Manny Diaz stressed importance of New Miami culture at ACC Kickoff

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) /

Manny Diaz has repeatedly spoken about instilling a new culture throughout the Miami football program since being hired in December. He outlined and continued to preach why and how at the ACC Kickoff on Thursday morning.

The criticism of Miami under the past coaching regime has been that the players have not lived up to their talent. Manny Diaz is determined to not let that happen during his tenure. Work ethic part of the reason K.J. Osborn was brought in as a graduate transfer at wide receiver. Osborn has quickly become a leader through his work ethic.

During Paradise Camp weekend, Miami legend Michael Irvin and his fellow alums told current players and recruits about the importance of working hard to get to where they want to be, Manny Diaz elaborated on that Thursday. He discussed the objective of the Miami football program rebranding themselves.

The New Miami has spawned the hashtag #TNM being used throughout the Miami Hurricanes fanbase and media. Diaz use of social media to excite everyone that follows the Miami football program throughout the last six and a half months has been frequent.

The hard work began with the hiring of David Feeley as the strength and conditioning coach. In his fourth offseason in the Miami football program, Diaz stated in January that he has never seen as many players in the weight room during voluntary workouts.

"“What we are trying to do, what we are doing at Miami, is we’re rebranding ourselves. We have to stop being known for having a team with a bunch of talented guys. Sitting around and talking about how talented we are doesn’t win us any games. We have to go back to being a bunch of hard-working guys.This is how Miami won in the past. All the greats that own this program, our former players, have told us repeatedly how do you win at Miami? You win at Miami by recruiting our footprint, then outworking everybody else.There’s not a coach in America that would say our team is not trying to out-work everybody else. It has to be a conscious choice.”"

Diaz was given a follow-up question later about his social media presence. He also spoke at length about the impact that Feeley has had.

"Q. You referred to social media as “an avenue of fun.” What do you do with social media, the positivity? Not just sharing things about football, but having some excitement with it, having some fun with it, embracing it in a world where some people use it negatively, some people positively.MANNY DIAZ: “Right. It’s free access to our fan base. Free access to recruits. It is something where you get to set the message, right? Let’s be very honest, the message at Miami was — we had a bad December at Miami. We really did. We didn’t finish our season off.We played very poorly in our bowl game. Recruiting was probably not going the way that we wanted it. So what do you want to do as a leader? What do you want to do as a staff? We have to reset."

Miami’s recruiting class dropped to 28th in 2019 after having the nation’s eight best class in 2018. Diaz upgraded the talent and experience on the roster by added seven players as transfers. That was in addition to offensive lineman Tommy Kennedy who signed in December before Richt announced his retirement.

Diaz used Twitter to create excitement in the fanbase and media. The above tweet with the TNM hashtag was frequently the post used to announce a new coaching hire, transfer or recruit committing to the Miami Football program. Diaz continued and spoke about the importance of controlling the message.

"The one thing you can do now in this day and age, you can determine the temperature in the room, reset the weather. The easiest way to do that is through social media. The players know I’m a naturally positive person any, upbeat person, and I do like a good laugh from time to time.We’ve had our share of good laughs on social media. I say this over and over and over again. Our program can’t be built on social media. You can’t build a program — again, there’s a lot of people that try to win from January until July, right? It’s getting real here really soon.For us, it gets real a week sooner than anybody else. I walk up and down these hallways, see these coaches who are like, I just got back from vacation. We’re on. We report one week from today. We practice in eight days. So it’s here for the Miami Hurricanes.As much fun as we’ve had on social media, that has helped alleviate some of the clouds that were on top of our program, what has been happening on the inside is real. That’s been what these guys have been doing with David Feeley, our strength and conditioning coach, while no one has been watching.There’s no hashtag for what is going on on that field, in that weight room. I promise you, that will have a lot more to do with our success than the fun we’re having on Twitter. But we’ll still have fun on Twitter.”"

The strength of the Miami team has been defense since Manny Diaz was hired by Richt to be the defensive coordinator for the 2016 season. That is expected to remain the same with Diaz ascending to head coach. The offense should be improved under new coordinator Dan Enos.

