Miami athletic director Blake James gave football coach Manny Diaz a vote of confidence Thursday, but he said “changes are necessary” after the Hurricanes completed their second losing season in 12 years.
Diaz, who just wrapped up his first season as head coach at Miami, led the Hurricanes to a 6-7 record in 2019, after falling 14-0 in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl to Louisiana Tech on Thursday night to become the Independence Bowl’s first shutout victims in its 44-game history.
James said Thursday the team has to improve, and a full assessment must be undertaken to “get this program back to competing for ACC and national championships.” But he added in his statement on Twitter that Diaz should be given the opportunity to continue to build the program.
— Blake James (@CanesAllAccess) December 27, 2019
According to ESPN Stats and Information research, the Hurricanes were shut out for the third time in a bowl game in program history (the 1994 Fiesta Bowl and 1935 Orange Bowl being the other two). They also became just the third program in FBS history to compete in bowl games in consecutive seasons and combine for three or fewer points in those games.
“I can’t fault the efforts of our players. I’m certainly proud of the way we played defensively — they had their backs against the wall all night,” Diaz said after the game. “Our inability to sustain drives on offense gave us no chance to win this football game.”
Miami entered the game with the nation’s worst third-down conversion percentage, and going 5-for-14 on Thursday didn’t help that much. The Hurricanes finished the year with three straight losses and averaged only 25.7 points per game. It raised more questions about the future of offensive coordinator Dan Enos, whose lone season with the Hurricanes saw the offense perform well below expectations.
The teams set the game record for punts at 18, with both tying the single-club record of nine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.