Zach McCloud approached Miami football coaching staff about redshirt

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Senior linebacker Zach McCloud approached the coaching staff for the Miami football team about the possibility of redshirting this season. Head coach Manny Diaz discussed McCloud’s decision to redshirt on the Joe Show on Monday morning.

Miami football head coach Manny Diaz was asked by Joe Rose on his morning show on WQAM 560 the Joe if senior linebacker Zach McCloud bought into the decision to redshirt him right away. Diaz stated that McCloud dictated the redshirt. McCloud was a three-year starter from his true freshman season in 2016.

McCloud has lost playing time over the last two seasons because of the implementation of the striker position on the defense for the Miami football team. He started 31 of the 39 games he played in from 2016-19 but had only made three tackles in three games this season.

Romeo Finley has received more playing time at striker. Finley has 14 tackles, three tackles for loss and one of Miami’s three interceptions this season. Finley has started three of the Hurricanes four games this season. He was injured against Central Michigan. Finley also started the four games last season that McCloud did not.

The striker is a hybrid of safety and linebacker that is supposed to allow Miami to get a player on the field who is equally adept against the run and in pass coverage. That has not always worked out this season. The Hurricanes pass defense which was the best in the nation in 2018 is 49th in 2019.

McCloud sitting out this season will give Miami an experienced player in a mostly inexperienced linebacking corps in 2020. Backing up Miami’s current starting linebackers, seniors Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney this season are freshman Sam Brooks and redshirt freshman Patrick Joyner.

Joyner is expected to make his season debut on Saturday against Virginia Tech after sitting out the first four games of 2019 with a leg injury. McCloud will lead a young 2020 linebacking unit that should also include veterans Bradley Jennings Jr. and Waynmon Steed who are injured and redshirt freshman Avery Huff.

Huff is sitting out the 2019 season as an academic redshirt. Miami will also bring in four freshman linebackers in the Class of 2020. It was a shrewd and selfless decision by McCloud to approach the coaching staff for the Miami football team to ask for a redshirt season. Diaz discussed the timeline of the decision with Rose.

"“We let Zach dictate that…Obviously he was in our plans going forward. Zach brought it forward to us that, ‘Hey if it’s possible, can I redshirt this year and come back next year?’.Certainly that benefits us because obviously when you lose two guys like Shaq [Quarterman] and [Mike] Pinckney next year, to still have a senior in that room would be a great benefit to our team a year from now. You know, it’s hard to take those guys off the field.And as you mentioned…a lot of times, with our striker position, we do only have two linebackers on the field at a time. But Zach is such a great young man for our program. He’s such a great young man for our university. That was a decision that was going to come from him.He has a game of eligibility left, so if there was ever a situation where we needed to put him in to finish a game, if we had an injury, he could do that. And if something happened — knock on wood — catastrophically, he knows that he could…We are preparing him every week as if he’s going to go in and play. And he knows that.So, if something unforeseen happens he could still go in and finish the rest of the season this season if his role expanded. But it’s a move that would benefit Zach and it benefits us as well.”"

Next. Miami football Jaelan Phillips not practicing as a redshirt. dark

In discussing the decision to redshirt McCloud last week, Diaz stated that the plan is for him to sit out the remainder of the Miami football games in the regular season and be able to play in the Hurricanes bowl game. McCloud has played three games this season. He can play in one more and maintain a redshirt season.