Miami Hurricanes Blake Baker

Miami, Florida – The question on fans’ minds. After a disappointing performance, will Miami Hurricanes defensive coordinator Blake Baker stay or go? The defense was anything but dominant in 2020, ranking in the bottom half of the ACC. Although they only allowed an average of 26 points per game, the fourth-best in the conference, the Canes gave up an eyeopening 407.4 yards per game. 28 sacks and 7 interceptions are not impressive either, not for a program like UM.

For comparison, the Pittsburgh Panthers led the ACC in both sacks (46) and interceptions (14). Miami defeated them yes, but not Clemson. Certainly not North Carolina. To end the regular season, the defense allowed 778 yards including 554 on the ground. It was an embarrassing 62-26 loss. In the Cheez-It Bowl, Oklahoma State scored three touchdowns in the first quarter. Despite the offense putting up one heck of a fight even without D’Eriq King, giving up 37 points proved too much. In the wake of these unacceptable performances, there’s motion within the coaching staff.

A changing landscape

Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Ephraim Banda is leaving the UM football program for the same position in Utah State. Banda accepted the offer to join the Aggies under their new coach Blake Anderson. The move allows him to call plays defensively for the first time in his career.  He won’t be the only one departing. UM’s senior defensive analyst Mike Zuckerman will also leave to become the inside linebackers coach for the Aggies. Assistant recruiting director DeMarcus Van Dyke will be Utah State’s cornerbacks coach and assistant director of player development Alex Devine is expected to join as a senior analyst.

The program is also parting ways with Mike Rumph. Formally Miami’s cornerbacks coach, this change is reportedly due to the lack of recruiting high-level players at his position and their development. According to Canes Warning, Rumph has been criticized for not keeping the top cornerbacks in South Florida at home. In 2018 Miami’s pass defense was widely considered elite. Two years later it’s an area that has clearly regressed. The departures of Banda and Rumph leave head coach Manny Diaz and special teams coordinator and ILB coach Jonathan Patke as the last members of the 2016 Mark Richt staff. Todd Stroud is stepping down as the defensive line coach although he might return in an administrative role. No doubt it’s a significant wave of changes.

So will he?

Blake Baker’s days as UM’s defensive coordinator might very well be numbered. Many fans are calling for a new direction, disappointed with how mediocre they’ve become. No one is afraid to play Miami. The boys just don’t look hungry, not since the beginning of the season. The pass defense has been ineffective and the cornerbacks are a big reason why. These signs point to a new hire that will not be in-house with the individual potentially bringing in their own staff. The football program needs to move on, finding a replacement that will have a better chance of matching their expectations.

I’ve always liked the idea of the Turnover Chain but if the team continues on this trend, you might as well retire it. To be in the top tier of Division 1 football, you need to be good on all sides of the game. Sure, your big strength can be in one particular area but neutralize that and you become very one-dimensional if severely lacking elsewhere. You gotta score but defense wins championships, which I am a firm believer of.

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Gabriel Garcia
Just an avid sports fan who happens to have a love-hate (mostly love) relationship with his local teams be it collegiate or professional and also happens to be a news junkie. Mix in outstanding optimism with cold realism and you've got yourself a balanced cocktail perfect for champions.

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