Miami Hurricanes DC Manny Diaz Discusses Defensive Performance

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL – SEPTEMBER 23: A general view of banners outside Hard Rock Stadium prior to the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Toledo Rockets on September 23, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

Miami’s time off was more than just the three weeks in between games. The Hurricanes also had nine days off pre and post-Hurricane Irma. The Miami Hurricanes came out took control of the game offensively and defensively in the third quarter.

"“For those guys to go out and take control of the third quarter, there were things in the fourth quarter that we didn’t like, but probably a lot of the same issues that popped up in the second quarter popped up in the fourth quarter. There’s no nine days lay off. That’s never happened in a season. Where someone doesn’t practice or run or do anything, lift weights. And it’s hard to play football when you haven’t played in three straight weeks. And for those guys to go out and completely take over in the third quarter is one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen from the sideline.”"

The Hurricanes also struggled to get the right personnel on the field defensively. Diaz spoke about the Miami lack depth in the secondary and the experience his young players received against Toledo.

"“Our substitution patterns got all messed up. It was a scramble. The whole fourth quarter when we preferred a nickel defense we couldn’t (go with that). At times we weren’t sure what we could call on third down. You’re kind of staying lose and adjusted. Seeing what you got in some young guys. We have true freshmen in the secondary. We have 11 scholarship defensive backs at the University of Miami. You should have 16 on a team, so it’s sort of all hands-on deck and some guys got baptized by fire. They’ll be better for it down the road.”"

Miami’s inability to get off the field on third down has hindered them through their first two games. Bethune-Cookman went 8-17 of third down and 2-2 on fourth down. Toledo began the game converting 13 of 18 on third down.

The Hurricanes turned that around late. Miami stopped the Rockets on their last five attempts on third down.

"“Some of those were third and short and some of those were third in long, but third down is an execution down. We know that (Logan) Woodside is a fantastic quarterback and so what you see is when you’re not locked in, when you’re not properly leveraged, when you’re not dropping to the right spot or where you’re supposed to be on third down against a quarterback like Woodside he’s gonna put it in there. I felt a lot of that was self-inflicted."