By Austin Payne
The Canes dropped their bowl game to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Thursday, a not so great Christmas gift to end a disappointing season in south Florida.
Miami Hurricanes Football doesn’t exactly carry that same mystique that it once did back when they were known as “The U” before they fell off dramatically within the last decade and a half or so. After capping off a 6-6 season with a bowl loss in a game which you were barely eligible for to begin with, the expectations have clearly changed drastically for the program.
In their first year under head coach Manny Diaz, the Hurricanes have experienced anything but consistency under his leadership tenure thus far. The season itself was rather up and down, leading up with two losses followed by two wins, a three game winning streak, as well as a three game losing streak to close out the season. Beating teams like a nationally ranked and somewhat talented Virginia team as well as Florida State, is rather perplexing when we juxtapose that with the fact that they lose to the likes of FIU and Duke later in the year.
Outside of their overall record they endured unknowns within the roster as well, i mean who’s the starting quarterback for this team? They bring in a high caliber recruit Tate Martell on transfer from Ohio State, N’Kosi Perry has shown flashes, and they end up starting the freshman Jarren Williams simply based on…maturity? Is that all? Despite the fact that Williams was chosen for the starting job, the team swapped back and forth between he and Perry throughout the season, hardly even letting Tate see the light of day it seems.
Manny Diaz seems to be taking a very conservative approach to taking over one of the loudest and most volatile names in college football, a school that has no association with such adjectives. This showed itself against a clearly superior LA Tech team when they managed to score a total of 0 points in what would have been a great nap time game. Veteran J’Marr Smith, his duo in the backfield, and an off game, (or really an off year) from Adrian Hardy was more than enough to polish off a directionless Miami team.
Smith is a redshirt senior, and will likely find himself on an NFL practice squad next season. Though LA Tech won this game and we appreciate their prospects talent, everyone knows that the storyline here is the U. As opposed to Tech’s QB situation, Miami has multiple with years of eligibility left, and what do they do with them? Having three QB’s who’ve either proven they could play or were highly recruited, i think it’s very likely we see at least one if not two split off this off season in the transfer portal.
If given some clear direction on who to go with due simply to less of an abundance, could Diaz manage to surpass 6 wins next season? Manny already has his own hate club, so it’s fair to assess that if we don’t see any improvements in year two from a coach who was a controversial choice to begin with…there will be changes again in Miami.