The Manny Diaz era has officially hit a new low, and it feels like something we’ve said a few too many times in his first season as coach of the Miami Hurricanes.
Just eight days after the high point of Diaz’s tenure came with a win against the then-No. 20 Virginia Cavaliers on Oct. 11, the low point arrived in Miami Gardens. As an 18 1/2-point favorite, the Hurricanes fell to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 28-21 in overtime. They didn’t score a single point after halftime. They missed three field-goals attempts inside 35 yards. Miami gave up two nonoffensive touchdowns and missed 29 tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.
It was an outright disaster for the Hurricanes, who lost for the second time in 2019 as a double-digit favorite at home. David Wilson and Susan Miller Degnan, the Miami Herald’s Hurricanes beat writer, break it down from inside the press box at Hard Rock Stadium on the latest episode of the Eye on the U podcast and the reaction is not positive.
The big takeaway: It’s hard to squeeze anything positive out of the direction this season is going. Miami (3-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) seems to be regressing after some promising early-season performances and even the facets of the game the Hurricanes thought they could trust — their run defense and their wealth of talent at receiver — isn’t playing up to standard.
For the first time all year, Diaz called referred to his job in Coral Gables as “a rebuild,” but is there any merit in those words? Spoiler: We don’t feel the same as the first-year coach.
His job now, for myriad reasons, is different than the one he took after the end of last season. At the start of the year, Diaz touted a rebuilt — or at least rebuilding — culture in South Florida after infighting and discontent caused Miami to spiral from the Orange Bowl in 2017 to a four-game losing streak in 2018. The rest of Diaz’s first season will now be about making sure his team doesn’t go the way of former coach Mark Richt’s final one.
Nothing is going according to plan for the team picked to finish second in the Coastal Division ahead of the season and now travels to face the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday effectively out of the ace. A Diaz-led team does not look the same as a Diaz-led defense.