Manny Diaz Sr. and Manny Diaz Jr. on how running a city is similar to coaching a football team
A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Monday:
▪ Analytics have been an important component in baseball during the Moneyball era and also have gained added significance to NBA teams in recent years.
UM coach Manny Diaz sees this as an area that can help Canes football, too.
Diaz wants to continue former coach Mark Richt’s use of analytics and potentially build on it.
“We actually have been down the analytics road the last three years,” Diaz told me. “From what I see from my vantage point, it’s becoming like it has become in all sports, pretty mainstream. As a defensive coordinator, I could tell the difference in the way offenses were calling plays, maybe going for it on fourth down.
“Some of the things analytics were bringing into the game, I think it’s already upon us. We’ve been a part of that in the three years we’ve been in Miami as a staff. But I will always look through those things and look for anything that will give us an advantage.”
Does he want to do more analytics?
“We will do whatever we can that we feel like can give us an edge, so yeah,” Diaz said. “But defensively, I feel like I’ve been strong in that realm since Moneyball first came out.”
Diaz said “tendencies of other teams have been around forever.” But where analytics helps, he said, is various areas such as “fourth-down strategy, when to go for two, when to call timeout, when to go for an onside kick. You can bring it into recruiting aspects, too. You are just trying to put a measurement for what you’re doing [to confirm if it’s] the right thing [to do]. It’s upon us. If you’re not doing it, you’re behind.”
▪ Good to see cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph emerge with four-star Alabama-based cornerback Christian Williams on National Signing Day after having a few recruiting setbacks the past couple of years.
“I want to continue to get better, me as a recruiter,” Rumph said. “So many people have been supporting me to help me do my job as a recruiter. To see all of that coming together is huge for us. Huge. [Williams is] right along the line with [Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna cornerback and UM signee] Te’Cory Couch. … Those two kids wanted to be Hurricanes, and I hadn’t seen that in a while, where we weren’t second choices. This is where they want to be.”
▪ Add two more to the list of Class of 2020 quarterbacks to receive a scholarship offer from UM: Cincinnati-based three-star Evan Prater and three-star Haynes King based out of Longview, Texas. Both are considered dual-threat quarterbacks.
Prater led his school, Wyoming High, to an Ohio state title and threw for 2,181 yards, with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 1,788 yards and 32 touchdowns. Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Purdue are among schools that have made offers.
King, meanwhile, also led his Texas team to a state title (its first since 1927) and threw for 3,877 yards, 42 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 664 yards and eight touchdowns.
King has been linked to Baylor, Tennessee, TCU and Arkansas.
Among quarterbacks, UM previously offered Santa Ana, California-based Bryce Young, a Southern California nonbinding commit; Connecticut-based four-star prospect Tyler Van Dyke and Georgia-based three-star prospect Tee Webb.
▪ So how will this year’s grad transfer defensive tackle (former UCLA player Chigozie Nnoruka) be different from last year’s (Tito Odenigbo)?
“They’re similar in they’re big powerful guys,” Jess Simpson said before leaving his job as UM’s defensive line coach to take the same job with the Atlanta Falcons. “Chigozie shows some pass rush about him that I really, really like. Tito was freaky strong. I hope Chigozie has that in him.”
Former Akron defensive coordinator Todd Stroud is UM’s new defensive line coach.
▪ What can UM expect from former Southern Cal safety Bubba Bolden when he arrives on campus this summer?
“He’s more like Sheldrick Redwine, super athletic, long, 6-3, long arms, he’s physical,” safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda said.
“We went out there, met his family, were blown away by his mother and father, secured the commitment. … He had every school in the country trying to get into his house. When I walked in the house, he had five people in front of me trying to get there. But once he committed to us he was 100 percent committed. Bubba started this wave of [transfers] in our class, snowballed it, got it rolling. He’s highly coveted and we can’t wait to get him here. He’s super, super talented.”
▪ One UM official said even though Diaz has prioritized local recruiting, he’s determined to land elite players from out of town. He also wants his coaches taking the lead in evaluating prospects.
Former player personnel director Matt Doherty, who was replaced by Andy Vaughn, had wanted to evaluate players, according to a UM source, but Diaz prefers the person in that role be an organizer primarily, with some other responsibilities.
One other quick thing worth noting: Six Canes players deserve a ton of credit for spending the first five days of their ongoing spring break doing charitable work with children and others in the Dominican Republic as part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The six players are Mike Harley Jr., Amari Carter, Cade Weldon, Kai-Leon Herbert, Robert Burns and Michael Parrott. Good work by all of them.