Miami football needs 100 leaders to be successful

MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 18:(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 18:(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images) /

Football is the ultimate team sport. If one player blows an assignment it will likely ruin the entire play. Speaking at the Miami Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Miami football alums Vince Wilfork and Antrel Rolle spoke about what it will take for Miami to succeed.

Because of the importance of an entire football team on virtually every play, every player taking ownership of his responsibility is critical. Antrel Rolle stated that it will take 100 leaders for the Miami football program to return to greatness. If you add players on scholarship, walk-ons and staff that total more than 100.

Rolle and Vince Wilfork came joined the Miami football program as true freshmen in 2001. They were two of four true freshmen that contributed to the Hurricanes national championship that season. Rolle and Wilfork both had long NFL Careers and were Pro-Bowl players on Superbowl Champions with the Giants and Patriots.

The Miami football program has a long way to go to return to greatness. Glimpses were shown during the 2017 season. The Hurricanes took a big step backward in 2018 with a 7-6 record. Manny Diaz has re-installed a lot of the excitement in the Miami football program. All of that has been generated off the field.

Wilfork didn’t have much of a take on what to expect with the Diaz era ready to commence in less than four months. Rolle was far more elaborate than his former teammate and once Superbowl foe, about what their alma mater needs to do to become an elite program again. Rolle put the onus on the players.

Wilfork first stated he doesn’t know what to think about how and what needs to be done to get the Hurricanes back to greatness. Rolle had a lot of thoughts on what the players need to do to accept ownership of the Hurricanes becoming a great program again. Rolle and Wilfork were quoted by the Athletic’s Manny Navarro.

Vince Wilfork

"“There’s still a ways to go…I really don’t know what to think,”"

Antrel Rolle

"“Manny Diaz is an exciting guy. He’s a firecracker type of guy who brings the energy that we need. But you know as well as I know that UM has been in a slump for quite a number of years now and it’s going to take a lot more than the head coach to get those guys back. It’s going to take attitude. It’s going to take leadership.That’s something that I speak about all the time. We had phenomenal leaders. You see a guy like Ken Dorsey, 6-5, lanky guy, but the general that he was, he was phenomenal. I’ve never seen anything like it to this day on a collegiate level.Whatever he said, you had Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Jeremy Shockey, you had those guys to back you up. So, there was no way you were going to go against what Ken Dorsey said. But he didn’t just get that role, he earned that role. And I think that’s something that the younger guys have yet to do.You might have leaders, but what makes a strong collegiate team is not one, two, five, six leaders. It’s 100 leaders. I would love to get back the bragging rights that I once had when we’re talking about the University of MiamiI don’t doubt Manny Diaz and what he can do as a head coach. But as far as the players, they definitely have to show a lot more.”"

Miami lost a lot of leadership from the 2018 team. Safety Jaquan Johnson, running back Travis Homer and quarterback Malik Rosier had a lot of respect from their teammates in the Hurricanes locker room. Linebackers Michael Pinckney and Shaq Quarterman will lead the defense as seniors in 2019.

Graduate transfer wide receiver K.J. Osborn will likely be the only key “senior” that Miami has on offense. He has already gained a lot of respect from the receiving corps with the work ethic and the leadership he has shown the other wide receivers on Miami’s roster. Osborn will be a key player for Miami on and off the field in 2019.

More leaders are going to have to develop and step up. That’s the responsibility of both the coaching staff and the players themselves. As Rolle said leadership is earned not anointed. It will help if one of the leaders on offense comes from the starting QB.

Miami’s starting QB will not be determined until training camp. Diaz wants to have his starters determined about a week or two after training camp starts. The New Miami head coach wants to have as much time as possible to prepare for the season opener against Florida.

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That doesn’t give a lot of time for the UM signal caller to assume a leadership role. Commanding the huddle, the offensive unit and the locker room from the most critical position on the football team will be an important key to Miami’s success in 2019.