82ºF

'We're 4 plays away from being 7-0,' Manny Diaz says of team

Diaz coy on kicking duties; Dan Enos says N'Kosi Perry separated shoulder

Miami Huricanes head coach Manny Diaz watches a play from the sideline against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 11, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Mark Brown/Getty Images)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami head coach Manny Diaz said Monday his team is four plays away from being undefeated.

Instead, the Hurricanes are one game below .500 with four games to go and their biggest rival still looming on the schedule.

The Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division, once thought to be a legitimate goal for this team, seems like an afterthought.

Just finishing with enough wins to become bowl eligible is a conversation Miami fans are now having.
But the first-year Hurricanes head coach isn't throwing in the towel on this season.

"Here's what our football team knows," Diaz told reporters. "We're four plays away from being 7-0, and we believe that. But we're not. We understand the mistakes that have got us to where we are. Regardless of what our record says, it's about what we do today. We have an opportunity to win today. We have an opportunity to win on Saturday. We need to learn what it takes to win a football game."

That means not missing on three field-goal attempts, none longer than 35 yards, like Miami (3-4, 1-3 ACC) did in last Saturday's 28-21 overtime loss to Georgia Tech.

"Those are ways that, in a game that -- otherwise, play by play -- you're showing off to be the more dominant team, missing three chip-shot field goals, that's how these upsets occur," Diaz said. "There's no hidden formula to that."

Diaz said he doesn't know who will kick Saturday at Pittsburgh (5-2, 2-1 ACC) -- both Bubba Baxa and Turner Davidson have struggled this season -- but added that redshirt freshman Camden Price will "be in the mix this week."

As for the quarterback situation, offensive coordinator Dan Enos didn't say whether Jarren Williams will return to the starting lineup this weekend. Backup N'Kosi Perry has started each of the last two games in relief of Williams, who injured his shoulder in a 42-35 loss to Virginia Tech earlier this month.

Perry was banged up in the third quarter against Georgia Tech and briefly left the game. Williams relieved him for the remainder of the series.

Miami Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry throws a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 19, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Enos, who was critical of Williams earlier in the season, had fewer choice words about Perry's performance.

"It's tough to criticize a guy too much that has a separated shoulder and comes back in the game," Enos said. "I mean, I can't express enough the admiration that I have for his courage and his competitiveness and toughness."

Perry completed 16 of 28 attempts for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

"He gave our team a chance to win," Enos said.

Enos went on to say that he thinks Williams is "coming along great." He's hopeful both quarterbacks will be available to play Saturday.


About the Author: