same.
Jess Simpson 'fired up' to return to Miami as defensive line coach https://t.co/54xONduo2U— Christopher Stock (@InsideTheU) February 1, 2021
Prior to the January 14th announcement, co-defensive coordinator, Ephraim Banda, departed from the U to join Utah State. Miami also added Travaris Robinson to coach DBs. Robinson has had ample success during his career in recruiting and breeding DBs previously at South Carolina, Auburn, and Florida, including current NFL players Duke Dawson, JC Jackson, Carlton Davis, Vernon Hargreaves, Jaylen Watkins, Quincy Wilson, Brian Poole, Jonathan Jones, Rudy Ford, Rashad Fenton, Chris Lammons, Keisean Nixon, and should see South Carolina standout CBs Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu get drafted this April. Nice laundry list of a resume for the man more affectionally nicknamed T-Rob. Coincidence or not, Robinson has already made an immediate impact as Miami has added Georgia DB, Tyrique Stevenson, through the Transfer Portal.
A little over two weeks later, Miami announced two new hirings: first, they announced Travis Williams would join Miami as LB coach after five seasons at Auburn. The young coach would be expected revamp a struggling LB corps that most notably was exposed in a tough UNC loss. However, Williams pulled a Grandpa Simpson gif and moved on to a DC position with UCF just 17 days after being hired
Second, Miami announced they had “completed their defensive coaching staff” by hiring Bob Shoop as Defensive Quality Control Coach. Shoop has an impressive track record as he most recently coach Michigan State safeties, but is also a two-time finalist for the Broyles Award given to the best assistant coach in college football and helped produce three 2019 first-round NFL Draft picks in Jeffrey Simmons, Montez Sweat, and Johnathan Abram.
Bringing 30+ years of coaching experience to the defensive side of the ball, Bob Shoop has been added to the staff! https://t.co/rJhYQkqGan— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) February 1, 2021
Around the same time of this announcement, DC Blake Baker, opted to leave the U for an opportunity to join LSU as LBs coach. This came on the heels of his quasi-demotion where Diaz would take over the in-game defensive play-calling duties, a role Baker patrolled in 2020.
Finally, and we do think finally, Miami solidified their coaching staff when they hired Ishmael Aristide as OLB coach. Aristide most recently comes from Texas A&M where he served as defensive analyst for two years. In those two years, the Aggies have had a slew of talent head to the NFL, including defensive players Justin Madubuike, Kingsley Keke, Daylon Mack, and Donovan Wilson. He also previously worked at SEC powerhouses, Ole Miss and Auburn. Similar to the goal Miami had with bringing in Williams as a young coach, Aristide fills a role as a rising coaching star at just 30 years old and has immense promise as a quality recruiter.
Sources: Ishmael Aristide is finalizing a deal to become an assistant coach at Miami. Aristide emerged as a star analyst for Texas A&M and was considered one of the program’s best recruiters. He has deep recruiting roots in south Florida, which made him attractive to Manny Diaz.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 20, 2021
As the coaching tree offseason seems to have gone for the Canes with ample turnover, the decision was not made in a vacuum and resulted in some shuffling as Jonathan Patke moved to ILB coach. Prior to Aristide’s arrival, Patke was serving as Strikers and Special teams coach. Patke has worked wonders on Special Teams, let’s see if he can do the same with the ILBs, especially in creating a formidable run-stop. Depicting the offseason of change, Patke is the only remaining member from last year’s defensive staff.
Manny Diaz has filled out his coaching staff with an ace recruiter https://t.co/a96WzFdu6Y— CaneSport Miami Hurricanes (@CaneSport) February 20, 2021
My biggest takeaways from the last two months of alterations in the coaching staff?
Rhett Lashlee remains as OC, which is big for Diaz et. al. as Lashlee was a prime candidate to potentially take on a HC role. That is, even though there was the internal commotion, there was also an active coaching carousel going on throughout the NCAA. Travaris Robinson and Ishmael Aristide are also key additions on the defensive side of the ball. They should assist in two areas of concern this upcoming season, DB and LB. Last but not least, Manny Diaz’s decision to call defensive plays for the upcoming season. Not necessarily a direct addition or firing, but it is huge nonetheless.
Aaaaand with that, we present to you the Official Finalized* Miami Hurricanes 2021 Official Coaching Staff as of 8am on February 27, 2021*:
Head Coach: Manny Diaz
Offensive Coordinator: Rhett Lashlee
Defensive Line: Jess Simpson
Inside Linebackers/Special Teams: Jonathan Patke
Outside Linebackers: Ishmael Aristide
Defensive Backs: Travaris Robinson
Tight Ends: Stephen Field
Running Backs: Eric Hickson
Offensive Line: Garin Justice
Wide Receivers: Rob Likens
Cornerbacks: DeMarcus Van Dyke
Other Notable Moves:
Defensive Quality Control Coach: Bob Shoop (from Michigan State)
Senior Football Advisor: Todd Stroud (from DL coach)
Assistant Director/Recruiting: Mike Rumph (from CB coach)
Got it? Good.