5 candidates to replace Manny Diaz as Miami football coach

Manny Diaz, Miami Hurricanes. (Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Manny Diaz, Miami Hurricanes. (Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit;: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
Credit;: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images /

Manny Diaz has a lot of critics and doubters, so if Miami football decides to fire him, these are the best Miami head coach candidate to replace Diaz.

The Miami Hurricanes opened the season with a loss to Alabama. That of course isn’t a particular black mark, as the Crimson Tide beat most everyone. But since then they’ve eked out a close win over Appalachian State, and on Saturday, were overmatched by Michigan State in a 38-17 loss.

With the challenges that 2020 brought, the Hurricanes started the season 8-1 with their only loss coming to Clemson. But a 62-26 loss to North Carolina in the regular-season finale and a loss to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl ended things on a sour note.

Diaz is now into his third season, with a 15-12 record. The arrival of D’Eriq King at quarterback as a grad transfer last year stabilized the most important position on the field, but the path to a prime bowl game this year took a hit with the loss to Michigan State.

Miami is on the list of programs with a name that inspires nostalgia and expectations, but with little or nothing in the way of recent big-time results. Diaz may not move toward the hot seat right away, with a respite coming against Central Connecticut on Sept. 25, but the teeth of ACC play that starts after that will be telling.

Speculation about Diaz’s status seems sure to start. But who could replace him as Hurricanes’ head coach? It seems if fans had their way after Saturday’s loss, Diaz would be gone immediately.

Miami football: 5 candidates to replace Manny Diaz if fired

5. James Franklin, Penn State head coach

Franklin has surfaced as a candidate at USC again, in the wake of Clay Helton actually being fired, with his typical avoidance of the rumors and a profession of focus on Penn State’s next opponent.

Franklin has recruited strongly at Penn State, with the No. 1 incoming class for 2022 according to 247 Sports as the most recent evidence. Miami, albeit with only nine commits right now, comes in at No. 44.

Franklin did a great job at Vanderbilt before heading to Penn State. Bringing the program at Miami back to glory might be a challenge he’d be willing to take on, perhaps even over trying to do the same at USC. If Diaz is let go, he’d surely be on the school’s list to replace him. An offer Franklin would have to turn down has to be made if he’s at all available to Miami.