Manny Diaz gives thoughts on new-look UNC, freshman QB Sam Howell ahead of ACC opener
University of Miami football coach Manny Diaz was back on 560 WQAM radio Wednesday morning for his usual weekly session after a crazy week that included the Hurricane Dorian saga for South Floridians — and now for the states north of Florida up the East Coast.
And those states include North Carolina, where Miami (0-1) is scheduled to play North Carolina (1-0) at 8 p.m. Saturday in Chapel Hill.
Diaz was not asked about the Hurricanes’ travel plans in light of the state of North Carolina gearing for the hurricane. Chapel Hill is about a 2 to 2 1/2-hour drive from the North Carolina coast. It is 18 miles northwest or about a 25-minute drive from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
At about 6 a.m Wednesday, Dorian was about 100 miles off the coast of Daytona Beach, moving north at 8 mph.
“This should take the core of the hurricane very near, or possibly over, the coasts of South and North Carolina on Thursday and Friday,’’ according to the National Hurricane Center in a Raleigh News & Observer report ... Therefore, even if Dorian does not make landfall, hurricane-force winds are expected to reach portions of the coast from central Florida to North Carolina.’’
Tar Heels spokesperson Steve Kirschner told The News & Observer on Tuesday morning, “We are monitoring the storm,’’ when asked if the school had any plans in regards to the upcoming game should the storm hit.
UM athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald on Tuesday afternoon that he doesn’t expect any changes.
“We are in communication with North Carolina officials and will continue to monitor the storm,’’ James said. “At this time, we do not believe there will be any changes to our plans.’’
Some Diaz quick hits from WQAM interview:
▪ On if quarterback/wide receiver Tate Martell will be used more as a receiver in the coming games: “Yeah, Tate adds a lot of versatility to your offense... We have some things that we can do with him. We can continue to build on that package… Yeah, I think a guy like that that has a unique skill set let’s just say... It’s a fun guy you can use in a lot of different, creative ways.’’
▪ On general play of UM’s wide receivers in the Hurricanes’ season-opening loss to the Florida Gators: “I thought they played well. When you watch the film you see the opportunities that were there. I think the first 12 plays of the game Jeff [Thomas] was open with a chance to be explosive and for one reason or another we couldn’t get the ball to him. … Once we get 11 guys kind of functioning together there are a lot of big plays to be made in this offense.”
▪ On offensive coordinator Dan Enos being publicly critical of quarterback Jarren Williams after the Florida game: “Dan also talked about all the things Jarren did right. We said this from Day One: we’re going to hold these guys to a very high standard. It’s funny how after Game One there’s a mentality of should we not hold them to a high standard... Protecting the quarterback is an 11-man job. And one thing that Dan Enos has been on point about since the very first practice is ‘Hey, quarterback, if you don’t want to get sacked, that’s up to you’ — in terms of the way that you move the pocket, in terms of the way you go through your reads, in terms of the way you get the ball out.’ Dan understands the position; He’s played the position.
“... Look the standard around here is not going to change. We’re going to hold our guys to that way and you know what? They like it. Because they like the consistency of it.”
▪ On who graded out well on defense : “[Defensive tackle] Jon Ford did a really nice job inside... He is certainly a guy that got out to a good start.. And [defensive end] Jonathan Garvin was almost unblockable by their front.’’