Manny Diaz: Bubba Bolden, Mike Harley and D’Eriq King setting work ethic example

Jul 21, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 21, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

When Manny Diaz was hired as the Miami Hurricanes head coach in December 2018, he preached about the importance of changing the culture. The Miami football program will have its most experienced team under Manny Diaz in 2021. A trio of players entering their fifth and sixth years in college will have a great impact.

Quarterback D’Eriq King, wide receiver Mike Harley and safety Bubba Bolden all made decisions to return to Miami for the 2021 season. Bolden, Harley and King have helped set the culture for Miami with their strong work ethic in the offseason. With 19 starters returning Miami has high expectations for the 2021 season.

Frequently criticism of the Miami football program in recent seasons has been that players were looking out too frequently for their own self-interests. Multiple players were leaving for the NFL early each year. The return of all but about a half dozen players for the 2021 season shows an improvement in the Miami culture.

The theme for the Miami football team in 2021 is bringing it back. Miami is living that theme with several players returning for bonus seasons and others who were eligible for the NFL Draft back with the Hurricanes. During ACC Kickoff Days last week, Manny Diaz spoke about the importance of Bolden, Harley and King.

"“I think it’s a little bit what I mentioned before. Number one, they’ve been phenomenal leaders their entire time here at Miami. But they’re back here for Miami to win. I think what we’ve recognized as a team is that when the team does well, all the individuals do well and that my individual goals can be met by the team meeting its goals.So the way that they can set an example for the way these guys work, I mean, think about the stories of Bubba and Mike (Harley) and D’Eriq, just in the off-season workouts. These guys, they’re not just going through the workouts, This is my last year, I’m going to do whatever. They’re smashing the run.If we’re running 110s, they’re not making the time, they’re racing the 110s. I’m a freshman watching that. People can say whatever they want to say, but ultimately we’re going to observe, I’m going to see what you’re doing.The way that they’ve worked from all of (strength and conditioning coach) Dave Feeley’s reports this summer, that’s the leadership, real leadership, maybe more so than the Hollywood speech of rah-rah, let’s go. Players will follow those that will set the example.There are three guys over there that have done a phenomenal job of doing that in the off-season."

Miami regained a winning culture last season for realistically the first time since 2017. The next step for Miami in 2021 is to win big games. Miami lost their three biggest games of the 2020 season. Having an experienced 2021 team should help build on their 8-3 2020 season. The older Miami players are setting an example.

Next. Miami 14th most stable team entering 2021 per ESPN metrics. dark

The Miami championship teams all had players set the culture. Diaz has intentionally created a roster with players that will lead others. King has been the perfect example of that. Diaz has frequently stated during the offseason that King is creating a culture within the QB unit that will last beyond his departure after the 2021 season.