Diaz was asked about what the Hurricanes strengths are and what areas he is still concerned about.

"“Q. As you take over as head coach, you talked about eight days away, what do you view as the strengths of this football team, what are the areas you still have concerns in?MANNY DIAZ: Certainly our strength, one, you saw right there (referencing Shaq Quarterman). Obviously bringing back the oddity of having three starting linebackers who have started every game since their freshman year. The ability to have that, those are the decision-makers in the defense, the guys that have to make all the calls.They’ve seen it all in college football. They’re not going to be tricked. Their level of preparation…They have the ability now to influence the rest of the team. They have the ability now to make the players around them better.As good of a player as Shaq is, he’s going to be a great player this year because he’s going to make the guys around him better."

Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud have started together since they were freshmen. Not exactly every game, but Diaz is close enough. Quarterman has been second on Miami in tackles in each of the last three seasons. Pinckney was third in 2017 and ’18. Both are potential all-Americans in 2019.

After discussing the defense, Diaz turned to the strength of the Hurricanes on offense.

"“I think on the offensive side of the ball, with we have weapons, depth at running back, Cam’ron Harris, DeeJay Dallas, looking to getting Lorenzo Lingard back going. Robert Burns back going. We have four guys that can tote the rock. We have some tight ends we can use as weapons with Brevin Jordan, Will Mallory, Michael Irvin.We feel like we have some weapons.  The natural concerns everyone is going to have for Miami, everyone is going to want to talk about the quarterback position. I think the best recruit we signed this off-season was Dan Enos. The minute Dan walked on campus, I think all of our quarterbacks improved.I get the opportunity to sit in his meetings every day. Dan is outstanding with the way we mentors and tutors those guys. They have all improved. They all showed during spring practice they all can be the quarterback for the University of Miami Hurricanes.We went from January 1st not having a quarterback on our campus we could win with, to on April 20th we had three quarterbacks on our campus we could win with. We had to go into the summer, let those guys be on their own, when coaches around allowed to watch, really found out who would take control of the football team.Two of the guys want to be the quarterback at Miami, one of the guys has to be the quarterback at Miami. I don’t know which guy that is here. I’m going to find out here in the next two or three weeks. Whatever guy that is, he’ll take the first snap against Florida at Orlando on the 24th.”"

Quarterback is the position most on the minds of the media and fans. It has been the biggest topic of conversation during the offseason and will continue to be so through at least the season opener against Florida August 24. If the play at QB is not improved against the Gators the conversation about QB will continue.

The poor passing game for Miami in 2018 has been discussed ad nauseam throughout the offseason. It is critical that Enos develops the Hurricanes passing game this season. That might not be evident right away. It has to be a process and continue to develop. The protection on the offensive line is also vital.

"“The other two positions we have to shore up is the offensive line. My suspicion is they’ll play a lot better than a year ago, partially because of maturity, partially because of what we will ask them to do, partially because of confidence.I think all three of those things will have a dramatic impact on the way they played compared to a year ago. Then our depth in the secondary. We have some guys that can play in the secondary. This is the fun part about being a college football coach. We went through the same thing a year or two ago.After the ’16 season, we lost a couple great safeties in (Rayshawn) Jenkins and (Jamal) Carter. We had to move Sheldrick Redwine to safety and no one knew he could do it. Who is this De’Quan (Jaquan) Johnson character? Both of those guys were probably the best duos in college football the last couple of years.We lost Corn Elder to the Panthers. Michael Jackson came in, had a good season. We thought we recruited good options in our secondary, it’s time for those young guys to step up.THE MODERATOR: Miami, thanks a bunch. Good luck this year.MANNY DIAZ: Thank you. Thank you all for being here.”"

Next. Manny Diaz and Miami energy brought K.J. Osborn to Hurricanes. dark

Diaz has had a gleaming honeymoon period over the last six and a half months. Fans were already familiar with him and the vast majority of the Miami fans and media wanted Diaz as Richt’s replacement in 11 hour period when the Hurricanes coaching job was open. What occurs on August 24 will determine if it remains that way.