Manny Diaz, Miami Hurricanes prepare for ‘unique challenges’ to prepare for Duke

Jaylan Knighton of the Miami Hurricanes runs for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Louisville Cardinals at Cardinal Stadium on September 19, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. (2020 Getty Images)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes will return to the practice field on Monday night to get ready for Saturday’s game at Duke.

The Canes haven’t played a game since Nov. 14 because of a Covid-19 outbreak within the team.

Miami was originally scheduled to play Wake Forest on Saturday, but had to post-pone because of Covid cases within the Wake Forest program.

On Sunday night, the Hurricanes learned that they would be facing Duke.

Among the cases within the Canes was head coach Manny Diaz.

Diaz says he is feeling better after his bout with the virus.

Diaz said one of the unusual challenges of this week is that the players are in exam week because of changes to the academic calendar.

Diaz said, “There will be some unique challenges just to get to Saturday with the way that we practice and the way that we can meet throughout the week. But we are excited, we’re happy for the league to be able to arrange it and be able to get us a game.”

Diaz said the Canes did not know Duke would be their opponent until Saturday night, but there’s some familiarity with Duke because they often play.

Diaz said, “The greater challenge, Duke and Georgia Tech just went through this, dealing with the long layoff... Just getting our guys back into football, football shape, back into contact. There are a lot of things that are unusual about our team at this point. It has to be a very focused week. The players have to understand the adversity in preparation for this game and any other game that they’ll ever prepare for.”

The Miami head coach would not go into specific groups that are impacted by Covid-19, but he feels Miami has enough depth to play.

Diaz said, “This team has to have a great sense of, we’ll come in today and find out what today’s all about because we know by tomorrow it might change again.. I do think the kids are very excited to be back. They want to play. It almost reminds me of when we got back together in the summertime. You never know.”

The Canes are ranked No. 9 in the AP poll.

The Canes and Duke will play Saturday night at 8 p.m. on ACC Network.

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