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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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Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes QB Martell situation like “Mad Men” episode

Matt Zemek

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

“Don Draper” has some advice about Tate Martell

There is no denying the following point: Purely as a matter of analysis, Tate Martell endured a spectacular fall the past few days at the University of Miami.

A man transferred from Ohio State to get more playing time as a starter, but Jarren Williams will be the Miami Hurricanes’ starting quarterback when Manny Diaz leads The U against the Florida Gators on August 24.

Martell was beaten out by a freshman — a really good freshman, but a freshman nevertheless.

This comes after Martell talked a very big game and didn’t play nice with Justin Fields, who transferred into Ohio State from Georgia in his own attempt to get more playing time as a starting quarterback.

There is no denying the point that this is a dramatic story. It is a story of upheaval, surprise, and crushing disappointment for a young athlete who was arrogant, who has acted like a prima donna, and whose mental state right now is not easy to pin down:

It is dramatic. It is spectacular. It is soap-operatic and emotionally involving.

Are you roused? Excited? Gleeful at Martell’s demise?

There is — on a very small level — a “happy” dimension to this story. Manipulative and selfish behavior was not rewarded. I get it. Everyone can see and understand that point.

Martell has an inflated view of himself, doesn’t seem to be a team player, and simply hasn’t worked hard enough or well enough (if not both) to earn a starting QB job at either OSU or Miami. There’s a reason Urban Meyer limited him to running-QB duties for the most part, a Big Ten version of the “Belldozer” Oklahoma used with Blake Bell in red-zone situations several years ago, while Landry Jones was the “normal” quarterback for the Sooners.

If you want to be happy that Tate Martell couldn’t bully his way into getting the Miami job, and that he got his comeuppance, fine. That’s okay, as far as it goes. However, that national sense of schadenfreude — especially from the state of Ohio, but from various corners of the country — was certainly over the top on Monday.

Let’s be clear: No one was defending Martell’s behavior on Monday or at previous points in this process. His behavior was clearly poor. He certainly has to look in the mirror — not to anyone else — if he wants to improve his football career. No one would dispute that Martell has to straighten up and fly right, and that he needs to take ownership of his attitude and adjust it.

Yet, Martell’s name became a worldwide trending topic. That schadenfreude obviously flowed deep into the bones and marrow of many college football fans and observers. A lot of #CollegeFootballTwitter seemed to be laughing at Martell, rather than taking quiet satisfaction in seeing his bullying behavior go unrewarded.

Martell didn’t deserve the Miami QB job on the merits… but he also didn’t deserve to be laughed at.

The reports later on Monday that he didn’t attend practice might not actually amount to anything serious… but aren’t you at least somewhat concerned about him right now? Would a reasonable person conclude that he is taking this very hard and feels absolutely devastated?

This could be an overreaction, but it certainly isn’t beyond the realm of possibility at the moment: Is Martell mentally troubled? Phrased differently, is this merely a childish reaction on his part to losing the QB1 battle (which is possible), or is he going through more personal trouble and trauma than any of us on the outside can possibly see or understand?

The former answer might be the likely one, but the latter answer — that Martell is mentally disturbed — shouldn’t be ruled out completely… and IF that is the case, the nation’s laughter at Martell will have been severely overplayed.

This brings me to my ultimate point: Don Draper of “Mad Men” has something to say to the nation about Tate Martell.

If you watched the show, you will recall that in Season 2, Episode 9 — “Six Month’s Leave” — Freddy Rumsen drinks to excess in a downward spiral of alcoholism. He wet his pants in public. Three of the men in the office — Ken Cosgrove, Paul Kinsey, and Harry Crane — laughed at Freddy, instead of seeing the severity of his situation and the humiliation he is facing in a business setting.

Empathy and concern for a fellow human being should have come to the forefront, but derision surfaced instead.

Don chastised his three co-workers with this memorable line:

“That’s none of your business. Freddy had a bad day. Can’t you find something else to do besides dining on the drama of other people’s lives like a bunch of teenage girls?”

There is a very big difference between quietly approving of a scenario in which bad behavior was not rewarded, and — at the other end of the spectrum — taking profound pleasure in the downfall of another person.

Are there times when taking pleasure in the downfall of another person is comparatively more acceptable? Yes — when that person committed a crime and truly harmed other people’s lives. Seeing that person brought to justice and being forced to confront a lifetime of sins (or merely a set of severe sins which hurt other people) is a natural and healthy human inclination.

Tate Martell didn’t do that. He ran his mouth and had an inflated opinion of himself, as a college athlete who is trying to square himself with how the world works.

Martell has a lot to learn, and this could merely be a case of a prima donna and a bully getting a splash of cold water in his face — which will hopefully awaken him to the need to reform his behavior — but if this is something a little more serious than that, the derision which flowed through Twitter on Monday will hopefully give way to a more concerned and empathetic mindset among college football fans.

Yes, Tate Martell needs to clean up his act… but we don’t have to dine on the drama of another person’s life like a bunch of teenage girls.

Don Draper knows how to handle this latest “plot twist” in the world of Miami football.

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Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes name Jarren Williams starting QB

Jamil King

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes have officially named the starting quarterback for the start of the 2019 season, and no, it is not Tate Martell the former Ohio State Buckeye and former 5 star recruit.

Further, it is not last years end of season starter, N’Kosi Perry.

Yes, It is Jarren Williams (shown above at the Canes Spring game), a former 4-star recruit, who was red-shirted last season.

Head coach Manny Diaz announced Monday that Williams will be under center, when the Hurricanes season begins against Florida next Saturday in Orlando:

Williams, who has been praised for having the best arm of the group, indeed used that to win this job.
And, he beat out a guy, who transferred from the Buckeyes with a lot of hype in Martell. He also could have transferred on his own, when last season he saw almost no game action, even though Perry and senior Malik Rosier were struggling to lead the offense to points.

Williams played in only one game last season, completing 1 of 3 passes for 17 yards, and running twice for 2 yards and a touchdown in a win over Savannah State.

New offensive coordinator Dan Enos brought in a new offensive system, and it seems as the strong-armed QB was the best man for the job over the up and down Perry and the elusive Martell.

Williams though isn’t a bad athlete he hit 20 miles an hour this summer and can run if needed. He threw for 3,000 yards and ran for another 500 yards in his senior year in Lawrenceville, GA, two years ago.

The question for Miami now is who is going to be QB 2 and will anyone transfer out of the program?

Martell was granted a waiver to get immediate eligibility so would he leave just as fast as he came?
Will Perry stay to fight for the job that was previously his?

Those questions could be answered over the course of August and September.

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