Manny Diaz refutes Kirk Herbstreit comments Miami administration not aligned for football

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz opened his weekly press conference by refuting comments by ESPN lead college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit that he is not aligned with University President Julio Frenk and Athletic Director Blake James on the direction of the program.

The comments from Herbstreit were in response to an article by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald about the state of the Miami football program. Jackson interviewed a Miami official, a former Hurricanes assistant coach an NFL scout, “a former All-American Canes player and two Board of Trustees members.”

Herbstreit discussed the fall of the Miami football program since national championship head coach Larry Coker left, the fact the Hurricanes have averaged 7-5 since then, a 45-minute drive for students to Hard Rock Stadium and the previously mentioned observation that the entire administration needs to be aligned.

Manny Diaz opening his press conference with a statement about Herbstreit’s comments clearly shows that the frustration with the observations from the lead ESPN College Football analyst. By discussing the comments before taking any questions, Diaz attempted to control the narrative of the Miami football program.

"“I actually want to start off with a response to some comments that were made this weekend on ESPN about our university and specifically about the administration at our university and the, the assumption that there’s a,  there’s a lack of carrying a lack of standards for athletics at the University of Miami.I just, I want to remind everybody it’s not 14 months ago when we’re in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic and the narrative was that there’s no way college football should go on in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, no way…and we were out on a practice field in August and it looked like the season was going to get canceled.In my eyes only through the leadership of our president Dr. Julio Frenk going on record as an expert in infectious diseases and saying not only can we have school on campus and the students on campus which was not a widely held belief at that time but we can play a college football season.Now that would be a strong take for someone that didn’t really seem that interested in athletics those two things don’t really add up and because of that we forget because we played a 2020 season not just at Miami, but everywhere…If they’re not been his leadership I don’t know if the ACC would have agreed to play…Without the ACC, the Big XII would have for sure dropped out and then the Big Ten and the Pac-12 had already you know said they were not going to play football so all the memories the records the performances from a year ago have a lot to do with how much Dr. Frenk feels about college athletics and specifically athletics at the University of Miami…Support from (the) administration of what it takes to win here now I will say this there will always be somebody with more resources and, and I will tell you that’s not a Miami problem that’s a college football problem with a capital P that no one really wants to talk about.I mean the growing disparity in the economic situations of the different athletic departments across college football and what you’re seeing now with conference expansion and and the tv rights and all this different stuff that’s a reality… I’ll tell you all three of those (President, A.D. and head coach) visions are are completely aligned”"

Diaz is likely to face criticism and skepticism for his comments. Former Miami All-American defensive back Bennie Blades tweeted over the weekend that he would like to meet with Frenk and James about the state of the football program. Many former Hurricanes are frustrated with how far Miami has fallen over the last 20 years.

This season marks the 20th and 30th anniversaries of the last two Miami national championships. Miami honored the 1991 team at halftime of the 38-17 loss to Michigan State last weekend. Those days are far behind the Hurricanes. There is no reason for Miami to not compete for ACC Coastal titles almost every season.

Manny Diaz and the Miami football program signed the 11th and 17th best classes in the last two recruiting cycles. He commented further on Monday that it takes time to rebuild the talent on the roster. This is not the 1980s, early 1990s and 2000 through 2003 when Miami could just reload.

Related Story. Bennie Blades wants meeting with Julio Frenk and Blake James. light

Manny Diaz has been for the most part transparent about where the Miami football program is currently. He has made the changes he believes are necessary to improve the program. The significant changes in the offensive coaching staff during the 2020 offseason and defensive staff in 2021 show support from at least James.

A coach has to be aligned with the A.D. to make new hires. How involved Frenk is, is debatable. Jackson is well connected. Jackson relayed in his words two realities with the Miami football program. “Frenk is largely unfazed by the situation…Miami likely doesn’t have the money to lure an elite proven coach to replace Diaz.”

Jackson also stated that “If this was Donna Shalala, she would be all over this. She wanted to be a winner all the time. Julio is not involved in sports. He’s not going to step in and say, ‘Let’s get rid of this coach.’ When Julio Frenk got here, he told Blake, ‘You’re on your own with sports.’ ” Frenk’s priorities appear elsewhere.

Next. Kirk Herbstreit criticism of Miami football makes statement. dark

The reality is the Miami football program has been stuck in the same cycle for the last 15 years as Herbstreit said. Even Manny Diaz discussed on Monday the need to accumulate recruiting classes. Diaz has upgraded the talent on the Hurricanes roster in his first two full classes. The development of the players is the next step.