Manny Diaz facing pivotal second season in 2019

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Manny Diaz enters his second season with the Miami football program facing a pivotal year to revitalize the Hurricanes following a 6-7 record in 2019.

There was a lot of hope entering the 2019 season for the Miami football program that Manny Diaz would energize the Hurricanes as head coach. Mark Richt was a more stoic personality as the Miami head coach than Diaz is. When hired to succeed Richt, Diaz fired the entire offensive coaching staff.

Dan Enos was hired as the new offensive coordinator after a successful season as the quarterback coach at Alabama tutoring Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. Miami began the 2019 season 6-4 and with a favorable schedule after a 52-27 victory over Louisville appeared to be ready to close the season on a six-game winning streak.

Losses to FIU, Duke and Louisiana Tech to finish 2019 put an end to momentum Miami built during a three-game winning streak. The offense sputtered, causing Diaz to make massive changes in the staff again. Rhett Lashlee was hired to replace Enos. Garin Justice is the new offensive line coach and Rob Likens wide receivers coach.

Diaz was named by CBSSports.Com as one of seven “College football coaches entering Year 2 who are facing defining campaigns in the 2020 season.” It was an uneven 2019 season for Miami. The Hurricanes began 0-2, won six of their next eight then finished with three-straight losses. Chip Patterson of CBS outlined Miami.

"Miami (Fla.)Manny Diaz — 2019 record: 6-7 | 2020 CBS Sports Coach Ranking: 58 (-1) |Outlook: Things went relatively well for Diaz in Year 1 coaching a program that he holds dear. Then came a crushing loss to neighbor FIU on the grounds of the old Orange Bowl that saw a listless performances from the Hurricanes who were coming off a bye.Diaz was left to take responsibility for what he called a “very, very dark night; one of the lowest points ever in this proud program’s history.” It was the third time, to that point, that Miami had suffered an outright loss when favored by at least 14 points and kickstarted one of the worst late-season collapses at the Power Five level.The Canes went on to lose to Duke in the regular-season finale and Louisiana Tech in the (Independence) bowl game, with offensive performances that were so woeful Diaz sought a new offensive coordinator and welcomed in Houston transfer quarterback D’Eriq King to provide a much-needed spark.Arguably no Year 2 coach needs to see things turn around in 2020 quite like Diaz, who, despite the shortcomings of last season, has enough talent on the roster to warrant betting odds that suggest the Hurricanes are one of the top choices to compete for an ACC Coastal Division title and a spot in the ACC Championship Game."

There are many ways to look at the 2019 Miami football season. Manny Diaz had a difficult first year as a head coach. Inconsistent play at QB, an unreliable kicking game and the three-losses as a double-digit favorite ultimately doomed the Hurricanes to a losing season. Miami can start by winning games they are expected to.

The schedule is more forgiving in 2020. Miami began the 2019 season with two games away from Hard Rock Stadium against Power Five opponents. The Hurricanes were the only Power Five team in 2019 that did not play a home game until their third game of the season. Miami begins 2020 with three straight home games.

Next. Miami football context of SMU 2019 offensive numbers. dark

The Hurricanes will be prohibitive favorites against Temple, Wagner and UAB. Starting out 3-0 before going to Michigan State will be imperative. The Spartans will be a winnable game as they have their own issues entering their first season under Mel Tucker who left Colorado for East Lansing.