UM coach Manny Diaz comments on spring game
A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday:
▪ On a few occasions during the past five months, coach Manny Diaz has given us glimpses about what he really thinks about behind-the-scenes dynamics that needed to be fixed with the Hurricanes football team. He assuredly has shared many of those thoughts with athletic director Blake James behind closed doors, but only a few have been offered by Diaz for public consumption.
One thing that clearly bothered Diaz became public in an interview on a Jacksonville radio station in the past few days:
Appearing with former UM standout offensive lineman Leon Searcy, Diaz conceded that last season: “We had too many guys kind of OK with coming in second place on any given Saturday.”
Here was the context: Diaz explained that: “We’ve tried to make everything they do [this offseason] a competition — good incentive or negative incentive. To not accept defeat. Try to be a winning team but not accept losing, not tolerate losing. We had a little bit of that on our resume last year. We had too many guys kind of OK with coming in second place on any given Saturday.”
▪ Diaz expanded on that competition dynamic when he addressed an audience of Canes fans before the spring game in Orlando.
“Every drill we have two teams going against each other with a winner and loser,” Diaz said. “Winners get great things and losers get horrendous things…. [Strength and conditioning coach] David Feeley has a tremendous amount of ways to torture the human body. Losing will not be tolerated at Miami.”
▪ Couple other things from that Diaz radio interview: he said: “We don’t look at this as a rebuild thing; we’re trying to get this thing competitive for championships right away. That’s a big ask. “... He said “maybe the best recruit I signed was [offensive coordinator] Dan Enos.”
▪ Some notes on UM’s latest 2020 nonbinding commitment, Deerfield Beach and former Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas standout Xavier Restrepo: He can play either receiver or nickel corner, and UM is noncommittal about where he will end up... Recruiting guru Larry Blustein told me Restrepo is a “solid kid who is Braxton Berrios, only a step slower. Tough as nails. Plays on both sides of the ball, returns kicks, a great kid and has off-the-charts grades in the classroom. First to arrive and last to leave.”... Rivals rates him the 66th-best receiver in the 2020 class... Michigan, Georgia and Louisville were among his couple dozen offers.
▪ Hopefully from a UM perspective, former UM defensive lineman Demetrius Jackson’s appointment to the Miami Booker T. Washington coaching staff will give the Canes an edge at that school. UM landed a nonbinding 2021 commitment from Booker T. during the weekend, with defensive tackle Anthony Hundley announcing his plans to become a Cane.
Miami was appealing to Hundley because he wants his parents to be able to see his games, and his parents advocated he stay in South Florida for college. But Hundley cautioned to Rivals.com that his decision is not 100 percent, and he’s still open to other suitors.
▪ Quick stuff: If you missed it, UM booked a one-game football series against Southern Mississippi, which will visit Hard Rock Stadium in September 2022 with no return game in Hattiesburg. UM also plays at Texas A&M that season. Here’s a look at all of the nonconference games that the Canes have booked for the next 16 years.... Basketball coach Jim Larranaga told WQAM’s Joe Zagacki that “fans are really going to like” four-star incoming freshman Harlond Beverley: “He’s 6-5, a very, very gifted athlete, and I consider him a dynamic player along the lines of Lonnie Walker, Davon Reed, Bruce Brown, Sheldon McClellan.”… For 2020 recruiting, Larranaga said a lot of high school kids “want to see how well we do next year” before committing in the wake of the program’s worst season under Larranaga (albeit with valid reasons for that, headlined by the Dewan Hernandez NCAA suspension).