The Hurricanes Can Take Advantage of A Perfect Storm to Blow 2020 off the Hinges
Over the spring and the summer, I have waxed poetic with facts and numbers about why you should be hype about Miami. That all started ironically with hating hype:
“Miami has become much too interested in ACTING like Miami rather than BEING Miami. While growing up in Pittsburgh, there was a palpable FEAR of the Miami Hurricanes. We knew they would smack you in the mouth, take your cookies and laugh while doing it. Now, we get an act during the off season, get sold a bill of goods, all get incredibly excited, buy tickets, hotels, make plans and prepare for greatness. And each of the past decade plus years we have been let down, HARD.
What do we as fans need to wait for before any hype can be believed?
A prolonged dedication to a standard that works much more than it talks.
We need action and results more than anything. Championship Canes teams had swag on the field more than off of it.
We need to see that the holes we plugged are of the concrete type, and not the straw type that get blown away at the first chance of adversity (looking at you offensive changes of 2019).
Lastly, we need WINS. Real, decisive wins.
When Ed Reed arrived he felt the same way. He wanted Miami to earn it and get back to what he knew was winning football.
“We was about that life.”
Reed on who can be here and who can’t –
“If they’re not coachable and they don’t want to be a part of the University of Miami team, team first, they need not be here. They can go ahead and get in the transfer portal. Go ahead and go to another school. But I promise you we will coach those other kids up. And they will play their hearts out together. If you aren’t going to display togetherness on and off that field we don’t need you as a Hurricane because that is what we worry about.”
“With this role, I can tell the parents now, I can tell those kids (recruits) now: if you don’t want to be here, don’t come here. If you don’t want to work hard, don’t come here. If you don’t want to compete, DON’T. COME. HERE. Not while I’m around.”- Ed Reed
Reed set the example in the reason he came BACK –
“I’m not coaching for money. I don’t need this job. I didn’t come back to Miami for money. It ain’t about fixing it, it’s about having the standard that we had. Former Canes not seeing the standard.” – Ed Reed
Ed Reed has these men ready for war. Ready to put it all out there. Ready to make every, single, person, team, and organization FEEL Miami.
Because it means something to put on for your city. Even moreso in the South Florida area because of the hall of fame company you would keep as a star from the area. Doing that at Miami, with the new likeness rules, in front of the family, with championship aspirations, is something as mentioned, CAN NOT be had elsewhere.
Portrayal of Miami may very well be a new beginning as well. As the country continues a push in the arena of equality and resetting the narratives, there would be a new attractiveness about a team who’s history of treatment, nationally, would create a lot of olive branching and face-saving. After comments we’ve lived with as it pertains to Notre Dame, portrayals from the likes of people like Paul Finebaum and quick tongues using derogatory terms against our young men of the past and present, it would be an endless album of Keith Sweat-like apologies and overtures.
Most importantly, Miami could easily become the face of the sport once again, a thought I am sure the good ol’ boy networks would thoroughly enjoy (Sarcasm).
I know this practice in “what if’s” for Miami Football may be bordering on tired. We’ve been waiting for an end to this act for years. But as things begin to change, and the winds of fortune continue to blow the dirt off Miami’s mighty Green and Orange emblem, it is time to embrace it. “Tomorrow” needs to be retired from our fans thoughts and the reality of our strength NOW be realized.
Miami is now at the doorstep of being BACK. For the first time in an entirely too long time, Miami has what it takes to retake college football.
For the first time in SEVENTEEN years, Miami has established, RECENTLY PROVEN talent at the these three major spots for the Miami Hurricanes.
Thats not to say we haven’t had success at any of the those positions. Manny Diaz, Jedd Fisch and Brad Kaaya have all had very good success while at Miami. But there has never been success from all three at the same time, let alone pedigree.
