Here is the best quote I have ever read on “change.”
“One day or day one. You decide.”
The narrative is the same since the glory days for the Miami Hurricanes, season after season. Is this the Hurricanes team that will bring “The U,” to national prominence? In basic terms, return the swag to Coral Gables.
It starts one day or day one of the college football season. Promoted head coach Manny Diaz and his 2019 team will decide.
Before the 2017 season, when he was the defensive coordinator at Miami under former coach Mark Richt, Diaz was the mastermind behind the Turnover Chain. Two versions have been created. They are comically massive Cuban-link chain necklaces roughly 13 pounds of gaudy bling, given to a defensive player who gets a turnover in the game.
Diaz was able to bring a fantastic glaring symbol to a program removed from the glory days. Now, as the head coach, he has taken on the challenge of returning the program to its heyday.
Miami had one of the nation’s best defenses last year, but a disappointing offense saw the Hurricanes lose five games as a favorite, a 7-6 record with a terrible bowl loss. It all led to Richt retiring and Diaz as the new head coach. Diaz will not be your typical first-year coach as he has been with the program the last three seasons.
The defense is a top ten defense. It is headlined by linebackers Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, and Zach McCloud, in 2016 they were true freshman who started at the position, only improving the defense since stepping foot on campus. Last season, they were the number two, three and eighth ranked tacklers on the team. All three return for their senior season, making up one of the top LB units in the country. The depth is hurt since Waynmon Steed suffered an ACL injury and Bradley Jennings a hip injury in the spring.
The defensive backs are the biggest concern, Trajan Bandy being the only starter returning. Bandy was second-team ACC USC transfer Bubba Bolden compliments him. There are five scholarship defensive backs at the position; three true freshmen have been added after losing three drafted to the NFL.
Offensively, Diaz was actively utilizing the transfer portal this summer. Most of the players acquired from the portal will not start, KJ Osborn was an essential addition at the wide receiver position; he is expected to be a starter after finishing third team MAC with 892 receiving yards at Buffalo, averaging 16.8 yards. Receiver Jeff Thomas is back despite leaving with two games remaining last season he is their deep threat. Tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory are stable at the position and will compliment a new spread system.
Jarren Williams is the starting quarterback after competing with Ohio State transfer Tate Martell and N’Kosi Perry. Williams, a Georgia native, redshirted throughout last year’s QB struggles, but at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds with excellent mobility, he was Miami’s best combination of size and athleticism.
New offensive coordinator Dan Enos takes over after serving as quarterback coach at Alabama. His offense will be put to the test when the Hurricanes open against the Florida Gators and a better schedule from last season. And a solid shot at winning the coast. Miami has one of the nation’s top defenses leading them to be my favorite to win the ACC Coastal.