Manny Diaz seventh in CBS Sports ACC Coaching rankings

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

After ranking fourth in the ACC among head coaches from The Sporting News, Manny Diaz is seventh in the conference from CBS Sports. The disparity in the rankings between the two sites is attributable to the uncertainty beyond National Championship winning coaches Dabo Swinney of Clemson and Mack Brown of North Carolina.

Manny Diaz gained more respect after Miami improved from 6-7 in his first season in 2019 to 8-3 last season. In addition to ranking seventh in the ACC, CBS Sports ranked Diaz 32nd overall among Power Five head coaches. The Hurricanes second-year boss is right in the middle among ACC and Power Five head coaches.

In 2020, Diaz was 58th overall and 13th in the ACC. Diaz has shown the willingness to make necessary changes to his staff. Miami hired a nearly entirely new offensive staff during the 2020 offseason. The Hurricanes revamped the defensive staff during the 2021 offseason. Gaining stability now will be important.

The next step for Diaz and the Miami football program is better performance and eventually winning big games. Miami was outscored 104-43. The Hurricanes fell behind 21-0 before rallying in a 37-34 loss to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl. Miami will be tested immediately in 2021 with the season opener against Alabama.

"7 Miami (Fla.)Manny Diaz (32 overall): After being the face of what he described as a “dark day” in Miami football history, Diaz has greatly changed his standing among his peers in both the ACC and Power Five in the eyes of our voters.Miami’s offensive woes had become so impactful that even very good defenses (that Diaz helped recruit and build under Mark Richt) eventually broke down against lesser opponents. The hire of Rhett Lashlee and the signing of D’Eriq King delivered on the promise of “The New Miami,” and 2020’s success has him soaring in our rankings.Last year: 13 in ACC"

The hiring of Lashlee during the 2020 offseason showed Diaz will take the initiative to put Miami in the best possible place to compete. Lashlee transformed Miami from an antiquated pro-style offense to the more modern up-tempo spread. It worked. Miami was significantly improved offensively in 2021.

Miami needs to re-build their defense in 2021 with Diaz retaking control. The key to the 2021 Miami football season will be the improvement of the defense. Clemson, North Carolina and Oklahoma State shredded the Miami defense. In previous seasons the Hurricanes defense was stifling.

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If Miami is going to contend in the ACC Coastal and for Diaz to continue to rise up the rankings among ACC head coaches, the Hurricanes need balance throughout the team. Defensive improvement in 2021 can lead to a special season. Miami needs to continue building on its 2020 success.