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Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich optimistic about Miami football heading into 2024: “Mario has really been able to change the culture”

On3 imageby:CaneSport.com Staff06/04/24

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Good Morning Canesport 6.4.24 Miami Hurricanes News of the Day

Miami Athletic Director Dan Radakovich addressed the state of Hurricanes football on the Gramlich & Mac Lain Show, pointing to how hard coach Mario Cristobal has worked to rebuild a roster that simply was not in good shape when he took over.

“Everyone thinks you sprinkle Pixie Dust on the players and all of a sudden they perform great,” Radakovich said. “Well, they weren’t the right type of players and system for what Mario and his staff would like to do. So it took a little time. But the fundamentals of the people we have at positions of real influence right now are really good. Our offensive line, 3 of the 5 are coming back and another played a lot. And the center is a two year starter from a Big 10 school (Indiana’s Zach Carpenter). Defensive line, a number of really positive folks coming in. Quarterback (Cam Ward), the linebackers, the safeties – the thing about being strong up the middle, there is some truth to that. Cam Ward who came in from day 1 has been a great leader, someone everybody has universally really rallied around. Of course a couple of other pieces in the transfer portal Part 2. We do feel really good about it.

“You watch spring practice, you were really able to see some of the differences. We had a freshman from Las Vegas, Elija Lofton, a TE/RB. He’s a special player. He can do a number of different things. There are a lot of good, young men on this team and Mario has really been able to change the culture. I think we will see how that is going to work and the fruits of the labor moving forward.”

Radakovich also spoke highly of Ward, who will be a one-and-done at Miami after he led Washington State to the nation’s No. 4 passing offense a year ago with 25 TD passes and seven INTs.

“He puts the ball where it needs to be, tries not to put it in harm’s way,” Radakovich said. “I think the cast around him that Miami is going to have and how we play, we may not have to ask him to throw the ball 60 times, okay? Which is a great thing. Our tight ends play is going to be good, we have some outstanding wide receivers.”

Radakovich said Cristobal has moved the program forward “one step at a time.”

“The first year (5-7 record) was really difficult for him because he had all the expectations, so much was placed on him, the great coach coming home,” Radakovich said. “Having to flip over some assistant coaches, bring other people in, continue the high level recruiting … changing the internal culture of the program. I tell you what, I’ve been in the business 30 years, been around some really  intense football coaches. But I will tell you I have never seen anyone work as hard as Mario just from a day-to-day piece of being involved in the right things within the program. He is in a pretty good place.

“He is really excited, genuinely excited about where the program is now, where it’s going.”

It all will kick off at Florida Aug. 31.

“When you are a collegiate program with the history Miami had – Miami starts to get good and in a football crazy area of South Florida, it doesn’t take a whole lot to light the fire of expectation,” Radakovich said. “We are really excited about moving forward with the 2024 season. There are some really good building blocks.”

* Radakovich also discussed how athletics is costing more now in the NIL era, pointing to how some programs aren’t going to want to pay up in the arm’s race of adding top talent.

“They are going to have to make a choice – how are they going to choose to spend their dollars and will athletics be one of them?” Radakovich said. “One of the great things about Miami is they saw that a couple of years ago, made the adjustment. We’re going to be positioned really well as the future unfolds.”

*Radakovich said the plan remains in place to add a new facility near the Indoor Practice Facility at some point, saying that “the building is still very important.”

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