That’s quite possibly the largest, most important resolution we have coming from this offseason.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Unsurprisingly, Manny Diaz has sought a signal thrower in back to back offseasons. Last year is was fan favorite Tate Martell from the Ohio State University. The social media darling was a hot topic after his transfer to Miami but was a non factor on the field. Bringing Tate in was a risk despite his Elite 11, five star pedigree despite his lack of playing time.
Next up is D’Eriq King. In comparing King and Martell’s resumes, its easy to see that the staff learned from their previous dip for a Quarterback. Rather than going after a ballyhooed recruit without college proving, they went after most transfers that had previously been a starter or had multiple starts under their belt. The Canes hit a home run with King, who as a grad transfer, brings great experience and a win now mentality. His resumes proof of success is also a major factor for teammates who know that the new guy can win games and will demand the rest of the team get on his level.
2. Pass Rusher
Similar to the type of prospect the staff brought in with Tate Martell, Jaelan Phillips, from UCLA, was a five star player and number one player coming out of high school. However a limited amount of film prior to devastating injuries leave the buyer in wait and see mode. The most important difference between Martell and Phillips are the early reviews. For Tate it took almost all of spring for his first true, on field shining moment in the third spring game. For Phillips, it took but a few plays in the first week of spring camp for the staff to realize they had something special on their hands. Though its not even summer yet the early returns are promising. The freakishly athletic defensive end should be a larger part of the defensive attack.
Following the trend set with the quarterback transfers, Miami brought in another experienced highly successful grad transfer in Quincy Roche. The former Temple Owl brings a heavy resume as arguably the top returning pass rusher in college football. Similar to King, Roche has a win now work ethic that the coaches hope will become contagious among his position room and the defense. Another notable similarity to King notates another trend by the staff from year 1 to year 2. Stars no longer matter. Results are king when looking at the top two additions for this offseason, as both King and Roche were low rated recruits out of high school with limited offers, while Martell and Phillips were top 50 players with astronomical ratings.
3. Offensive Tackle
From what we have seen from the tackle shopping in the portal, there is one certainty: They have been the hottest commodities and the hardest to obtain. While big time transfer end up at Alabama and Georgia, the mid tier are jumped on like toilet paper at Costco, with only scraps left to choose from.
Year 1 brought a transfer who, while had the results and maturity, lacked the production at a high level. Tommy Kennedy came from FCS Butler, and was thought to be a talent that had the tackle agility but lacked the heft. Coaches hoped that some time in the weight program would get Kennedy adjusted to FBS football and a starting gig at Left Tackle. Well, after losing out on Left Tackle to a TRUE FRESHMEN, Kennedy’s lack of heft all but disqualified him from starting anywhere else on the line. Our Justin Dottavio posed a question and disqualifying answer with great foresight in his article on Kennedy last year.
Will he start?? If Kennedy isn’t starter ready right now it’s not even worth it.
No he didn’t, and no it was not.
This year Miami has the rare opportunity to not only add a Left Tackle with a high recruit pedigree, but a Grad Transfer with the same win now mentality as Roche and King. Firstly, the player Miami is SO fortunate to have landed via the portal, is one Issiah Walker. The Miami Norland grad made the quick transfer from the University of Florida back home to Miami after a moment of clarity that there was no place like home. Miami gains a great athlete at the tackle position who is very projectable and with enough ability to challenge for heavy snaps this season.
Speaking of King and a urgent mentality, it is his former teammate and hopeful next blind side guardian, Jarrid Williams, that Miami is tenaciously pursuing in the portal. The grad transfer is an excellent athlete with great feet, and has produced on the field, allowing only 2 sacks in 544 snaps during the 2018 season.
Not only that, but the whole team is ready to supplement these massive editions, particularly on defense, where Manny has built a roster that suits his defense perfectly.
Coach Manny Diaz is entering his 5th season building his defensive roster at the University of Miami. The level of skill at each position that he feels best suits what the scheme should be most successful should either be on the roster or very close. Looking back at the previous few years of rosters and primary contributors, it’s pretty interesting to see the progression from Mark D’Onofrio’s 3-4 optimized roster to Manny’s 4-3 hybrid.
