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Miami Hurricanes

Manny Diaz leaving Miami giving Mark Richt “right kind of fear?”

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
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Certain situations and certain feelings have a way of focusing one’s emotions and sharpening our responses to problems.

Fear has a marvelous capacity to force human beings to shed their doubts. Fear can often enable human beings to shed a number of secondary concerns and focus on the one or two things which affect life and death, prosperity and poverty, or integrity and disgrace.

Fear can be a very destructive force, to be sure, but the right kind of fear makes our inner voice say to us, “Oh, sh**! You are in very deep trouble if you don’t do THIS, right now!” Fear can enable us to look squarely at problems, with no B.S. or pretense, and finally face up to the truth, if we tried to avoid it in the past, or if we hoped that our previous methods would sufficiently deal with a crisis

Fear can elicit needed — and properly-calibrated — change.

Focus on not just the change itself, but on calibrating that change properly.

Anyone can make changes in the midst of crisis. Making the right changes is what matters.

This is what Manny Diaz might have done for Mark Richt by leaving Miami for the head coaching position at Temple.

This move makes perfect sense for Diaz. Recent history has shown that if you coach well at Temple, you will soon get a Power Five head coaching job.

Al Golden did this, as Cane fans know all too well. Matt Rhule rode this train to Waco, Texas, and the Baylor Bears. Geoff Collins got a ticket to Atlanta to coach Georgia Tech. Diaz wants to join the parade to — and then from — Philadelphia, up the coaching ladder.

This not only requires Richt to hire a defensive coordinator of similar quality. It means that in light of the successes of Miami’s defense these past few seasons, Richt HAS to get the offense in order if 2019 is to be reasonably successful. If 2019 blows up to a degree which is even remotely similar to 2018, Richt will be on the hot seat. Even with his credentials and his history at The U, including his 2017 season, 2018 was such a mess that a similar 2019 might not be enough to keep him around.

Richt has to fix the offense. He might now need the offense to be a few notches better in 2019, compared to a world in which Diaz had stayed as defensive coordinator. Richt’s standards for improving the offense might now need to be elevated even more than he was previously projecting. It is a daunting challenge.

It is a source of undeniable stress — and again, it doesn’t even relate to the stressful-enough process of needing to find a replacement for Diaz as defensive coordinator.

If Richt had established various metrics in his mind for the 2019 offense, he probably has to elevate them to a degree if he wants the results he and the program need.

Hopefully for Richt, this isn’t merely a stressful time; if this loss for Miami is to have a silver lining, it must show that this stressful time is also a time in which Mark Richt’s veins and arteries are filled with the right kind of fear.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

Miami Hurricanes

Will Canes turn things around in home opener?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The excitement behind first year Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz is quickly losing steam as the once ACC powerhouse has now found themselves as an unranked, middle of the pack team in their conference with an 0-2 record. Granted, they have had some bigger tests than most teams in the first two weeks of play, but still, there is too much talent on this team to have had such a lackluster start.

So, today has to be the day for Diaz to see some success as he heads into his first home game as the Canes head coach. Even if it’s against an FCS team, it will give the Canes the boost they need to turn the season around. They have a lot of young talent who can certainly bring Miami back to its state of prominence and there is still a lot to be hopeful for as they head into their first kickoff in Hard Rock Stadium this season.

History is certainly on Miami’s side. In their all time series with Bethune-Cookman University, Miami has a perfect 4-0 mark against the Wildcats, winning all four games by 3o points or more. Also, Miami has not lost a home opener since 2006, and have emerged victorious in its last 12 home openers, most recently, a shoutout 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State last season.

Amidst the two early losses, RS Freshman QB Jarren Williams has looked strong. In his first ever collegiate start against Top 10 ranked Florida, Williams finished 19-for-30 for 214 yards and 1 TD. He looked even better in week two against ACC opponent North Carolina, throwing for 309 yards on 30-for-39 passing with two touchdowns and no picks. He’ll likely put up even bigger numbers today against a significantly weaker defense. He’s now the ranked fourth among ACC Quarterbacks.

Williams also has strong targets in RB DeeJay Dallas who rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries, averaging 7.6 yards per rush vs. UNC, as well as TE Brevin Jordan who leads the team with 161 receiving yards (80.5 per game).

On the defensive end, Miami has one the best linebacker trios in college football right now with Zach McCloud, Michael Pinckney & Shaq Quarterman. These three have started nearly every game together since arriving to University of Miami as early enrollees in 2016.

UM’s starting offensive line now has three freshman. True freshman LT Zion Nelson, redshirt freshman RT John Campbell, Jr. and true freshman Jakai Clark who made his first start against the Tar Heels. The young UM offensive line looked much improved in week two, but they still allowed four sacks and aren’t up to the caliber they need to be to be considered a solid offensive line. However, facing a FCS level opponent like Bethune-Cookman, the starting five on the offensive line should be able to grow confident together this week. 

Should Miami be upset with the way they’ve started this season, for sure. But, the 0-2 start does not have to reflect what the rest of the year will look like. This week is the perfect opportunity for the teams nine new starters so far this season to get more comfortable and build some confidence, and get the second string guys playing time to give the team more depth all around.

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Miami Hurricanes

Even with defeat Canes legend Irvin passionate about future

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI IS BACK!!!! Well, at least they are, according to Hurricanes legendary WR Michael Irvin and a social media post Monday morning.

First, Irvin was seen getting Canes fans hyped at a rally Friday night prior to Miami’s opening loss to rival Florida in Orlando Saturday night:

Irvin was also a guest on ESPN’s “College Gameday” show at Disney World and got very animated on Saturday morning with Gators legend/Heisman winner, Tim Tebow:

Well, despite the hype, the Hurricanes played a sloppy game with lots of penalties and turnovers. Some of this was to be expected with a first year head coach in Manny Diaz and a redshirt freshman QB making his first start in Jarren Williams. As we wrote though, Williams showed promise at times despite sacks and misfires, at times for the offense.

Well, Irvin was back on social media Monday (apparently after a morning workout) and wanted Canes fans to know he is encouraged and to keep that same energy even after the loss:

In the :60 post, Irvin made it very clear that the Canes “gave it to the Gators,” and he was so adamant about that, he even said it twice. He was also very encouraged about the way his team played, especially with multiple freshmen on the O-line and a young QB.

“If it weren’t for a few mistakes, the Canes would have walked away with the win!,” Irvin emphasized.

Irvin, who was a two time All American receiver for the Gators in the 80s, part of the 1987 National Championship team and later a Pro Football Hall of Famer with the Cowboys, was a good sport and congratulated the Gators. But, he did leave us with a great quote to end his speech,

“I don’t care what ya’ll say, we will never die. We will never quit, and we will never go anywhere. So, eat that on your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate.”

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