“It’s finally here.’’
That’s what Miami Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz said early Monday in his weekly radio interview with WQAM’s Joe Rose and Zach Krantz — and no doubt that’s what many Canes and Gators fans are thinking.
The Hurricanes meet the Florida Gators in the season opener at 7 p.m. Saturday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Diaz has switched his weekly game week news conferences from the usual Tuesday to Mondays, so we’ll have lots more later. But the question we were all waiting for came toward the end of the interview. And props to Krantz for his original delivery.
“Coach,” Krantz began, “just between me and you, you have a quarterback that didn’t get the starting position. Are we trying him out at a different position here? Maybe wide receiver? Maybe Tate Martell?”
Diaz wasn’t going to fall for that one.
“No,” the coach responded. “Right now we’re trying to figure out who our second quarterback is.”
The question was asked after it was learned that Martell practiced at receiver in Friday’s scrimmage. Martell was in the quarterback race to start but lost the competition, along with N’Kosi Perry, to redshirt freshman Jarren Williams. Williams was announced as the UM starter last Monday.
Another newsworthy question came earlier in the interview regarding safety Derrick Smith and cornerback Nigel Bethel, both of whom announced in the past few days they had entered the transfer portal and were no longer with the Hurricanes.
“Well, every situation is different,’’ Diaz said. “No two are the same. You have to treat all these guys as unique because they all are. We said this going in, that we were going to make competition king again here in our facility and on Greentree Field. … So different guys want to leave for different reasons. We wish them well but we move on with who we got.”
Rose asked what the best way to handle the transfer situation is for coaches.
“There’s a mix,’’ Diaz said. “You’re going to try to make sure you have the young man’s best interest at heart. Because they may be making immature, young decisions so you want to make sure they understand all the facts.That being said, yes, this is the Miami Hurricanes and we don’t have to beg anybody to play for Miami. We’re going to get this thing going with guys that value what it means to be a Hurricane and want to be here and will give whatever it takes to get this place on top.”
Rose also asked about social media between players on the Gators and Hurricanes.
Diaz: “From my vantage point with our guys, we’ve really been focused with working… They’re not awarding any points for social media snarkiness…
“Our guys, they’ve been good. They understand. On what platform would we have the ability to talk anyway? Look at our last appearance nationally. We have nothing to say other than we better be focused on our work and who we are and let that show Saturday night.”
The Hurricanes last played Dec. 27 against Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl, getting thoroughly dominated 35-3.
Regarding recruits Saturday, Diaz said, “They can’t be on the sidelines, but both schools do get a split of some tickets that can go to recruits. They’ll be in the stands and certainly they’ll be watching.’’