University of Miami

Podcast: What we learned from Manny Diaz’s first spring as coach of Miami Hurricanes

UM coach Manny Diaz comments on spring game

Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz comments on the team after the Miami Hurricanes spring game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, April 20, 2019.
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Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz comments on the team after the Miami Hurricanes spring game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Manny Diaz’s first spring as the coach of the Miami Hurricanes is in the books, and he finished it off in style Saturday in Orlando. With a booking conflict at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Diaz and the Hurricanes had to get creative for their spring game and gambled on an exhibition in Central Florida, deep in the heart of Florida Gators country.

It paid off. Miami brought out out more than 9,000 fans to watch its final scrimmage of the spring at Camping World Stadium. Diaz was able to deliver another fiery speech as part of his spring tour to Hurricanes fans in another part of the state, and Miami was clearly energized from a weekend outside South Florida.

It helped, of course, that the last practice of the spring went well — particularly for the Hurricanes’ quarterbacks. Tate Martell bounced back from an abysmal performance at the previous scrimmage at Traz Powell Stadium in Miami by throwing two touchdowns at the old Orlando Citrus Bowl. N’Kosi Perry continued his steady spring with another good day in the offense’s 35-32 win against the defense. Even Jarren Williams overcame an early safety and interception to throw one of the best passes of the day on a touchdown to tight end Will Mallory.

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David Wilson and Hurricanes beat writer Susan Miller Degnan were part of a big Miami Herald contingent to make the trip north up Florida’s Turnpike, and they wrap up the weekend — and the spring — with another edition of the Eye on the U podcast.

At the top, Wilson and Degnan break down Diaz’s risky decision to play the Hurricanes’ spring game so far from home, and why it could be a boon for Miami when it opens its season in Orlando against the Gators in August. Most of the talk, however, is dedicated to breaking down the quarterbacks, all of whom had their ups and downs throughout the spring, making it a clear three-way competition heading into the summer.

To wrap up the spring, Wilson and Degnan finish up by each naming a handful of their biggest surprises from the spring, including wide receivers K.J. Osborn and Jeremiah Payton, each of whom scored touchdowns Saturday.

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