Miami Hurricanes: Everything Manny Diaz said after loss to Alabama – 247Sports

Miami dropped its season opener, 44-13, to Alabama on Saturday in Atlanta. It was a game that got away early for the No. 14 Hurricanes, who struggled to contain the Crimson Tide’s gauntlet of athletes.

“I thought the difference in the game was third down offense,” said Miami head coach Manny Diaz. “I thought the quarterback was able to make plays outside the pocket to extend drives. Their front was as advertised. Gave us a lot of trouble getting going. Like with all film, there will be plenty to correct and lots of positives we can take into Week 2.”

In Alabama redshirt freshman quarterback Bryce Young’s first career start, the Crimson Tide piled up 501 yards of total offense, including a 94-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter. The Hurricanes turned it over three times and were stopped inside the 1-yard line as they were trying to claw their way back into the game in the third.

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King finished with 178 yards passing, a touchdown and two interceptions agains the Crimson Tide.

Here is what Diaz said after Miami’s defeat:

“Quite simply, just congratulations to Alabama. They played an outstanding game. I thought the difference in the game was third down offense. I thought their quarterback made some plays, keeping plays alive outside the pocket that extended drives that kept our offense off the field.

“Offensively, we had a hard time getting in a rhythm because of that. I thought their front is as advertised. Gave us a lot of trouble getting going. I’m proud for the way the guys competed in the second half. Like with all films, there will be plenty of things to correct, but also plenty of things that I think will be positives that we can take going on to Week 2.

“With that, I’ll open it for questions.”

Q. Hey, Manny. How is D’Eriq King? I know we’re going to talk to him. What was your impression of him today playing for the first time? He got hit hard a few times. How’s he doing?

Diaz: “You know, that’s just football. He’s a competitor so he’s hurt because he came here to win the game. But I thought he was brave. I thought he was sharp. I thought he made some excellent throws. And we’ll go on to next week.”

Q. The follow-up is how are the players doing? What did you tell them and how are they emotional right now?

Diaz: “They’re disappointed. They came here to compete. They worked really hard for today. I think that’s where you have to, when you go into film session tomorrow, you remove the result from the film and look at exactly what individual performances and what got us to that final result.

“But we’ve got a close-knit group who has a lot of respect for the team coming in next week to our stadium in App State, and we’ll get back to work tomorrow.”

Q. Manny, you talked about learning lessons from games last year, like, well, specifically, Clemson, number one team. But really, by midway of the second quarter, it was basically a rout at that point. Were you disappointed in the start, in how this was kind of similar to that game.

Diaz: “Yeah, I didn’t feel it was for a couple different reasons. Trying to explain why I didn’t feel it was is not worth trying to explain why it wasn’t. Like I said, I saw guys, and I’ll speak for when they had the football, which they had for the majority of the first half. They were just making more plays than us on third down. I didn’t see a lack of competitiveness. I didn’t see a lack of toughness, fight. I saw football things happening in a football game that allowed them to maintain possession.”

Q. Coach, you talked about things to take away positives. There’s got to be the freshman play. It didn’t seem too big for Andres or James or even Kam. What do you take away from that? Maybe there are others I omitted from other spots. What do you take away from that in recruiting?

Diaz: “Yeah, it’s what we’ve seen in practice, you know. Really, the last two recruiting classes, which sort of make up the majority of our team. If we continue to stack classes like that, it’s going to continue to be really positive going forward this year.

“Andres, it was great to get that situation where he had to make a kick before halftime and made one second half. That’s going to give him a lot of confidence that he’s done it. Excited for those guys getting a chance to make plays in their debut.”

Q. Manny, I want to ask you about the sequence. At the start of the second half, you guys go down the field, get stuffed at the goal line, and then give up a 94-yard touchdown. Just the touchdown, I guess what did you see on that play and then just that sequence, how kind of crushing was that? Obviously a chance to really get back in the game there?

Diaz: “Again, you know, that’s why I mentioned earlier, obviously there was separation on the scoreboard, but that was a hammer blow. I think it kind of got us off our rocker for a little bit. I thought we finished the fourth quarter well. But it just — there’s a couple bizarre things. The whole point is to try to catch. We’re trying to go fast. We’re trying to wedge it in there and jam it in. A couple things that happened, you know, and slows us down. That’s the whole point is to try to catch them, and they made a good push to stop it and jam it in.

“The touchdown was an outstanding play. We were in man coverage with outside leverage. They faked crossers, put a foot in the ground, and came back across the field. That takes lot of great protection. They throw it to a guy that was just, you know, a great addition to their team that obviously his speed is legit. That guy can run. And if it was 94 yards or wherever the ball was, we’re going to have a hard time catching them. It was good execution against man coverage. We were going to play man to get off the field third down and four, three.”

Q. Maybe better for Rhett tomorrow, but with D’Eriq obviously first live action, was there any — I don’t want to say conservative. Did you kind of feel you were protecting him a little bit and more comfortable as the game went on? I don’t think he ran until the second quarter.

Diaz: “No, because some of the runs, there could be runs that are just give reads instead of pull reads. So I don’t think D’Eriq would have put up with a game plan that would have protected him in any way.”

Q. Manny, I came in a little late so I’m sorry if this is a repeat question. Do you have any update on Mike Harley?

Diaz: “I do not. I haven’t heard anything. I don’t know what you’ve heard but I haven’t heard anything since he was removed from the game.”

Q. Was there any thought at all of taking D’Eriq out as the score got bigger and after he appeared to limp off the field when he got sacked, went in the medical tent? When he came out, was there any thought about we need to save him?

Diaz: “Yeah, we wanted to do — on the drive that ultimately ended up with the interception, we wanted to just finish with one more good drive on offense. We did feel like we had moved the ball. We got down to the one and didn’t score. Got down to the five and had to settle for three. We wanted to put one more good drive on tape because I feel like some of our guys had settled down. We’re blocking them up a little bit better in the second half. But obviously, the drive that started with the interception, I think that’s how he ended his day from there.”

Q. Manny, is there any concern that the players won’t be able to recover quickly from this game, you know, and move on to the rest of the season, which is really now more important?

Diaz: “Recover physically, you mean, or mentally?”

Q. Emotionally, mentally.

Diaz: “I don’t think so. This is not a — college football is famous for overreactions after Week 1. That’s not what this team is all about. You just don’t get your story written after one game into the season. We’re just not there yet. The guys in the locker room, if anything, what happened today will bring them even closer together.

“Like I said, we’ve got a stretch of games coming at home. It’s a big deal for us to get in front of our fans. Our fans, I thought, were great tonight to have them out there. D’Eriq King has never played in Hard Rock Stadium with our fans in it. We’ve got to have a great atmosphere next Saturday night. This team’s story is not even close to being written yet, and we’ve got a lot of guys that have a lot of pride to make sure it goes the way they want it to.

“Thank you.”