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Miami Hurricanes

Diaz Will Be the Key to the Canes Success

Photographer: John Albright/Icon Sportswire
Ari Russell

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A lot of pressure is on first year Miami head coach Mark Richt to have a successful inaugural season . He passed his first test (if you consider Florida A&M a test) on Saturday and now the Canes find themselves in the Top 25 for the first time since 2013. All of this is great news in Coral Gables. We had an idea the offense will be high powered with a great QB in Brad Kaaya, a stable of running backs, wide outs and tight ends. The question mark, and what had been the Achilles heels for Miami during the Golden era was the defense.

If Miami wants to contend for an ACC title, it will rely heavily on the schemes of DC Manny Diaz. On paper, you couldn’t find a better hire. Diaz a native son of Miami, literally, has the pedigree to be successful. After a few key suspensions on defense right before the season began, Diaz was forced to deal with a thin lineup. Granted, it was FAMU, but in week 1, Diaz’s defense passed the eye test. You could already see a far more aggressive and disciplined group than from the previous years, where if a poster would be made, it would be of a missed tackle. Don’t expect many from Manny’s D this year.

As the season progresses and the competition gets tougher, it will be interesting to see the Diaz defense develop. What they may lack in depth, will have to be made up with in scheme, and we do know Diaz can scheme with the best of them. There is no question Manny Diaz will play a huge role in whether Miami makes it to their first ever ACC title game. The pressure is on the native son and Cane fans are hungry for a delivery.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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