The Hurricanes defense is in the middle of a major overhaul.
Under Al Golden and Mark D’Onofrio, the unit used mostly a 3-4 scheme. But Miami’s new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is introducing a totally different scheme — a blitz-heavy 4-3 setup.
Hurricanes players noticed the difference during spring practice.
“It’s more of an attacking style defense,” junior defensive end Chad Thomas said in May.
Diaz, the son of a former Miami mayor of the same name, spent the 2015 season as Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator. Diaz worked as Louisiana Tech’s defensive coordinator in 2014, leading a unit that led the nation in forcing turnovers.
“He’s brought urgency in my opinion,” redshirt senior defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins said of Diaz in May. “He wants 11 hats to the ball every play no matter where you are on the field. He’s brought like this culture to where defending out end zone means something and we don’t want anything that’s not our color to be in our end zone.”
The Hurricanes finished last season ranked 77th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 28.2 points per game. The unit also finished 115th against the run (5.26 yards per carry allowed) and 86th in yards per play allowed (5.78).
“I feel like in the past years, you know they were still great coaches, it was just a different scheme,” Jenkins said. “Our old coaches brought a more conservative scheme. This scheme is just more aggressive. We get after the ball and I just feel like we’re going to make a lot more plays.”