Diaz: We have to be mentally tougher

Read on to see everything defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was saying following Tuesday's practice.

Thoughts on the scrimmage…
“Typical first scrimmage. I thought we played a little slow. I thought we played a little timid. Spring, a lot of times, is back and forth. Last Tuesday, I thought the offense won the day. Thursday, I thought the defense was dominant. Saturday’s scrimmage, I thought the first 20 plays I thought the defense played well and then the offense pushed back in the next 25 plays. Then in the second half it kind of balanced out. We are trying to not only learn what we are doing, but how to fight back when things aren’t going well and respond to adversity. It was a good learning experience for all those things.”

On the mental toughness of the defense…
“I think that’s what we are talking about. In spring practice, you want a healthy back and forth. But you don’t want it to be so dramatic that when one side pushes, the other side doesn’t resist. That is what we are trying to learn to do. We play in a very competitive league and expect to play in a lot of competitive games. Coach Richt showed the team the other day that the ACC has the highest percentage of games decided by seven points or less in all of college football. We have to expect to be in tight games and expect that teams will go on runs, battle back and make plays. We have to be able to stand up and make a stand when things aren’t going well.”

On the three early enrollee linebackers…
“All three of those linebackers have really adapted well. They’re all really mature individuals. They’re all really good learners and you can tell they were all very well coached in high school. More than anything, they have been unfazed when stepping onto this field. They have no burn of the past. They’re undefeated. They’re excited to see what being a Miami Hurricane is all about.”

On whether it helps the early enrollees that this is the first coaching staff they have had…
“In some ways. There is always an unlearning process. A lot of things aren’t that different and it might just be a different way to describe how to do something. When you come in with a blank slate, you don’t have to unlearn as much and that might help them a little bit.”

On defensive line standouts...
The way we're handling the defensive line, all those guys are mixing in because that's how we'll be in the fall. We felt coming out of the scrimmage we have five guys inside who are very similar. That will help define us in the fall. The whole front four will have to rotate. I'd rather play six linebackers but you have to play eight linebackers. You can't play a full court press using just five guys in basketball so it's the same thing with the tempo of these offenses.

On the defense limiting mistakes...
No doubt. Our guys are improving, getting better and thinking less. We're past the install. It's all about reps now. We hope they have enough knowledge to correct each other's mistakes when they go players vs players during the summer time.


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