No one knows how good Manny Diaz will be as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, but it is widely acknowledged in the college football coaching industry that Diaz was ready to get a high-profile head coaching job. He deserved a shot. Now he has it.
Diaz patiently waited for his time. He paid his dues at Texas and Mississippi State and Miami and other places, then jumped at the chance to coach at Temple, when it seemed that Mark Richt would stay on for the 2019 season.
We all know what happened next.
Never having officially moved to Philadelphia, Diaz was back in a weekend blur to take over the Canes.
This was an unconventional path to the Miami head coaching job, but Diaz was — on the merits and under the specific circumstances — a perfectly reasonable and logical choice to become the next face of the program.
Let’s be very clear about this: Logical moves don’t necessarily work out. When a move doesn’t work out, that doesn’t automatically mean it was foolish or deficient.
Jim Harbaugh hasn’t worked out at Michigan. No one would say that was a dumb move.
Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics made so many moves to create a championship roster… and then, for whatever reason, the coach and players simply didn’t mesh well this past season, despite outmaneuvering the Philadelphia 76ers in the draft and getting Jayson Tatum instead of Markelle Fultz. Good moves did not lead to a good outcome It happens.
Diaz was — and is — a good move by Miami. Now it’s up to Diaz to make a good move become a fruitful and productive move.
This is where the discussion shifts to Dan Enos, as the 2019 season opener against the Florida Gators approaches.
Unproven head coaches have to get a lot of decisions right, few more centrally than the coordinators they pick, especially the “weakside” coordinator.
Diaz, as a veteran defensive coordinator, knows how to coach and oversee a defense, which reduces the significance of having Blake Baker and Ephraim Banda as co-defensive coordinators. Those positions aren’t insignificant, but they aren’t as vital to the staff and the fortunes of the program since Diaz can always offer a course correction if needed.
When one refers to a “weakside” coordinator, one is referring to the side of the ball which is NOT the head coach’s fundamental point of expertise. For Diaz, this is the offense.
Diaz will count on Enos to cultivate a quarterback and guide an offense Diaz might be responsible for shaping the culture of the program and hitting targets on the recruiting trail, but Enos is in many ways the man who will make the Canes sink or swim in the next few years.
Realize the world Enos is entering in the ACC Coastal this year. Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster — a legend of the sport — will coach his final season in Blacksburg after a third of a century with the program Virginia — picked by some to win the ACC Coastal this year — is led by Bronco Mendenhall, one of the better defensive minds in the sport.
New Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins figures to develop a formidable defense on The Flats in Atlanta. New North Carolina defensive coordinator Jay Bateman turned Army into an 11-win program and could be the reason the Tar Heels thrive in the course of time under Mack Brown, who is returning to Chapel Hill for a second tour of duty after a very successful first run in the 1990s.
The defensive minds in the 2019 ACC Coastal are waiting to smother Miami.
Dan Enos will match wits with those minds. More precisely, he will match wits with the ACC Coastal’s defensive wizards more than Manny Diaz will. It’s up to Diaz to contain Bryce Perkins of Virginia and outsmart Justin Fuente of Virginia Tech.
Enos has to guide the Hurricanes past Foster and Mendenhall in the two most important games of the season. He has to figure out Florida State’s defense as well.
Diaz will step into the cauldron of pressure, moving from the coordinator’s chair to the big throne in Coral Gables. Nick Saban is relatively unique in that his coordinators seem to change every single year, but the Alabama machine keeps rolling. That is not reflective of how most successful programs operate, partly because Alabama is not “most programs.”
The way things usually work is that head coaches need their coordinators — especially the “weakside” coordinator — to meet the challenge.
Diaz definitely needs Enos to hit his marks and deliver the goods this year.
The head coach might get the credit — and certainly, hiring the right coordinator is something for which a head coach deserves credit — but Manny Diaz probably won’t become a success as a collegiate head coach if Dan Enos falls short of the mark.
Keep that point squarely in mind before Miami’s season begins.
