CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Christmas came early for Manny Diaz and the new Miami Hurricanes coaching staff.
Spring ball has arrived and it brought an up-tempo, no nonsense first day to the practice field.
“What we have wanted to do was knock everybody out of their comfort zone,” said Diaz. “Which is ideally what we wanted. There’s not a guy on this field whose got it all figured out. That’s part of what we think is going to make us better.”
The excitement was real. From the players, coaches, and even alumni.
Hurricanes legends like Greg Olsen and Michael Irvin were on hand, dropping some knowledge on the current Canes.
It gave an old feel to the new Hurricanes.
“We got out of having fun and we got away from ourselves,” said linebacker Michael Pinckney. “The standard is something Coach Diaz is trying to set again. That the defense held ourselves to. We’re just trying to make it a team thing.”
As for the difference between previous years’ practices and now, another one of Miami’s linebackers explained it well.
“Just the pace and overall energy,” said Shaq Quarterman. “Coach Diaz, when he says ‘the new Miami’ he obviously meant it. He’s implementing things that stretch the mentality of the defense from last year across the team.”
New offensive coordinator Dan Enos was easy to spot.
His fiery on field personality matched an offense that featured more shifting and motion, a change from last year’s stuck-in-mud attack.
The first thing that Enos needs to do is find a quarterback to run his offense.
Nkosi Perry and Jarren Williams took first and second team snaps while Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, who was just cleared to play by the NCAA, certainly turned some heads.
“Extremely good athlete,” Enos said of Martell. “He’s got great lower body explosiveness. Really good short area quickness and he showed a very live arm today.”
Players on Miami’s offense also spoke highly of Martell.
“He’s a character dude,” said tight end Brevin Jordan. “He’s a 5’11” little white dude with tattoos, running around with high energy, cocky, just loves the swag. His swag is so Miami. He’s going to fit in.”
When asked about Martell’s game, Brevin simply said, “He’s elite, he’s elite, he’s elite. Simple as that.”
The Martell news could be a game changer, but this group says it didn’t matter who was playing quarterback come August because they say they the hype around the program is the real deal.
“Outside this building everyone feels the energy, everyone feels the passion of what’s going on,” said Diaz. “But inside this building, I think it is summed up by the Miami standard. And that’s really what it’s about. It’s a tangible thing. It’s a measurable thing.”
A term that several players mentioned Diaz using is ‘new Miami’.
“When he says the new Miami, he’s being for real ya’ll,” said Jordan. “The new Miami. We’re elite. Just tune in August 24th. Game 1. Brevin out.”
HBO Sports is buying into the hype as well. They had a crew in Coral Gables shooting a feature for Real Sports on Diaz and the Canes program.