Manny Diaz setting standard how to deal with Covid-19 and redefine bubble

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Manny Diaz continued to lead how college football head coaches should be tracking Covid-19 with their teams. In an appearance on ESPN Sportscenter on Friday Diaz continued to re-define what it means to be in the bubble.

Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz made multiple media appearances this week to discuss the upcoming football season. One of the most prevalent topics is how the Hurricanes are keeping the Covid-19 results to a minimum. The Miami football team has only had three positive tests results.

One of the topics that discussed frequently is the inability for college sports to create a bubble for their teams like the NBA, NHL and WNBA have done. Manny Diaz and the Miami Hurricanes are re-defining the bubble. Diaz has stated repeatedly this week that we all have a bubble. Anyone we come in contact with is in our bubble.

Diaz has made appearances on the Hochman and Crowder show on WQAM locally, the Packer and Durham Show on the ACC Network plus the Sportscenter appearance on Friday. In all three discussions, Diaz made clear that the idea of their bubble was the way Miami is keeping the positive COVID-19 tests to a minimum.

Diaz defined the bubble he wants his players to be aware of is anyone you allow within six feet of you no matter where you are, how conscious the Hurricanes players are being of near other people wearing a mask. Diaz emphasized keeping his players ahead of catching the test and not get complacent with negative tests.

"“There are people you’ve chosen to allow to get within 6 feet of you — whether that’s at work at ESPN or when you go home or when you go to the grocery store…We all have a bubble, and that bubble is who we allow in close contact with us without a mask.Now, certainly, we can think of the NBA bubble or going to Orlando and being completely isolated — we can’t do that. But we can determine who we allow into close contact with us, and for how long we allow them to be in close contact.” We always tell our guys, we’re only as good as our next test.We’ve had a good run now of negative tests, but it doesn’t matter. It takes one decision — it might be one member of the team — and we’ve gotta keep coronavirus out of this building. You cannot catch coronavirus playing football, but you can catch it outside of this building and bring it into the building.”Obviously having a conversation for 15 minutes vs. blocking each other, there’s a big difference. But this has been a battle against the virus but also a battle of narratives, and nowhere were you hearing how many players on the field were putting another player at any type of risk.There’s a perception that a practice is two hours with 22 guys in a pile. That’s really not the case, What it comes down to is your bubble is a lot smaller on the field than people think.”"

Diaz and Miami have been out in front of the COVID-19 virus for a few reasons. University of Miami President Julio Frenk is the former health minister of Mexico and is an expert on pandemics. Diaz conducted a study of the Hurricanes pre-pandemic practices to figure out the number of close contact players have in practice.

Manny Diaz and his staff examined seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 practices. The study revealed that social distancing happened naturally during practice. The study was done to help Miami use contact tracing if a Hurricanes player tests positive for COVID-19 and could allow Miami to have to quarantine far fewer players.

Diaz was proactive and shared the results from the Miami football program with the ACC. Miami’s biggest ACC Coastal Division rival Virginia Tech had their own study using the Miami formula and concluded with reaching the same results. Diaz appeared on ESPN Sportcenter on Friday to discuss the Hurricanes protocol.

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As the Hurricanes continue to go through training camp with the seasons less than four weeks away, Diaz and his staff are setting an example for the rest of the country to follow. Diaz acknowledged that they have been questioned just like other programs, but are continuing to keep protocols transparent with players.