Not so fast on QB D’Eriq King coming to Hurricanes?
24 hours later it doesn’t look dead certain that Houston transfer quarterback D’Eriq King will end up at the University of Miami after all.
In fact, it may be several days before we know the coveted grad transfer QB decides to do.
This after a report Sunday out of Houston from Fox 26 Sports director Mark Berman ,who got comments from King about his short term plans and visits:
D’Eriq King (@DeriqKing_), who is transferring from @UHCougarFB, says he has yet to make a final decision on where he’s going: “I haven’t committed to anybody yet. I’m still looking at my options. I visited Miami. I liked it, but there are other options I’m still trying see to..” pic.twitter.com/E4kz2xypWR
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 19, 2020
It is interesting that King is considering Maryland in the mix in addition to powerhouse LSU and possibly trying to revitalize Miami.
As our Jamil King wrote on Sunday it looked like the Houston standout quarterback was “e-ticketed” for Coral Gables and to come as a package deal with newly hired offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Lashlee, who has previously been at Auburn and the SMU offensive coordinator the last couple of seasons, was hired two weeks ago to help jump start the Canes disastrous offense from the second half of last year.
Quarterback play plagued the Canes in 2019 with Jarren Williams showing flashes of great play followed by freshman mistakes and inconsistency. N’kosi Perry found his way into some games, but was also inconsistent in his own right. Miami suffered humiliating losses to FIU and at Duke to close the regular season.
Then, the Hurricanes were completely inept in the Independence Bowl, while being shut out 14-0. This, while rumors were swirling everywhere that coach Manny Diaz would be firing his first year offensive coordinator, Dan Enos. Enos, who had been the QB coach at Alabama, was fired the next day.
Back to King, if the Hurricanes are able to land him, they get a player who over his career at the University of Houston threw for 4,925 yards for an average of 8.2 yards per attempt and tossed 50 touchdowns with only ten interceptions.
King also completed almost 62% of his passes with the Cougars, adding another 28 touchdowns on the ground. He promises to bring some explosives, something the Canes desperately needed, if they can land him.
Hurricanes land Houston QB transfer King
Miami Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz found out very quickly that the life if a head coach isn’t an easy one. He saw his Miami Hurricane offense move nothing like a “Hurricane” at all.
Instead of fast and lethal, it was often slow and stagnant.
Thus, Diaz had to go in a different direction for his offense replacing his first-year offensive coordinator Dan Enos, and he made what looks to be like a strong hire in Rhett Lashlee, bringing his spread offense over from SMU.
Quarterback play plagued the Canes in 2019 with Jarren Williams showing flashes of great play followed by freshman mistakes and inconsistency. N’kosi Perry found his way into some games but was also inconsistent in his own right.\
With New OC Lashlee coming in, it was going to be interesting if either Williams or Perry could run the new system or if seldom used 2019 transfer Tate Martell may be the best fit?
All of those questions may be answered for us already with news coming out today on a new Miami quarterback entering the fold. Houston transfer D’Eriq King has decided to play for the Canes in 2020.
— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) January 19, 2020
King is an immediate upgrade in the QB room for a few different reasons for the Hurricanes in 2020. First, over his career at the University of Houston (above), King has thrown for 4,925 yards for an average of 8.2 yards per attempt and tossed 50 touchdowns with only ten interceptions.
King also completed almost 62% of his passes with the Cougars, adding another 28 touchdowns on the ground. The young man can flat out play ball, something the Canes desperately needed.
King is also going to be a leader in the locker room and the quarterback room. He is an older guy and will be someone everyone can look up to and listen to another coach on the field. King also brings the most to this offense.
He has the ability to make deep throws to the far side or hit a man in stride. He also brings the running ability to the offense that opens up a Pandora’s box for Lashlee. He can use the QB designed run, an option here and there, and lots of RPOs.
The addition of King is certainly an exciting one, and once again, for the second offseason in a row, there is new optimism on the offense in Coral Gables.
The question is this time will the excitement last longer into the season, and will it produce?
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