Shaq Quarterman: Manny Diaz puts feeling of winning into everyone he coaches.

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /

Speaking at the ACC Kickoff on Thursday, Miami Hurricanes senior linebacker Shaq Quarterman said that Manny Diaz “puts the feeling of winning in everyone he coaches.”

Miami Hurricanes linebacker Shaq  Quarterman returns for his senior season and fourth year as a starter. With his peers at LB Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud who are also entering their fourth year as starters, no one knows Manny Diaz as well. Quarterman has his pulse of what Diaz expects from his players.

Shaq Quarterman spoke about the experience Miami has returning at LB, Diaz ascending to head coach and how that will permeate throughout the team, plus why he decided to return to Miami for his senior season.

Diaz has infused a new excitement into “The New Miami” Football program. Quarterman stayed that Diaz has “put the feeling of winning.” Diaz energy is exactly what Miami needs. On the Joe Rose show earlier this week former head coach Mark Richt said he didn’t have the energy to necessary to be the head coach at Miami.

Diaz will set high expectations for the Miami football program. His personality is very different from Richt. He is higher energy and more in touch with his players. Shaq Quarterman understands that and will be a big part of what Diaz expects as a senior leader.

"Q. What can you say about the return of this linebacker corps having so much experience, having the head coach be the former defensive coordinator, stepping into that role? Having your D coordinator, having your head coach. Then secondly what do you think about the linebacker corps having experience?SHAQUILLE QUARTERMAN: “First and foremost, it’s awesome for us to be able to start together. It rarely happens, you know. Especially for us to grow as close as we have from day one, being thrown in that fire with the trust of my coach over there. It’s just been really great.Throughout every year we’ve continued to grow, continued to grow closer together as brothers. To be able to finish off the senior year with them, it’s a testament to our brotherhood. It’s a great feeling to have. I wouldn’t want to do it without them.That’s even more rare. The mentality that he put inside of us, which has made us tremendous football players, is the same mentality that’s going across the whole team now.I think that is very, very dangerous because that guy, he has put the feeling of winning into everybody he coaches, everybody he talks to, everybody he mentors. It’s just a breath of fresh air.At the same time he always talks about two things: you’re defined by your toughness and your word. If you play the way with the mentality that he preaches, we’re going to be fine.”"

The lack of mental toughness at times hindered the Miami football team over the past year and the last three games of 2017. It allegedly caused a rift between the offense and the defense in 2018. No one would speak about it on the record. With Diaz as the head coach, the projection is a more united Miami football program.

"Q. Ever since you got to Miami, you were a starter. What has your experience taught you the most heading into this year?SHAQUILLE QUARTERMAN: “Heading into this year, I think every play counts. Freshman year, I didn’t know much about the innings and outings of football. I knew I could play hard. Before you have all the means to know about all the coverages, what the offense is trying to do to you, you knew how to play hard. From that year, that’s what I learned.I’m going to play hard regardless, give all my effort. No matter how many plays I have to play, 73 out of 76, North Carolina game, my freshman year, I played everyone at my 100%. Year in, year out, I took that. I think that was the most important lessons, first year was effort.After that it turned into, I know I can play now, I learned that my freshman year, now it’s about domination, proving I’m one of the top guys in America, in the country right now. Year in, year out, that’s what I’ve been working towards, pure domination. It’s not supposed to be fair.”"

Shaq Quarterman rarely comes out of the game. He is adept against the run and in pass coverage. Quarterman is the leader and heart and soul of the Miami defense. In his first season as head coach Diaz knows what to expect from Quarterman and the LB corps.

The trio of four-year starters and senior striker Romeo Finley understand their role and what’s expected of them. Quarterman, Pinckney, McCloud and Finley will leave a gaping hole in the Miami defense after the 2019 season concludes.

"THE MODERATOR: Might be the quote of the morning thus far, “It’s not supposed to be fair.” Shaq, take us through your decision to return, what the factors that decided you’d come back for your senior year?SHAQUILLE QUARTERMAN: “Talking with Coach Diaz, even Coach Richt at that time, it came down to what I honestly felt I was worth. A lot of guys come out their junior year, it’s becoming more of a fashion to do that. But I don’t think they understand the long-term results of what that does.A lot of guys, two out of three juniors that come out, don’t get drafted. The one that does, who’s to say he goes in the first round. So I didn’t see the reason in leaving a year early and leaving so much on the table.The fact that I get to graduate this year, the fact that I get to do it with my guys that I came in, I have my once defensive coordinator position, which is now my head coach, almost like the stars have aligned for me. I think that’s a tremendous blessing.”"

Quarterman could be referring to several former Miami teammates who left a year early for the NFL and were selected later than projected or wound up going undrafted completely. Quarterman was wise to return for his senior season. There is no guarantee it will make a difference but its unlikely to hinder his draft status.

"Q. Last year you had 14 tackles for loss. Obviously that is such a great thing to have in your arsenal. It puts the offense at a disadvantage. What is the key for you to getting more tackles for loss this year?SHAQUILLE QUARTERMAN: I think the key is just doing everything I did last year to be able to get those 14 tackles for loss, but everyone better. Being more in shape, being more intuitive, playing harder. On our defense, we had Johnny Garvin, I believe he had 17 or 18 TFLs. We have a lot of guys that get TFLs.We already understand there’s only so many opportunities because you have dogs around you that play just as hard as you do. That takes your competition to another level. When you have that, then you become the number one defense in the country, so."

Miami has the most disruptive defense in the nation in 2018. The Hurricanes led the country in TFLs last season. Blake Baker comes over from Louisiana Tech where he led the Bulldogs defense to 12th in FBS in TFLs per game. Baker joins safeties coach Ephraim Banda as the co-defensive coordinator.

Next. Manny Diaz stressed importance of new Miami culture at ACC Kickoff. dark

Diaz brought in Baker because he wants someone with the same attitude as him on defense. Miami will continue to use an attacking, get up the field defense as they have over the past three seasons. With Shaq Quarterman and his peers at LB, plus Garvin and graduate transfer DE Trevon Hill, expect more time in opponents backfields.