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Stop Rushing Manny Diaz’s Miami Rebuild

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I ask for all Miami fans to be patient with Manny Diaz, 2021 will tell a lot

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

Canes social media, as we all know, can be like the wild Wild West. People arguing nonstop, opinions are shared, debates are had, there's something going on no matter what time of the year.

Recently, I've seen a lot of people saying how Manny Diaz is on the hot seat going into the 2021 season. I just have to give my opinion.

Before I dive into this, let me just say, there have been times where I too have said coach Diaz is on the hot seat as a head coach. Though, while I may have said that during the blowout loss to UNC, or the bowl game defeat to Oklahoma State, I've had some time to cool off and think more rationally.

Heading into his third season as head coach, how could you possibly say Diaz is on the hot seat, when you sit down and think about it.

His first year, yes, it was not pretty, with a 6-7 record and losses to teams like FIU, Duke and Louisiana Tech. Diaz also didn’t himself when he had a loud off-season after being hired, crashing coaching clinics, pulling up on yachts, the whole TNM hashtag. All that is fine, but only if you win. Manny needed to be humbled, and I think FIU did exactly that.

Still, he saw what changes needed to be made, and made them. He brought on an offensive coordinator in Rhett Lashlee, who runs the type of system fans have been begging for, for years. He added position coaches like Garin Justice and Rob Likens, helped add Ed Reed as Chief of Staff.

His second season, which was riddled by COVID-19, Diaz still managed to see his team improve to a 8-3 record, and also land a top-10 recruiting class. In the offseason, he hired an experienced guy like Travaris Robinson to coach the defensive backs, added an up-and-coming assistant in Ishmael Aristide, and also brought in a veteran coach like Bob Shoop to serve as an analyst on defense.

We can all agree, it definitely hasn’t been a smooth ride in the three years Diaz has been head coach. He’s yet to win a big game, and his team seems to falter in primetime. So yes, in 2021 we have to see the Hurricanes show up in big time situations. Another blowout loss to UNC is unacceptable, and you want to see Miami at least look like they belong against Alabama. He has to fix the seniority problem, as well as continuing to improve the locker room and attitude of the team. There’s still PLENTY of work that has to be done, nobody is arguing that.

But up to this point, if you were expecting much more from Diaz, why? He wasn’t going to have Miami competing for national championships in his first or second season, and I know many Canes fans, their expectations are nothing short of a title every season, but you have to be realistic.

Diaz is trying to build back a program that has been mediocre for more than 15 years, and yes we do have an incredibly storied past, but facts are facts and this is the current situation. Miami has never won an ACC Championship, they’ve won the Coastal Division just once, they have just ONE 10-win season since 2003. Building Miami back into a team that is contending on a yearly basis is going to take time and will require patience, a virtue which is hard to find among Canes fans. You can’t put pressure on Diaz when it’s not necessary at this point.

It took Dabo Swinney several years to build Clemson into a championship contender, but they took their time, and now look at where they are. I’m not saying Diaz is going to turn Miami into what Clemson is, but we have to at least trust the small steps of progress that he’s made so far.

We wanted the Hurricanes to improve in Diaz’s second year, and they did just that. We wanted Diaz to land more elite South Florida recruits, and he did just that. 2021 is going to be the season where we really start to see where Diaz is steering UM.

No question, 2021 is a big year for Diaz, he has an improved coaching staff, returns several top players, the schedule is favorable, and improving from 8-3 is 100% expected. At this point however, there’s no reason to believe that this program isn’t headed in the right direction, just give it time.