Thursday Q&A with Manny Diaz

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

Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

On how the team has looked at the start of spring practices…
“It’s a typical spring where there is always going to be that back and forth between the offense, they are going to want to win a drill, we are going to win a drill. But overall, just the sort of spirit of the guys. Everybody is attacking every day with enthusiasm, really excited to work. No one appears to be content. Everybody is sort of really trying to push themselves to get their play to another level. Spring is where you pull it all apart. You have all the individual parts and everybody tries to get themselves better. And then in the summer, into the fall you kind of put it back together again. Getting good leadership from the guys, and you can see where the reps that a lot of our young guys took a year ago are benefitting them now going forward.” 

On the nickel and dime position shaping up…
“It is really hard to predict how we will go nickel and dime, because we are still not 100 percent certain who our top four defensive backs are. And we really will not know that until the second scrimmage in the fall. We know we have guys coming in that we expect to contribute right away in our secondary and we have to give them a chance. The other factor is, is your fifth defensive back better than your third linebacker? We are talking about a normal down situation. No doubt, on a passing down you would go to a sub package. So whoever the fifth DB is, when we find out how good that guy is, he has to be better than our third linebacker, when we find out how good that guy is.”

On junior defensive back Sheldrick Redwine moving to safety…
“It looks like it is working out for him right now. He is really doing a nice job. The biggest thing is that he looks like he is having fun playing football. He is running around back there, he is just enjoying himself, he is being active, he is getting around the football, making a lot of plays. We have to get into a live situation where the ball is storming at him. But from what I have seen so far, he has really embraced the role and is running with it.” 

On the next step for sophomore linebacker Shaquille Quarterman…
“Well, we talked about how there is a lot of things that Shaq and all three of the linebackers that played a lot last year can improve on. One is just the overall consistency, understanding where they are supposed to be in our run fits. We talked about Shaq in terms of being productive. There were times last year, where there were some things where there was still some hesitation which cost him a chance to be involved in the tackle. Where he was around a lot of plays, but maybe not making all the plays. So I think he is in a situation now where he is seeing the film of that and understands that his productivity level can go way up from where it was a year ago.” 

On having a lot of guys returning that know the system better…
“As I said, we don’t consider any of our guys returning starters, because none of those guys have won a job yet. However, as you mentioned, we have not just even those people that have started a game for us, we have many guys that have played a lot of snaps for us. We look at how many returning snaps we have at every position. There is no question that we are so much further ahead than we were a year ago. I look at the way we played in October, compared to the way we played in November, even the bowl game. And I think about what we have been able to do, especially the more experienced guys have been able to really add on to where we were in December and take that next step.”


Canes Time Top Stories