UM introduces their 25th football coach, Manny Diaz
A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday:
▪ If Manny Diaz is as successful as a head coach as he has been in the social media game, then the Canes are destined for years of success.
Besides snagging several quality players in his first month as UM’s coach, Diaz also has proven a whiz at generating excitement among fans and recruits on Twitter, via creative GIFs (animated images) and clever tweets.
It’s no surprise Diaz is good at that. As defensive coordinator, he amused reporters with creative analogies. He studied journalism at Florida State and worked in production at ESPN before transitioning into coaching. So he’s more media savvy than many coaches.
So Diaz will tweet images of hurricanes after a player commits to the Canes. He tweeted a GIF of Prince holding up four fingers before UM announced that receiver Jeff Thomas, who wears No. 4, had been reinstated.
On a podcast with The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, he joked, after prodding from Feldman, that he was gunning for former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick’s job at one point when he worked at ESPN.
Of his frequent and creative use of social media, Diaz explained to Feldman: “If we played 162 or 82 games, it would be different. We play 12 plus and there are a lot of other days in the year. There’s a lot to talk about other than who won a game on Oct. 6.”
He admits that his “background of being on the media side and understanding what people want — that certainly helps.”
But he also said of his tweets: “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. We have to win the game.”
Diaz is still expanding his social media reach. He has 51,000 Twitter followers. Mark Richt, who was limited in his use of social media, has 407,000 — a figure achieved through his later years at Georgia and at Miami. (Richt hasn’t tweeted since leaving UM.)
In his chat with Feldman, Diaz also explained the thinking behind including #TNM with some of his tweets. That stands for “The New Miami.”
“You just wanted to create an image for your players that things are going to be different,” Diaz explained. “You want everyone in the locker room to know there would be a different culture in the building.
“You want everyone to know that the way we’re going to go about things is a little different. There’s a lot of amazing things Mark Richt did to advance the program the past three years. But things are going to be a little different. It’s the new Miami.”
▪ UM remains hopeful about landing New York-based three-star Class of 2019 defensive tackle Jared Hunte. This appears to be a two-team race between UM and Penn State. Rivals rates Hunte the No. 38 defensive tackle in this class.
▪ Four-star Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons Class of 2019 defensive end Kris Bogle met with UM officials at his home this week and will visit the Canes this week. Bogle remains an Alabama commit, and UF also remains in the mix. But UM believes it has a decent chance here.
Rivals rates Bogle the No. 66 player in the 2019 class.
▪ UM continues to pursue three-star Class of 2019 offensive tackle Darius Washington, but he remains a Mississippi State commit and FSU is making a hard push. The Canes would like to add more offensive line help.
▪ Linebacker Ja’Darien Boykin, who visited UM two weeks ago, told Canesport that he has ruled out Miami. And the Canes reportedly backed off pursuing him.
▪ Quick stuff: We’re told even though nothing has yet materialized, UM remains interested and in the mix for former Virginia Tech defensive end Trevon Hill, a grad transfer.... Hayden Mahoney, who started nine games for UM last season, joined Boston College as a grad transfer. Mahoney, Travis Homer and Jaquan Johnson were named to the ACC All-Academic team.