By: David Franklin
Almost immediately after the hiring of new Miami HC Manny Diaz the term “The New Miami” started popping everywhere. As a fan base that so desperately wants to return to past football dominance we are all hanging our hats on a vision that points straight towards the future but one that has mentions of doing things like the days of old. We want to be dominant again sure, but first we’d like to be relevant. With the CFB Playoff system in full swing we want to be involved in or at least mentioned in that conversation and we want it to be something that is consistent every year. While we are all embracing the excitement and that “new car smell” with the changes going on let’s not forget we had a similar feeling not too long ago.
Before I go any further trust me, I’m not trying to take away from anything Coach Diaz is doing and I’m definitely not trying to take away from the excitement we’re experiencing right now. I’m fully behind the new staff and I’ve bought in completely, I’m a fan that’s what I do, but I can’t help but pump the brakes on occasion and remind myself that this new regime hasn’t won a game yet. I remember the day Mark Richt was hired and I will admit that I was a absolutely beside myself with excitement. There are plenty of fans who will claim they were never on board with that hire and if so then I guess you’re a lot smarter than me. I’m fine with that as I’ve never claimed to be able to see into the future and predict what will happen but on that day and after the years and years of frustration and disappointment it felt right to me. A known coach from the infamous SEC that although had no National Championship rings as a HC had been a contender for some time in what is supposedly the best conference in football. I mean if he could do that there then just imagine what he’ll do here. At least that’s what lots of us told ourselves. That whole era has now come and gone and for whatever reasons didn’t pan out. I’m not going to get into all of that, that’s not what this is about but nonetheless it does sit in the back of my mind. I just wanted to point to that because it does have bearing on and similarities to the feeling going around now.
So what’s going to be different now? Why buy in again? One of the first things Manny Diaz did when he arrived was replace the entire offensive staff. He received immediate praise for that. Now if you think back Mark Richt replaced the entire staff on both sides of the ball. He did offer a position to TE and former interim HC Larry Scott but other than that he made changes across the board. Another thing Coach Richt did was talk about local talent and recruiting “The State of Miami” which is another similarity to what we’re hearing now. I’m sure I could come up with several others but I think you get the picture. So again I ask you why buy in again?
Coach Richt called this a dream job but he also admitted that he fully intended to take one to two years off and step away from coaching after being let go from Georgia however he couldn’t pass up a chance to return to his alma mater. He was tired, exhausted and needed to recharge himself. Instead he jumped into trying to rebuild one of the most storied and recognized programs in sports and it didn’t take long for all the excitement and adrenaline to wear off. There have been other coaching changes as well in the last fifteen years,give or take a year, that didn’t work out but I’m not getting into every single one.
So now here we are. Several months into “The New Miami” with a new staff, new ideas, new expectations, and yes new hopes and dreams. So what’s different? Well to me CMD seems hungry, it seems he’s had that hunger for some time and it also seems that the let down from last year only added to that. With an defense that ranked at the top of college football it feels as though he wants to give those defensive players that have gave him their all something back. That defense carried this team solely on their back and especially last year and that was not because there was a lack of talent on the other side of the ball. There are playmakers on offense and Coach Diaz knows that and has watched it be misguided to the point he has taken it upon himself to fix. The changes he made with the coaching staff weren’t something that’s never been done before but at the time they were hard moved to make. He was an assistant with those men, friends and colleagues but he knew it needed a new feel. There were coaches on that staff that were liked by players and fans and he got lots of negativity for some of this moves. Manny Diaz has shown one thing consistent and that is the ability to do what is best for business no matter the situation. It’s that ability and attitude that will keep things on the right path. Do you think that if a player isn’t performing it’ll be looked over? Do you think personal feelings with a coach who can’t get the job done will come into play? We all saw examples of these very things with at least the last two coaching staffs but I believe those days are over. Manny Diaz wanted this job and I don’t see him allowing anyone else to ruin it for him. If he fails, he fails but it’ll be on his terms and that to me is one of the biggest parts to the foundation of The New Miami.