The Hurricanes won eight out of eleven games last season but the defense noticeably took a step back. For the first time since the arrival of Manny Diaz and his defensive staff in 2016, the defense finished outside of the top 50 in total defense. A number of key assistants would take jobs elsewhere leaving Miami to rebuild the defense. One of the areas that has already been addressed is the Miami Hurricanes defensive staff adding coaches with valuable experience on the power five level.
Miami Hurricanes Defensive Staff Bring Wealth Of Experience
Out With the Old
The Hurricanes have added three defensive staffers that have coordinator experience and a former NFL coach that was previously at Miami. Taking over the secondary will be coach Travaris Robinson, who was the defensive coordinator at South Carolina. Even before becoming coordinator at South Carolina, Robinson coached at multiple SEC schools developing NFL players at each stop.
At defensive line, Miami is bringing back Jess Simpson, who previously coached at Miami in 2018. He previously left the Hurricanes to coach in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. In the lone season that Simpson coached at Miami, the defense led the nation in tackles for loss. While Simpson does not have an extensive history coaching collegiately, his experience coaching at the highest level gives him an edge.
One of the strongest hires made this offseason was the addition of Travis Williams, who will coach inside linebackers. The former Auburn co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach was not retained under the new regime taking over at Auburn. Williams will replace Blake Baker who doubled up as the coordinator and the inside linebackers coach. With Baker now at LSU, Miami grabbed one of the top linebacker coaches in the SEC last season. Under Williams, Zakoby McClain led the SEC in tackles last season as a first time starter.
Two of the more under the radar hires came in the promotion of Demarcus Van Dyke and Bob Shoop. Van Dyke served the last two seasons as assistant recruiting director in the Hurricanes recruiting department, he is now the cornerbacks coach. Essentially Van Dyke and former cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph switched positions but Van Dyke is younger and relates better to the recruits. Diaz believes having Van Dyke as a full time assistant will give the Hurricanes a better recruiting boost in closing with top recruits. Although college football recruiting is at a standstill this move will pay dividends when Miami can visit prospects.
The addition of Bob Shoop as a quality control coach gives Diaz someone else with coordinator experience. In 2019 at Mississippi State, Shoop was a Broyles Award finalist and would produce three first round draft picks. With Diaz calling the plays this season, he has another advantage with Shoop on the staff. In total including the head coach, Miami has four coaches with coordinator experience and another former NFL position coach.