UAB experience and success concerns Miami football head coach Manny Diaz

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 19: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 19: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The experience and success that UAB has had over the past three seasons are concerning for the Miami football season opener for Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz.

The Miami football team will open their season on Thursday night against a UAB program with 28 victories over the last three seasons. The Blazers opened 2020 with a 45-35 victory over Central Arkansas last week. UAB will be the first of three games Miami plays in 2020 against top 10 teams in returning production.

The Blazers are eighth according to the SP+ rankings by ESPN college football metrics guru Bill Connolly. Miami head coach Manny Diaz mentioned the returning production that UAB has during his press conference on Monday to discuss the season opener against the Blazers and the depth chart released earlier in the day.

Miami ACC (any other year Coastal Divison) rivals Georgia Tech who is second and Virginia Tech who is sixth also rank in the top 10 nationally in returning production in 2020. The Yellow Jackets are first among teams playing this fall and the Hokies are fourth. Northwestern was first in returning production.

Earlier this year, Connolly called UAB a team to watch. UAB returns 81 percent of its production overall, 82 percent on offense to rank 14th and 80 percent on defense to rank 20th in FBS. Diaz discussed the success that UAB has had over the past three years and the experience they have returning on offense on Monday.

"“We have an opportunity to play a very good UAB team on Thursday night. It’s a team that’s already played a game. A team that’s used to winning, 28-wins over the last three years, two division championships. I think second or third in the country in terms of the most returning production and experience. A very old team.”Statistically, when you sort of look under the hood, they really don’t have a weakness. Pretty much everything they do, they do extraordinarily well…Our guys are excited to go play and then the fact that we will have some fans at Hard Rock Stadium.We didn’t know if we were going to have any, we didn’t know if we’d even be in Hard Rock Stadium. The fact that we’ll be able to be out there with some of our fans and see them again is exciting for all of our guys.”"

Getting used to playing in front of limited fans is something the Miami football team and college football programs will have to get used to nationally. Diaz discussed what the expectation will be playing without fans and how that has impacted other sports. UAB has already played their first game so they are used to that.

"“The other sports that have been playing have been playing without fans.Obviously, there were a couple games this past weekend, UAB played in front of some fans at Legion Field last week, but I think the conversations that have taken place with friends of mine in college football and parts of others sports is just the dynamic of team this year and how really important that is and how important the connections on a team are this year.You always say we’re all counting on each other, but this year we know we are all counting on one another and it’s just a different deal whether you’re looking at the way things have played out in the NBA bubble or will play out in college football.I think there’s a little bit of that unknown of how everybody will react to the unusual circumstances of 2020.”"

Diaz preached the importance of the culture on the Miami football team when he took over as head coach over 20 months ago. Without fans to provide momentum the players are going to have to rely on self-motivation and each other throughout games to stay focused. This season will be an unusual one for everyone.

Next. Miami first-team depth chart has no surprises. dark

Diaz also stated the importance of week-to-week not knowing who will be available the need to stay focused on each game. Playing and coaching week-to-week will be relevant throughout the football program. For now, the Miami football program is getting ready for week one and is focused on beating UAB.