Manny Diaz wants Miami football to play competitively and with passion

CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: Manny Diaz of the Miami Hurricanes addresses the media during his introductory press conference in the Mann Auditorium at the Schwartz Center on January 2, 2019 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: Manny Diaz of the Miami Hurricanes addresses the media during his introductory press conference in the Mann Auditorium at the Schwartz Center on January 2, 2019 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Speaking at the Brian Piccolo awards in Coral Springs on Thursday night Miami football head coach Manny Diaz gave five pillars he wants the Hurricanes to follow. Canes Warning covered the first three. The final two are competitive excellence and passion.

Christy Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel attended the Brian Piccolo Awards recognizing outstanding high school seniors that have finished their football careers in South Florida. She did a stellar job transcribing Manny Diaz’s speech and what his goals are expectations are the for the Miami football team are during his tenure.

One of the biggest criticisms of Diaz’s predecessor Mark Richt was his outward appearance of a lack of passion. His supporters, including Miami football game analyst and former Hurricanes center Don Bailey Jr, have said Richt is inwardly passionate. Richt’s offense frequently seemed lethargic during his three-year tenure.

Diaz has stressed competition and the importance of every starter on the Miami Football roster facing a challenge to keep their status on the first team. He continued in his speech to stress the importance of competition at a school with the tradition and stature that comes with being a part of the Hurricanes football program.

"“We have decided at the University of Miami that everything we do now is a competition. If we go to class, it’s a competition. If we go to study hall, it’s a competition. We compete over everything. We gathered into teams — we all want to compete individually, but we know we’re much more responsible to a group.So we divided our team into units and teams and it’s amazing how all of a sudden, if there’s a scoreboard, you want to what? You want to win. You live in a life where you realize that winners win and winners get the rewards in life. It’s there, but you have to fight upstream for that.”If we have great integrity, we have great toughness, we have great passion, if we compete in everything we do, then the last thing we have to be known by is our trust. The way we define trust is this: consistency over time.If I sat here tonight and I gave you a speech and you took something from it and I said, ‘I really want you to trust me in what I’m saying,’ everybody would nod their head, but what would they say next? You have to show us. Show us over what? Show us over time.“One month out of the year, you can forget about finding me. I may not come home, she’ll (his wife Stephanie) never know where I’m at. I’m sleeping in the bushes out front.’ I’ll be like, ‘That’s okay, right?’…The players are stunned. They say, ‘No, coach, that sounds awful.’ I say to them, ‘What do you mean that sounds awful? That’s an 11-1 season. That’s a winning season. We’d take 11-1 right now.’Teachers in the back, I know if you give a 12-question test and I get 11 right, heck, I went to Florida State, but I know that’s an ‘A.’ I know that’s better than 90 percent. They’re like, ‘Coach, you can’t do that!’ and I say, ‘What are you telling me? There’s seven days in the week.For six days of the week, I’m going to be a great dad to my three boys. You know what I mean? Do whatever they want, play catch, dad, you’re the greatest.Then one day of the week, I lock them in the closet and leave them in there banging dad let us out … I say, that’s fine right, six out of seven?’ And they say ‘Coach, you can’t do that. …"

"Coach, you have to be the same guy every day.’ Say that into my good ear — that’s a hard concept to be now. It’s hard to be the same guy every day, but in reality, that’s what greatness is. Greatness is being the same guy every day.Let’s put a bow on this for a second. I was talking about football — if I have a football team that I know is playing with great integrity, we’re the toughest team on the field, we’re the most passionate team on the field, we compete in everything we do and we do our best when our best is required…Then, when you watch us play, it looks like we all trust each other…if a genie came out of a bottle and said the 2019 Hurricanes will do those five things, I know we’re good. I’ll sleep good at night.If we can be great at those five things, you can win beyond football. I listened to every one of your guys’ accolades tonight, and that’s what you’re doing. You want to be a champion in everything you do.You want to win in everything you do. Don’t ever stop that. Don’t ever lose that mentality, even if you get discouraged for whatever reason.”"

Playing with passion and competitive excellence are essential. Diaz spoke last month about wanting players that love football. Not just like football.

"“We’re trying to separate the guys that really like football from the guys that really love football…That’s why I love what our staff is doing. They’re being very demanding of our players – not just physically…but mentality. There’s a lot to learn and ultimately we’ll see who has the ability to keep up.”"

Miami players seemed to lack focus and enthusiasm at times in 2018. Some fans and media members have said that the Miami football team was not mentally tough enough during their four-game losing streak after a 5-1 start in 2018. That left the Hurricanes having to win one of their last two games to qualify for a bowl game.

Miami defeated a Virginia Tech team that had its own issues during the 2018 season. It’s commendable to win in Blacksburg, but doing so in 2018 didn’t have the same cache as in past seasons.

Next. Manny Diaz's vision for Miami football emphasizes integrity. dark

The Hurricane had their own motivation to defeat Coastal Division champion Pittsburgh who ended Miami’s 2017 undefeated season. Diaz has brought a different vibe to the Miami football program. The team should be more modern on and off the field and hopefully more passionate as well.