When Miami Hurricanes football legend Ed Reed was introduced as the programs Chief of Staff, he delivered a powerful message from the get-go
“If you don’t want to work, don’t come here. If you don’t want to compete, don’t come here.”
And after finishing with a 6-7 record in 2019, the guidance and unique perspective of Reed is exactly what the UM football team needed in order to steer the ship in the right direction.
Two games into the 2020 season, Reed has surprisingly been on the sideline for both matches and has made his presence felt.
In Miami’s 47-34 win over Louisville, cameras caught him telling an official to watch out for UL linebacker Monty Montgomery before a play. Montgomery was then called for a holding penalty on the play as Reed predicted.
Head coach Manny Diaz acknowledged that the Pro Football Hall of Famer has helped him tremendously.
“He’s been so valuable,” Diaz said. “During the game, Between series, I’ll come find him. Just from his vantage point and his perspective, the things that he can see amongst our team — when you’re coaching, you’re so into what’s going on on the field that you miss.
“It can be where players are standing on the sideline, it can be a conversation that he had with a certain player, it can be him talking about a player and how he’s dealing with something when something doesn’t go well and his ability to help a guy bounce back through that.”
While NCAA rules don’t allow Reed to instruct players, defensive coordinator Blake Baker told reporters that his insight has been very good for the program.
“He sees things a little differently in the fact that he sees things from 30,000 feet. He’s isn’t necessarily always in the forest, he’s kind of seeing the woods through it and kind of, you know, even coming up to me during the game and, Hey, did you see this? Hey, did you see that?” Baker said.
Over the pandemic filled offseason, Reed was referred to as a great resource for the student-athletes by Diaz and added that he’s been invaluable with recruiting.
That was evident when Miami’s safety commits James Williams and Kamren Kinchens both praised Reed and explained how much of an impact he played into their decisions to choose the Hurricanes. UM has the No. 8 ranked 2021 recruiting class on the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and Reed has significantly contributed to the Canes landing those prospects.
As for Miami’s development at Reed’s position, safeties Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall have been soaking in all the information they can get from the nine-time Pro Bowler.
“I’m trying to pick his [brain]. I’m trying to get as much information as I can,” Hall told the Sun Sentinel during training camp in August. “I haven’t seen him lately, but I mean, I can’t wait until he comes back.”
“Having him here, it’s a big thing, especially as a safety, growing up watching him playing and stuff like that,” Carter added. “He’s been able to talk to us about different things. Not just about football, but life in general.”
As the 12th-ranked Hurricanes head into another primetime matchup against rival Florida State, it’s essential that they keep taking steps forward instead of backward like they did last season.
After Miami notched their third consecutive victory in a 52-27 explosive win over Louisville in 2019, the course of their season did a complete turn, going on to drop their remaining three games, including losses to FIU and Louisiana Tech.
But in the aftermath of last Saturday’s win, Diaz noted that the environment in the locker room was different this time around.
“It’s hard to win on the road and they really enjoyed the process of victory,” Diaz said. “But when they came back in here the next day, I don’t think there was the contentment that maybe we felt a year ago,”
“I do think there’s a maturity level. Our team, some older guys, different personalities, different mindsets that could ultimately make us different.”
Over time, the players will continue to mature and do away with those that aren’t contributing to the success of the program. And that starts with who you surround the players with to guide them to success and instill the right culture.
That’s what makes Reed so special as the Chief of Staff, or what I like to call, a Culture Coordinator.
“My first year 5-6, second-year 8-3, we got better as we went,” Reed said back in February. “But the better we got, the more opportunity for these kids as a group, as a whole, was presented. You look at the people who I was surrounded by, we surrounded each other with such greatness.”