Zach McCloud is the only Miami Hurricane with ties to the Al Golden regime.
As it stands now, the Hurricanes have excellent depth on the defensive line, linebacker and safety, with only cornerback left to establish strong depth. This seems to be by design, as Diaz likes to feature pass rushers and the middle of the field, building inside out, which often can leave the cornerback recruiting last to catch on
Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself: Three Hurricanes Ready to Top Their Positions Nationally told you that Brevin Jordan, Bubba Bolden and Jaelan Phillips will be holding positional trophies by years end or in the conversation.
Miami Hurricanes: Sky’s the Limit for Rhett’s Running Backs told you Rhett was going to have a virtual field day with the three headed monster in the Running back room and D’eriq King putting on a show.
What if the Miami Hurricanes went Spread in 2010: Teams Edition even told you what it might look like:
This all begs the question:
Kirk Herbstreit surely thinks so. And if you were with us in February, you would already know.
Once you are in the club, it becomes apparent quickly who belongs and who doesn’t. The next level of teams that went on to WIN their conference championship in 2019, or the exclusions that were included in the CFP, dramatically paced the ranks of the also rans. For the championship teams, the averages on defense went up only slightly, from 29th overall to 26th. The noticeable difference was on offense, where the ranks jump from 41st to 16th.
It is here we begin to see a true change in the game of football over time as offense has become the separator between good teams and GREAT teams. of the 60 teams that qualified for Tier 1, all but 7 teams with a top 20 offense (31 teams total) topped their Conference. And of those 7 to not win, 5 lost out to a superior offense.
Miami can be that.
So Here We Are:
It’s time to stop living in the past Canes fans.
But Stay with me and Forgive me.
But living in the past is what has kept the Miami Hurricanes at the threshold for nearly two decades. Its what keeps many a team from being good, great or elite.
Fear. Of the Threshold.
That means, in order for you to enter a new room, you have to exit the old one.
As much as we have wanted to discredit Coach Diaz for what transpired last year, for celebrating so many things before actually putting forward a winning product, one thing you can not call him is afraid to change.
Change has been possibly the only staple on offense. Coach Diaz has let go two offensive coordinators, a running backs coach, a tight ends coach, two offensive line coaches, and two wide receiver coaches. This to get to where we are now, with a coach in Coach Rhett Lashlee, who’s offense is the furthest thing from what we have seen on that side of the ball at any point this decade. It brought us to bring in two MORE offensive coordinators at wide receivers coach in Rob Likens, and offensive line Garin Justice. The latter hires marking the first time Miami has had this level of experience on the line maybe ever.
This favors what we saw with LSU, bringing diversified minds with varying degrees of success and perspective to create a hybrid to challenge anything college football has seen before.
I hear you fans, yes I am hyping, but its not because its fluff, its because its true.
Thats the last threshold that must be passed. As a fan base we’ve been crushed since the Fiesta Bowl. Every year worse than the last it seems. And it has created a cynicism that has permeated through most parts of our fan base.
I am part of it. I’ve been critical and dismissive in ways because I feel like I have seen this movie before. New this, new that, same story. But the issue is that is that we never really had ANYTHING new. Enos, Richts, Coleys, Whipples, Ficshs, different names same old pro styles. D’Nofrio, Lovett, Young, Walton and Shannon to an extent all failed to put players in the backfield until Diaz. He changed the paradigm and reintroduced HAVOC football.
Now Lashlee brings us offensive play calling that we haven’t come CLOSE to since Dennis Erickson. Embrace it! Stop being afraid to pump you team. Don’t be afraid to expect greatness! THIS IS MIAMI! We shouldn’t be behind anyone when it comes to innovation. We shouldn’t be behind ANYONE when it comes to have the best players! The ceiling is THE trophy and it should never change.
And now that we have passed the thresholds, lets get used to the NEW Miami.