The University of Miami football staff is officially complete under new Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz. The defensive staff remained intact after finishing with one of the top defenses in the country last season. Upon his hire, Diaz made the decision to release all of the offensive staff from their duties. The former strength and conditioning coach was also let go and replaced with one of Diaz’s first hires during his brief time at Temple.
On the defensive side of the ball things may look different with Diaz presently being the head coach. One of his first moves as head coach was to bring in Blake Baker. During Diaz’s time at the University of Texas serving as defensive coordinator, Baker was one of his graduate assistants. He was also the safeties coach under Diaz in 2014 at Louisiana Tech.
The following season, when Diaz left for Mississippi State, Baker replaced him as coordinator. It’s fitting that he does the same in Miami as Diaz elevates to the head coach. Much of the same defensive principles that Diaz covets will continue under Baker. The Hurricanes finished as the number one team in the country in tackles for loss in 2018 and you should expect much of the same with Baker. In 2018, while at Louisiana Tech, his defense ranked 12th in the nation in the same category. All-American defensive end Jaylon Ferguson led the NCAA in sacks with 17.5 and finished second in the nation with 26.5 tackles for loss.
Co-Defensive Coordinator/ Safeties
Ephraim Banda is another Diaz pupil that was previously already on the staff. In addition to being familiar with Diaz, he also worked with Baker at Texas. While at Miami, Banda has coached the safeties position. In his first season at Miami, Banda worked with two safeties in Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter that are both in the NFL. After both safeties graduated, Banda worked with Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine. Both will be in the Reese’s Senior Bowl and are expected to be drafted.
Outside Linebackers/ Special Teams
Jonathan Patke worked under Diaz at Louisiana Tech and also at Mississippi State. Prior to becoming a full time coach at Miami, he served as a quality control analyst. Last season the Hurricanes made some minor changes to their defense and improved the total defense ranking.
The striker position, which is coached under Patke, helped the defense become more efficient. Romeo Finley was named the team’s most improved defensive player under Patke and nabbed two interceptions.
Unlike most of the coaches that had previous ties to Diaz, the defensive line coach did not. Jess Simpson was a long time high school coach in the state of Georgia and a person that Mark Richt thought highly of. In just his first season as coach of the Hurricanes, Simpson led one of the best defensive line units in the country. Senior Gerald Willis became an All-American and potential first round draft pick. He led the team with 18 tackles for loss with sophomore defensive end Jonathan Garvin behind him with 17.
Mike Rumph has more ties to the University of Miami because he won a national championship there. He also became a first round draft pick and now is in position to lead players to follow his footsteps. Under his tutelage, Miami had the number one pass defense in the country. Sophomore cornerback Trajan Bandy also made All-ACC while he tied for the team lead in interceptions with fellow cornerback Jhavonte Dean. Rumph’s impact developing his cornerbacks has been seen in the NFL Draft, as he will have another player drafted this season in Michael Jackson.
Manny Diaz promised to make a homerun hire with the offensive coordinator and he delivered. Dan Enos left the University of Alabama after all signs indicated he would be promoted to offensive coordinator next season. Many fans got to see the production under Tua Tagovailoa this season throwing 43 touchdowns to only six interceptions. Jalen Hurts also threw for a career high 72 percent under Enos. Prior to coaching at Alabama, Enos’ offense set several school records at Arkansas.
The offense was a major issue for Miami last season and quarterback play was a big reason for that. With the addition of Enos, look for the quarterbacks to get proper development and be put into better situations. His track record with the quarterbacks position fares good for the future of N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams.
Butch Barry is a long time assistant under Enos and last coached the position collegiately at Central Michigan. Recently Barry has been an assistant offensive line coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Miami will be dependent on Barry’s development as the offensive line loses three starters from last season.
Eric Hickson will lead the running backs position after leaving Kansas State to return back home to his native state of Florida. Having been raised in Fort Lauderdale, Hickson has several ties to the high schools in south Florida. Before he began coaching college football, Hickson coached Sony Michel in high school.
Miami made the move of adding Taylor Stubblefield as the wide receivers coach. If the name sounds familiar to college football fans, it’s because he is a former Biletnikoff finalist at Purdue. He ended his collegiate career as the NCAA leader in all time receptions. Stubblefield began coaching in 2007 and worked with Enos in 2011 at Central Michigan.
Most recently, Stubblefield coached Air Force receivers for the past two seasons. The Hurricanes receiving core will be led by Jeff Thomas, who led Miami in receiving.
Manny Diaz and the turnover chain found a way to make an appearance during the offseason. Originally Stephen Field was set to be the recruiting director at Louisville, but has left to become the new tight ends coach at Miami. The south Florida native will be making a return to the state where he coached high school football. Players like Artie Burns and Deandre Baker all played for Field at Miami Northwestern High School.
Although many know Field for his expertise in recruiting, he will be focused on the development of the young tight ends. Brevin Jordan returns as the starter with Will Mallory looking to become more of an impact in his second season.
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