MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Amidst all the commotion over the quarterback competition, Tuesday was a day for Miami Hurricanes coaches and players to talk defense.
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz made his mark in 2016, coaching the ‘Canes to a 14th national ranking in scoring defense. Miami ranked 6th in tackles for a loss. Both of those rankings indicate aggression, but Diaz wants to see more.
“We’re making a big point of emphasis to score on defense this year,” said Diaz, after Tuesday’s practice. “We’re practicing the procedure of turning defense into offense… day-to-day, everything we get, we’re trying to score on defense.”
Surely, Diaz would like to see more of what his players showed him in Miami’s October 1st, 2016 win over Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes scored a pair of defensive touchdowns within a 47 second span in that game.
First, linebacker Shaquille Quarterman returned a fumble 17 yards to the end zone. Moments later, defensive end Joe Jackson returned a fumble 18 yards for another score. Miami went on to win that game 35 to 21. Both Quarterman and Jackson are back this season as sophomores.
That was the past. Let’s get back to the present.
Diaz likes the way his players are going after the football in practice, saying, “You can tell they’re responding to the greater emphasis we have put on [causing turnovers]. We’re getting our hands on more balls.”
One player who’s stood out so far is transfer cornerback Dee Delaney. Delaney, a fifth year senior, played last season at The Citadel. Now, he’ll compete to fill the void left by standouts Corn Elder and Adrian Colbert.
“We brought [Delaney] in with the mentality that he would compete for a starting job,” Diaz said. “Not just with him, but with Jhavonte Dean, we had to bring in some quick fix guys.”
Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph also discussed Delaney’s progress on Tuesday.
“A pleasant surprise,” Rumph said of Delaney. “Just very strong, and physical, and athletic and, most of all, he’s almost taking control of my room already.”
It’s good to hear of a transfer senior bringing leadership. Adrian Colbert provided that last season after transferring in from Texas. Delaney could be well on his way to becoming this season’s Colbert.
Listen to Hurricanes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on The Joe Rose Show above.