Before making the decision to add the responsibility of defensive coordinator, Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz spoke to his boss, athletic director Blake James about the move. James spoke to reporters on Tuesday and discussed the conversation he had with Diaz ahead of the decision to handle both jobs.
Manny Diaz announced in January he would be the defensive play-caller for Miami in 2021. After former defensive coordinator Blake Baker left for LSU earlier this month, Diaz announced on National Signing Day he would add the responsibility of defensive coordinator to head coach. Being a head coach and coordinator is unusual.
Diaz has been able to diagnose the flaws in the Miami football program and make the necessary changes on the staff and the roster since he was promoted to replace Mark Richt in December 2018. Miami has made major coaching staff changes and replaced a coordinator for the third straight offseason.
Miami hired Rhett Lashlee as the offensive coordinator to replace Dan Enos during the 2020 offseason. Diaz replaced nearly the entire defensive staff during this offseason. New defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and analyst Bob Shoop are likely to assist Diaz with defensive game planning in 2021.
"“We did talk about the balance of being the head coach versus being a coordinator. We had an open conversation, back and forth. Manny feels very confident in what his role will be and really in the support that he’ll receive from the staff that’s around him to have us ready to go on game day.A lot of conversations about, first, what his thoughts were after the season was over on what we need to look at doing differently, and how we would do that and who would help. I don’t think I would call it a stamp of approval.I would call it a good open dialogue and understanding what our expectations are of our football program, and there’s not a person who understands it more clearly than Manny.And I’m excited to continue to support him and that we’ve been able to make the changes we have, and I’m confident things will equate to even greater success in the future.”"
David Wilson of the Miami Herald transcribed the interview that James gave with reporters on Tuesday. Diaz lost a recently hired member of his defensive staff when linebackers coach Travis Williams left on Wednesday to become the coordianator at Central Florida under Gus Malzahn.
Williams previously worked under Malzahn for the last seven years at Auburn. The replacement for Williams will not be a DC. Its clear that Manny Diaz is the DC for the 2021 season. Depending on how the experiment goes with Diaz handling both DC and HC that could be revisited following the 2021 season.
The willingness for Diaz to make the changes neccessary improve the Miami football program is clearly important to James. Diaz has proven he values the success of the Hurricanes above loyalty to a specific coach or player. If someone is not doing the job, Diaz has frequently found someone else better able to succeed for Miami.