Manny Diaz pleased but looking for improvement after first scrimmage

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Speaking to the media after their first scrimmage of training camp Manny Diaz was pleased but hopes for improvement before the second scrimmage for the Miami football team.

Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz spoke about what how the Hurricanes looked on Sunday night, what to look ahead to and the play of the quarterbacks, running backs and defense. All three Miami QBs led a touchdown drive in the scrimmage. Canes Warning will cover that in a separate post.

Diaz opened his post-game meeting with the media discussing the difference for the players in practice and the scrimmage. The players had to know the plays during the scrimmage as opposed to the coaches telling them what they are supposed to do. The scrimmage was a necessity for the coaching staff to gauge where the players are.

Diaz was pleased with the effort the Miami football team gave on Sunday night but stated that a lot of improvement will be expected by the next scrimmage on Saturday. Getting in and out of the huddle, used to substitution patterns and knowing the plays are key elements for the Miami football team going forward.

The scrimmages allow the coaching staff to rate where each player is in the evaluation process before the season opener against Florida two weeks from Saturday. Manny Diaz and New Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos have stated that they will decide on a Starting QB two weeks before the opener. That is Saturday.

The focus for this article is on the rest of the team, the defense and the running game. Diaz was pleased with and covered all three in his meeting with the media post scrimmage.

"“We needed it…I thought our guys competed hard, but just in terms of the game day – getting in and out of the huddle, getting the plays called in, substitution – you can just tell the little differences between a practice when coaches have been in a player’s ear as opposed to when they have to go out here and show what they really know.So between this day and when we scrimmage next Saturday, we’ll be looking for a lot improvement in those areas.”"

The Miami running game will be the strength of the Hurricanes offense in 2019. Junior DeeJay Dallas ascends to first-team after backing up Travis Homer the last two seasons. Sophomore Cam’Ron Harris was impressive late in 2018. Redshirt sophomore Robert Burns looks for the first significant playing time of his career.

Lorenzo Lingard was impressive in six games as a freshman in 2018 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Lingard will be worked back slowly into the Miami lineup. Diaz spoke about Dallas and the play of wide receiver Mike Harley during the post-scrimmage.

"“DeeJay Dallas, I thought, ran the ball really well. Also caught a touchdown pass. Really versatile guy, which we’ve already known. I thought, in terms of his day running the ball, it was his best day of training camp.In the back end, down the field, Mike Harley looked really dynamic running routes, dynamic when he had the ball in his hands and had some really good runs after the catch. Other guys did some things too, but those two guys stood out.”"

Miami Hurricanes Football
Miami Hurricanes Football /

Miami Hurricanes Football

The strength of the Miami football team in 2019, as it has been the last three years will be its defense.

The Hurricanes linebacking corps of Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud entering their fourth year as starters will be the backbone of that. Diaz spoke about the play of the defense in the scrimmage.

"“Defensively, any time you scrimmage first, it’s your first time tackling,…Can we tackle? Can we get guys down in the open field? I didn’t see any long explosive plays break out due to missed tackles, so I thought that was a positive.We’re looking for some guys to step up in the secondary, so seeing a guy like Gurvan Hall with two interceptions – one was on a pick, the other was on an outstanding break where he made an outstanding play, that we think he’s that type of guy – was really encouraging.Upfront, we have to be a disruptive defense. A guy like Mike Pinckney, you see him popping through with a couple tackles for loss, which is right up his alley.”"

Harley will team with Junior Jeff Thomas and graduate transfer K.J. Osborn to give Miami a strong receiving corps. Behind them is a lot of talent but inexperience. Sophomores Brian Hightower, Dee Wiggins and Mark Pope and freshman Jeremiah Payton will compete for playing time.

The defensive line returns end Jonathan Garvin and tackle Pat Bethel. Manny Diaz wants his defense to continue to be disruptive and lead the country in tackles for loss as they did last season. Garvin was a major force in 2018. Garvin had 60 tackles, 17 TFLs and 5.5 sacks in 2018. Bethel is more of a steady than dominant player.

Defensive tackle Jon Ford and ends Trevon Hill and Greg Rousseau will be the player to watch who can become dominant forces for the Hurricanes defense. Hall will likely team will Amari Carter early in the season at safety. USC transfer Bubba Bolden has not enrolled yet. He will have a lot of catching up to do.

dark. Next. Miami football clearly team of 2000s

Miami co-defensive coordinator Blake Baker said last week that he expects Baker to be ready to play against Florida. With a year in the system for Hall and two for Carter, expect them to start against the Gators as Bolden gets used to Manny Diaz and Baker’s defense.