University of Miami

Manny Diaz explains why he picked Jarren Williams and how the other QBs reacted

Diaz: ‘We need a good old competition to find out who our best guys are.’

University of Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz talks about finding out who the best guys are on the defense.
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University of Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz talks about finding out who the best guys are on the defense.

Not long after Manny Diaz named Jarren Williams the Miami Hurricanes’ starting quarterback Monday, the initial excitement began to taper off and another question became a focus across the country: Will Tate Martell transfer again?

Although reported Martell did not attend a closed practice Monday, the quarterback did attend a postpractice team meeting later in the day and is expected to practice Tuesday.

Less than 24 hours after making his quarterback decision, Diaz made an appearance on The Joe Rose Show with Zach Krantz on WQAM and was asked about the situation with Martell, and how he and fellow quarterback N’Kosi Perry reacted to the decision to start Williams when Miami opens the season Aug. 24 against the Florida Gators.

“We told all the guys that the competition was very close, that by no means that even when Jarren won that doesn’t mean that he’s perfect and without flaws or the idea that he doesn’t have to improve,” Diaz told WQAM. “We told all of them that they made massive strides, that they’ve improved because they have. They’ve all really, really improved and they all need to continue to improve. I thought all three guys took it really well and everyone’s sort of like, ‘Let’s get back here. Let’s get back ready to work.’”

The decision ended a highly competitive, long-lasting quarterback competition in Coral Gables. Williams, Perry and Martell have all been vying for the job since January when Martell joined the Hurricanes as a transfer from the Ohio State Buckeyes.

While Perry started six games in 2018 and Martell came to South Florida as one of the most high-profile transfers in the country, Williams edged out the two redshirt sophomores when Diaz and offensive coordinator Dan Enos made their decision following Miami’s second scrimmage Saturday.

“What separated Jarren is just Jarren — his arm talent is obviously very, very good, and I think there’s some instinctual things in terms of understanding of position and quarterbacking,” Diaz said. “Just really having a great feel of where to go with the ball, and I think determination and toughness won out.”

The Hurricanes host their annual media day Tuesday, so Williams and his teammates will be able to give their initial public reactions to the decision after practice was closed to the media Monday.

Diaz expects the team to rally around Williams, which is part of why he didn’t want to name co-starters ahead of the season opener in Orlando. Diaz said Friday he doesn’t anticipate making any sort of quick quarterback change, and he reiterated the sentiment Tuesday after actually announcing his starter.

“To me, that’s all a part of it. That’s the nature of the position. You want one guy,” Diaz said. “I think I said for a long time we’ve been needing a guy to be our quarterback at Miami instead of going back and forth, so the team can really around and that the fan base can rally around. Now look: We’re going to be young, but that’s OK because we think the world of Jarren. We think we’ve got a guy we can rally behind and let’s go do it.”

This and that

Diaz also told WQAM the Hurricanes are, “not close to being able to announce a depth chart.”

Bubba Bolden, another high-profile transfer, will practice in pads for the first time Tuesday. The former Southern California Trojan is eligible to play in 2019 and competing for a spot in Miami’s safeties rotation.

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