Barry Jackson

Here’s the thinking behind one of the big changes Diaz has made with UM players

UM introduces their 25th football coach, Manny Diaz

The University of Miami had its news conference to announce new head football coach Manny Diaz on Wednesday.
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The University of Miami had its news conference to announce new head football coach Manny Diaz on Wednesday.

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday:

We noted in a piece earlier this month that one of the first things Manny Diaz did as UM coach was appoint a bunch of players as team leaders and charge them with the task of keeping an eye on members of their group and holding them accountable.

Those player-leaders then “drafted” teammates who would be part of their groups.

Without offering details of his plan, Diaz discussed the importance of that concept in a podcast with The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman last week.

“All of the great Miami teams and great Miami players have without exception come back and said Miami’s great because the locker room controls the locker room,” Diaz said. “Ultimately, the pack corrects it.”

Diaz said he wants “to empower our leaders to jump start our leaders and create that culture where players create accountability inside the locker room.”

Diaz believes that positive peer pressure will help curtail some of the disciplinary issues because “it doesn’t make sense why you would let one of your brothers, one of your teammates, down.”

We’re told that Diaz named a bunch of designated leaders — primarily respected upperclassmen — and those players will look after the players that they select to join them in their groups. (Shaquille Quarterman is believed to be among those leaders.)

Players who commit violations — tardiness and far worse — will be subject to discipline, with pushing a weighted sled the most minor of the disciplinary consequences.

The appointed leaders are expected to carefully watch over those players on their “teams,” monitor their missteps, make sure they’re not slacking in their workouts or anything else and take ownership of their groups. Ultimately, the group leader will be held accountable if there are repeated missteps by somebody in their group.

Each leader and his group of players will be situated close to each other in the locker room and, ideally, work out together.

A couple recruiting notes: One thing we have been told is this staff is being more selective in players it offers in this sense: Miami is offering only players it believes have at least some interest in coming here. UM does not want to offer players who want to use the offer for self-promotion or parlay it into an offer elsewhere... Three-star Class of 2019 New York-based defensive tackle Jared Hunte said he will announce his college choice Friday. UM and Penn State reportedly are the top contenders... UM will have a bunch of highly rated Class of 2020 players at an elite junior day event on campus this weekend.

Former UM coach Howard Schnellenberger said his former UM backup quarterback, Mark Richt, probably made the right move by retiring.

“He’s better off leaving on his own volition than everyone getting on his [butt] if he stayed,” Schnellenberger told me, adding he hasn’t spoken to Richt since his retirement. “I can never remember [a college coach] doing this at 58, on his own volition [without health problems being involved]. He did a lot of winning in his career. What he did at Georgia was unreal.”

On Richt’s decision to walk away from about $18 million, Schnellenberger said: “he already had made enough, so that was easy.”

Schnellenberger doesn’t know Diaz but said Diaz has a built-in advantage because “he knows a lot about the program.”

Diaz, asked on that Feldman podcast who most influenced him in his coaching career, said: “You have to take a little from all people you worked with” and mentioned Chuck Amato, Rick Stockstill, Dan Mullen and Skip Holtz.

He said Seattle Seahawks coach “Pete Carroll had a great influence on me” with his videos on tackling, including “taking the head out of tackling.”

Asked by Feldman if he leaned on his father, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, for advice, Diaz said: “He was not mayor until I was at NC State. You learn you have to have a vision and be true to your vision and can’t really waver because of external things. You have to make sure you listen to smart people around you” and added that by “living life in the public eye,” you must accept “the good that’s going to come with that and the bad that’s going to come with that” for you and your family.

With UM basketball down to seven rotation players, why are the Canes redshirting center Rodney Miller?

Because that is Miller’s preference. He is using this season to polish his skills and get in better shape; he has already lost 30 pounds and needs to lose another 10 pounds. UM offered him the chance to play, but Miller believes it’s best to continue in the redshirt program this year, and Miami is fully supportive of that.

The most outrageous aspect of the Dewan Hernandez ruling is that UM says there is zero evidence that he took money from disgraced agent runner Christian Dawkins. There was evidence only that Hernandez agreed to do so before Dawkins was arrested.

That — combined with sharing a meal with Dawkins — should have resulted in a short suspension, not a suspension for all of this season and 40 percent of next season. Hernandez announced this week he will turn pro.

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