A six-pack of UM notes on a Friday, a day before Miami’s opener:
• Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been showing his defense tape of the 1986 Miami Hurricanes defense, which featured Bennie Blades, Jerome Brown and Russell Maryland, among others, and were part of a Jimmy Johnson-coached team voted by Sports Illustrated as America’s Most Hated Team in History.
Chad Thomas said what Diaz wants UM defensive players to draw from that defense is “how they attack and play together, how all 11 swarm to the ball.”
• Diaz shared this advice on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline in advance of the 12:30 p.m. start against Bethune Cookman: “On Saturday, late in the game, your friend says, ‘I'm hot, I'm hot. I want to leave.’ You might want to stick around in the stands because we got some guys that might be worth watching all the way to the last whistle.”
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Among them: defensive ends D.J. Johnson and Jon Garvin and defensive tackle Jon Ford.
• Diaz said mid-August arrival Jon Ford will play Saturday.
Diaz compared Ford to the last gift under a Christmas tree: “It was a pretty awesome toy. It was a monster truck is what it was.”
Diaz said: “We knew the moment we started evaluating the class of 2017, he was a guy we knew he had potential to be a game changer on the inside. Now he's got to catch up. Ford, Garvin, DJ Johnson are three really good prospects for coach [Craig Kuligowski] to work with and three people who will factor in on Saturday.”
• UM people expect a big step from linebacker Zach McCloud.
“He is such a special young man,” Diaz told WQAM. “He brings a great attitude to work every day. Very physical player. As hard a hitter as we have on our defense and he's really improved his instincts and reads and understanding where to go. He is one of those guys you feel fortunate you have the opportunity to coach.”
• Mark Richt is feeling very good about his starting offensive line: Left tackle “Kc McDermott has been super solid, had a great camp. [Center] Tyler Gauthier has been great. Trevor Darling is a better guard than tackle.” And he also praised right tackle Tyree St. Louis.
• Richt said freshman center Corey Gaynor will play some fullback and that ballyhooed LSU transfer George Brown is “still not quite where we want him.”
UM hoped that Brown or promising freshman Kai-Leon Herbert would emerge at the No. 3 tackle so Miami wouldn’t have to shift Darling from guard to tackle if McDermott or St. Louis is injured. But Richt suggested that hasn’t happened.
This is my fifth nugget-filled UM post this week. Please click here and scroll down for the others: 10 things we’re hearing on the offense. 10 things we’re hearing on the defense; buzz on 10 key players, including NFL prospects; a change in UM’s game-day policy and other personnel items....
Here’s my post today with news on a Yankees executive of interest to Derek Jeter for a high-level Marlins job.