Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz to handle defensive playcalling duties

Miami head coach Manny Diaz will handle the defensive playcalling in games as part of changes on defense that the team announced Thursday.

Diaz said defensive coordinator Blake Baker will continue in his role. Diaz served as Miami's defensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018 before being promoted to oversee the program. He also has defensive playcalling experience from coordinator roles at Mississippi State, Texas, Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee.

Baker, who worked with Diaz at Louisiana Tech, joined Diaz at Miami as defensive coordinator in 2019.

"Blake will continue to run our defense and I will call the defensive plays on gamedays, which we feel is our best path to maximizing our strengths on that side of the ball," Diaz said in a statement.

Miami went 8-3 in 2020 but allowed an average of 47 points in losses to Clemson, North Carolina and Oklahoma State, the top three teams on its schedule. The Hurricanes also allowed 41 points in a three-point win over NC State, and they finished the season ranked 51st nationally in points allowed per game (27) and 67th in yards allowed per game (408).

Diaz, in 2019, took a more active role in Miami's defense after a 42-35 loss to Virginia Tech. However, he had Baker continue to call plays for the remainder of the season and into 2020.

Miami also announced on Thursday the hiring of Jess Simpson as defensive line coach and the promotion of DeMarcus Van Dyke to cornerbacks coach. Simpson spent the past two seasons coaching the Atlanta Falcons defensive line after working under Diaz as Miami's defensive line coach. Van Dyke, a former cornerback at Miami and in the NFL, had been the program's assistant director of recruiting.

Todd Stroud and Mike Rumph, who in 2020 coached Miami's defensive line and cornerbacks, respectively, have been reassigned to other positions in the program.