Highlights and photos from today’s annual CanesFest held right on the campus of the University of Miami:
Fans starting rolling in at around 11:30 am to catch a glimpse of ‘The New Miami’. While most of the festival activities were outside in the parking lot right behind the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility, it was inside that practice facility where all the action took place. If you ask me, it was unbearably hot…but that did not stop everyone from waiting over an hour and thirty minutes or more in line to get in for the player autograph session.
It was a great opportunity for fans to experience the new indoor facility and get up close to this year’s team. I was able to catch a few former Canes enjoying themselves as well. Some of the guys I saw were Tracy Howard, Tommy Streeter, Jacory Harris, and Bryant McKinney. McKinney and Harris also had their own signing tables. McKinney had a longer line than Harris. No surprise there. Even musical artist and big-time Canes fan Solo D made an appearance. We were even able to stick around a bit longer inside due to a torrential downpour right before they shut down the autograph session. Head Coach Manny Diaz was due to speak to the fans that came out to support outside in the parking lot. Thankfully we did not have to endure that terrible heat and were able to stay indoors to hear what Coach Diaz has to say.
To be quite honest, it was the best thing about the whole event. It’s almost as if it was the only thing the fans really came for. Biggest thought I came away with was the way in which Coach Diaz carries himself. He’s the CEO. He’s not the Defensive Coordinator or the Linebackers Coach. He’s the CEO. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is yet to be determined. Some of the best coaches thrive in that role. Others, not so much.
He mentioned changing the mentality from within the program first, and then the outside will follow. And I know it’s cliche to say this but, there does seem to be a different feel to this team, the coaches and everyone around the program.
The question is, will it translate to wins?
While it’s great that he wants to change the mindset on what it is to be a Miami Hurricane – what it means to play like the Miami Hurricanes – the play on the field will have to talk the loudest. That’s the only way things will change. As fans, we all know it’s always been, us against the world. I think I speak for all Canes fans when I say, we wouldn’t want it any other way.
A few fun tidbits: I asked kicker Bubba Baxa if he had a name for his leg yet and man, he ate that question up. He said, “yeah, it’s Boomstick”. From now on, he’s Boomstick to me. Well, as long as he proves it on the field. I think he’s poised for a big sophomore season. And of course, the fan-favorite, Deejay Dallas was seen sprinting up and down the row of fans leaning up against the fence, high-fiving them all and showing love. Hard not to like that kid.