Mario Cristobal discusses changes and similiarties with Miami football return

Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

During ACC Kickoff last week, head coach Mario Cristobal discussed the differences and similarities with the Miami football program since he left over 20 years ago. Cristobal preceded the differences for Miami by discussing the difficulty of leaving what he build with the Oregon football program.

Cristobal was the head coach at Oregon from 2018 through 2022. Oregon was 35-13 under Cristobal. Cristobal improved Oregon after the Ducks fell from national prominence. Under Cristobal, Oregon signed an average recruiting class of 10.5 during his four seasons in Eugene.

The timing of leaving Oregon when his first recruiting class was about to enter their senior year was difficult for Cristobal. Oregon had the ninth most talented roster in college football in 2021, Miami was 13th. Cristobal has quickly helped upgrade the Miami football roster entering the 2022 season.

The Miami football program added 11 transfers and signed a class with 15 freshmen that were 16th in the 247 Sports composite rankings. Five of the transfers are on the defensive line. Cristobal added needed depth to the Miami DL. Cristobal discussed what it is going to take for the Miami football program to be successful.

"“Well, the first thing it still is a difficult choice because when you are a coach, you spend so much time trying to get to year four, five, six, right? That’s when your first recruiting class becomes juniors, seniors, right, or move on. That’s what we left behind. Well, arguably the best pool of talent that Oregon has seen in a long time.”Awesome guys and I’m wishing them the best. I don’t get caught up in nostalgia theater, I don’t, because times change and things change. What remains the same is that Greentree Practice Field, that the work done on there for decades.The best football players in college and professional football blood, sweat, and tears out there every single day. The camaraderie of the alumni and the current players was something that was always really strong and was a big reason why I wanted to go to Miami. I did.I loved going to practice and watching all these former players come back. They looked like assistant coaches. They would be jumping in there and coaching up guys.Probably upsetting the coaches that they were teaching probably a little bit better than some of them, but the amount of passion and true brotherhood behind it was something I was really attracted to.  I was attracted to the level have competition on the field. That field looked like game day.Practice looked like an absolute knock-out, drag-out championship game. I loved that. I was attracted to that. We want to attract guys that are attracted to that as well and that understand the balance that comes with being a great student and being a great member of society as well.I haven’t had much time to focus on anything else except doing what we can to get our players to their maximum potential.”"

Cristobal learned the culture he preaches as a player under Miami legends like Michael Irvin. As a former Miami player, Cristobal seems dedicated to getting alums more involved in the program. Unlike the previous staff, Miami does not have any alums as assistant coaches under Cristobal.

Hiring the best staff possible as it should be was the goal for Cristobal. Several alums are on the Miami staff in administrative roles. That includes former Miami safety Ed Reed who remains as chief of staff. Former defensive back coaches Mike Rumph and DeMarcus Van Dyke are on the Miami recruiting staff.

Cristobal is building a roster of elite talent that should make Greentree more competitive. Miami was able to connect elite NFL players to then-current Hurricanes. For the last 20 years, the amount of All-Pro and Pro Bowl players Miami has produced has diminished. Producing high draft picks will be one goal for Cristobal.

Next. Mario Cristobal happy with Maimi name, image and likeness. dark

For now, Miami will have a mix of current NFL players and the legends of the distant past related to the Hurricanes on the roster now. With the connections he has as a former player, graduate assistant and assistant coach, Cristobal will attract the Miami alums he wants to speak to the current Hurricanes.