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Barry Jackson

Manny Diaz overhauls offensive staff, eyes former college coach for key job


New UM coach Manny Diaz dismissed his offensive coaching staff, including coordinator Thomas Brown on Monday, according to two sources.

Meanwhile, Diaz has interest in former North Carolina coach Larry Fedora for his offensive coordinator job. There could be additional candidates as well, but an associate said Diaz holds Fedora in high regard.

The UM assistants dismissed, according to associates: Brown, quarterbacks coach Jon Richt, offensive line coach Stacy Searels, receivers coach Ron Dugans and tight ends coach Todd Hartley.

“I’m hurt bro; somebody gotta feel this,” tight end Michael Irvin Jr. said in the wake of Hartley’s dismissal.

UM did not confirm any of the dismissals.

Also dismissed: strength and conditioning coach Gus Felder.

Meanwhile, Fedora has emerged as a possibility for the job as offensive coordinator and play caller.

Fedora, 56, was head coach at Southern Mississippi from 2008 through 2011, going 34-19, and then went 45-43 in seven years at North Carolina. He was fired in late November.

Fedora, a proponent of the spread offense, was previously offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State, Florida and Oklahoma State.

His offenses have put up big numbers during parts of his career.

When he was introduced as North Carolina coach, he summed up his philosophy with a quote from George S. Patton: ”Instead of waiting to see what might develop, attack constantly, vigorously and viciously. Never let up, never stop, always attack.”

That philosophy meshes with Diaz’s.

Mark Richt, who retired as UM’s coach on Sunday, had brought Brown, Hartley and Jon Richt with him from Georgia, and Searels and Dugans were outside hires.

But Diaz, after consulting with the UM administration, believed the program needed a completely fresh start on the offensive side of the ball.


Receiver Lawrence Cager has informed the school he is transferring, according to a source. Cager had 21 catches for 374 yards and six touchdowns last season but also dropped nine passes.

Junior linebacker Michael Pinckney announced he will bypass the NFL draft and return for his senior season.

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