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Hurricanes morale being tested in Manny Diaz’s first season
Hurricanes morale being tested in Manny Diaz’s first season
Jun 24, 2024 2:29 AM

The rare five game homestand concluded with a very disappointing overtime loss to Georgia Tech and now back-to-back road games against Pittsburgh and Florida State awaits them.

According to expectations, the Miami Hurricanes were supposed to win all five home games and be well positioned for a spot at the ACC Championship Game. Instead they went 3-2 including a win against a ranked Virginia team.

“Last week, we just lost our focus,” said safety Gurvan Hall Jr.

Due to the losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, the criticism and skepticism towards first year head coach Manny Diaz is beginning to mount. Some on social media even went as far as to suggest that he should be fired and replaced with a big name coach. Saying “this is a rebuild” in his most recent postgame press conference set off fans and media alike due to it being contrary to the offseason hype that was “The New Miami.”

So far the players still support him.

“He’s still the head of the snake,” Hall said. “I mean, he coached the defense last year. We all believe in him. We all trust him.”

“There’s going to be criticism wherever you go,” said senior defensive tackle Pat Bethel, who went through three years of having Diaz as defensive coordinator before this season. “It don’t matter if you’re a meter maid. It don’t matter if you’re a doctor. It don’t matter if you work on the powerline. It’s going to be criticism regardless, and that’s just the way it is. We got to put our mindset and put our tunnel vision on so that we can do the job at hand. We can’t be worried about the outside world.”

Why does Bethel or the rest of his team still feel like Diaz is the right guy to lead them?

“He just is,” he said. “He’s a guy you’ve got to be around. He brings the same energy every day. He knows how to run the system. He knows how to coach. He knows exactly what he’s doing, so we trust him fully, and we’re all in for him.”

For better or for worst, the Hurricanes are stuck in the Manny Diaz experiment. It takes a lot of money to hire a head football coach and it takes just as much to fire him prematurely. Diaz has been with the team for three years as Mark Richt’s defensive coordinator prior to becoming the head coach so these are also his guys.

With road games against Pitt and Florida State coming up, Diaz may not afford to return to Miami empty handed.

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