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.
Former Canes coach Golden apparently ready for trial against school
Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden is apparently about to have his day in court, while trying to recoup what he says is multi-millions of dollars that the University still owes him from firing him 5 years ago.
Miami Herald writer and columnist Barry Jackson had more on Monday evening that there apparently will not be a settlement by the school with the man that coached them for parts of five seasons in the 2010s.
UM schedule change, another new hire, Golden trial, why Ray Lewis says hiring Ed Reed is a ‘genius move,’ and Kosar weighs in. And more: https://t.co/MvTx7WxJND
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 4, 2020
Golden is seeking in excess of $3 million for what he says is compensation per his contract that he was owed when Miami terminated him in October of 2015 after a humiliating 58 – 0 lost to Clemson. The University says that Golden has been paid what the contract required.
As Jackson reported, there have already been depositions on both sides, including with Miami athletic director Blake James. And both James and Golden will be testifying in the civil suit about what went wrong and how it has not been rectified for almost three years, since the dispute started.
Golden came to Miami after having turned around the Temple football program, but only went 32 – 25 in his four plus seasons. He contends in a chain of emails that were obtained by the media recently, that the University mislead him about the Nevin Shapiro payment scandal and the punishments that Miami was going to receive for scholarship losses and a bowl ban.
He further contends that he asked for tough opponents like Wisconsin and Michigan State to be pushed back on the Canes schedule early in his tenure, while they were in the middle of the sanctions. However, that James would not relent, thereby, making it much tougher for Miami to compete and win.
The University has had no comment on the possible suit going to trial. Golden’s lawyer told the media recently that they are anxious to have their day in front of a judge and jury.
Golden has been a position coach in the NFL with the Detroit Lions the last two years. Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to find their footing with coach Manny Diaz coming off a dismal 6-7 season where they lost their last three games. That included a humiliating 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.
Hurricanes name College Hall of Famer Ed Reed Chief of Staff
The Miami Hurricanes are hoping to reestablish their winning ways, and coach Manny Diaz is starting 2020 by reaching back to a prominent member of their recent past to help them.
Diaz and the school announced Thursday afternoon that former All-American, National Champion and College and NFL Hall of Fame safety, Ed Reed, will be coming aboard as a newly-created “Chief of Staff” position for Hurricanes football:
Visits and vacations are nice, but there is no place like home.
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 30, 2020
As the school’s release said, Reed “will be responsible in advisory role of all aspects of the football program including strategic planning, quality control, operations, player evaluation and player Development among other duties.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ed back to Coral Gables,” Diaz said. “He is not only one of the most decorated players in Miami football history but also a devoted Cane who cares deeply about this program. All of our players, coaches and staff will be fortunate to tap into his experience, knowledge and passion on a regular basis.”
This hire comes on the heels of Miami apparently botching the hiring in a similar role of former star RB from the 80’s Alonzo Highsmith earlier this month. Highsmith negotiated with Diaz and AD Blake James about looking to come back to Coral Gables after having been in a similar role with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL this past year. Alas, they could not agree. Highsmith has since been fired after the Browns fired GM John Dorsey and shook up their front office.
As for the “Chief of Staff” position, numerous college programs, including Clemson Alabama and Georgia have a similar positions to aid and assist the head coach with the day-to-day administration of program.
You cannot find a more decorated Cane willing to help, as Reed was arguably the best safety in college football in the 2000s. Miami posted a 23 – 1 record over his final two seasons (’00-’01) and he was part of the 2001 BCS Championship team that finished 11-1 and destroyed Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.
Reed with a consensus First-team All-American in 2000 and 2001 and set the Hurricanes record for interceptions with 21 before leaving Coral Gables.
Reed was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 for his accomplishments.
Reed was later a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, playing at 11 sasons with them before playing his final year with the Texans and the Jets. He is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-Pro six times. Reed was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame year ago.
Read was not quoted in the release by the Hurricanes on Thursday afternoon.
However, he did participate earlier during Super Bowl week in Miami with former Hurricanes legendary coach Jimmy Johnson in a special program from Fox Sports with other famous Hurricane alumni like Michael Irvin.
"This is a moment in time that needed to be done and it couldn't have been done in a greater place." #TheReUnion, hosted by @FOXSports, made for great stories and honest discussion about the brotherhood formed only at The U. https://t.co/6bdlY8IQkV
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 30, 2020
The program called “The ReUnion” dealt with Miami trying to regain the winning ways and dominance of the 80s and 90s.
Miami stumbled to a 6-6 finish and then was embarrassed to end Diaz’s first season with a 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.