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Will You Buy the Offseason Hype Again?

Manny Diaz is the Nick Saban of the offseason, but the results during the season have not measured up.

Miami v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Don’t believe the Hype was a great Public Enemy song and can fit the 2021 season for the Miami Hurricanes. Another offseason is here and once again Manny Diaz is giving a lot of hope by dominating the portal, recruiting, and changing up the defensive staff. Should we buy this again hook, line, and sinker? Can the winter success translate to September wins? The recent history has said no.

Two years ago, Manny Diaz was named the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, and immediately began to create a buzz that had not been seen in Coral Gables in a long time. Manny crashed recruiting parties, showed up to alumni events on a yacht, and started sending out social media posts when Miami would land a transfer in the “portal”. Tate Martell, Bubba Bolden, KJ Osborn, Jaelan Phillips and others showed up with much fanfare and had Canes supporters believing 2019 would be the year to see Miami back among the nation’s elite. Unfortunately, substance has to meet the hype for the season to be a success. Jarren Williams was not ready as a redshirt freshman. Dan Enos was the Mark Donofrio of Offensive Coordinators and Miami was starting a Group of 5 offensive line. Miami struggled and finished 6-7. 2019 was a failure of epic proportions and Manny was forced to make changes in a hurry.

2020 saw D’Eriq King arrive to solidify the QB position, and Rhett Lashlee show up with a lighting fast offense. Quincy Roche was the best DE in the transfer market, and Jaelan Phillips bulked up 40lbs to give Miami a great 1-2 punch at DE. Once again Miami fans looked at 2020 as a measuring stick season for the Canes. Unfortunately, Covid-19 showed up and completely rearranged what should have been a manageable schedule. The ACC rewarded Miami with a trip to Clemson in October and dropped the game against Duke. The Canes jumped to a 3-0 start but were humbled 41-17 vs the Tigers. The Canes responded winning 5 straight to sit at 8-1 with a chance to go to a NY6 Bowl Game. UNC came in a mud stomped Miami, and that was followed by another loss in the bowl to Oklahoma St and D’Eriq King tore his ACL along the way.

Miami finished 8-3 and there were positives. The offense was marketably better. King became the best QB for the Canes since Ken Dorsey. Manny Diaz actually won a game after a bye week, and the Canes showed the ability to win late, and beat the teams they were supposed to.

“To be the man you have to beat the man”, and in 2 years under Manny Diaz Miami has yet to show the ability to beat “the man”. Losing to Clemson is one thing, as the Tigers are a National Title contender every season but getting embarrassed by North Carolina is another. The Tar Heels are in year 2 of Mack Brown and were facing a much bigger rebuild than the Canes, but Brown is now 2-0 vs Manny at Miami. This was followed up by another lethargic start in the Cheez-It Bowl vs Oklahoma St, and another defeat 37-34. Yes, the Canes dropped what seemed like 20 passes in that game, but there was zero excuse to be down 21-0 in the 1st quarter other than the team was not prepared or motivated by the head coach. 8-3 was a small step in the right direction but nowhere close to where the Canes should be.

Manny Diaz decided this offseason to reshape the defensive side of the ball, which had declined over the 2 years Blake Baker was calling plays. Jess Simpson was brought back, Demarcus Van Dyke was elevated to CB coach, T-Rob and T-Will were brought in as well. Out were Mike Rumph, Ephraim Banda (who left for Utah St) and Blake Baker who took a lesser role at LSU. Manny will now call the defense, and if nothing else he got some dogs to help on the recruiting trail. Miami also brought in a star recruiting class led by James Williams and Leonard Taylor, 2 local five stars who have gotten away in past cycles. Once again, the hype for 2021 has begun. The Canes also shored up a few spots in the transfer portal with Charleston Rambo, Tyrique Stevenson and Deandre Johnson brought in to help at WR, CB and DE. Miami again is ruling the offseason.

The problem lies in September when the Canes open against defending National Champion Alabama. The Canes will most likely be about a 21-point underdog and no one in the country believes Miami can even keep it close. That is a game that Miami used to walk into, kick the opponents butt and walk out with swagger. Now it is a game Miami walks into, gets embarrassed on National TV and some in the media talk about steps closer to being good again. I am over these so-called steps! 2021 needs to be about wins and wins only. No more hype, now more offseason bravado, no more participation trophies.

Sorry I am not believing the hype again. It is time for Miami to put up, and stop being the Alabama of the offseason. Time to beat some heavyweights and become the Alabama of the regular season. For Manny Diaz, the clock is ticking.