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Christy Cabrera Chirinos | The Sun Sentinel | September 21, 2018

Miami's Manny Diaz unfazed by all the Turnover Chain copycats — he'd just like to see Miami's original more often

CORAL GABLES — When Hurricanes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz approached Miami coach Mark Richt last fall with the news that he and his coaches had developed a rather unique sideline prop for the Hurricanes, it's unlikely either could have imagined the sensation Miami's Turnover Chain would become.

The chain, which debuted in the Hurricanes' season-opening win against Bethune-Cookman last September, captured the imagination of college football fans across the country -- just as the Hurricanes rattled off 10 straight wins to start the season.

Miami ultimately finished 2017 with 31 turnovers, a number that was tied for third in the nation and with each fumble recovery, each interception, the Hurricanes celebrated, their gaudy chain draped over the neck of the player credited with taking the ball from the opponent.

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The chain became such a part of the Miami defense that Diaz made it clear before the season ended that the famed prop was no one-year wonder.

The Turnover Chain, he made it clear, would return in 2018 and be bigger and better than the original.

Turnover Chain 2.0, as it has become to be known in Coral Gables, made its debut two weeks ago in Miami's 77-0 win over Savannah State. It is, as Diaz promised, bigger than the original, a large, glittering Sebastian the Ibis pendant replacing the traditional Miami "U" pendant from the first version of the chain.

The thing is, though, the chain has company these days.

After schools across the country saw what the chain did for Miami's defense -- and how the Hurricanes improved their turnover margin -- they've jumped in on the fun, too.

At Kennesaw State, the Owls debuted a smiling piece of wood they dubbed the Turnover Plank. Tulane, located in New Orleans, now gives its players Mardi Gras-themed Turnover Beads after takeaways. Memphis gives its players a Ric Flair-styled Turnover Robe and at Boise State, players who get a turnover get a chance to sit on the school's new Turnover Throne. And in Tallahassee, Florida State -- despite a sluggish start -- has a Turnover Backpack that has generated plenty of laughs on social media.

The turnover-prop craze has grown so much that last week, ESPN's Tom Rinaldi highlighted Miami's Turnover Chain as the original sideline prop during a (pretty hilarioius) College GameDay segment and noted, as many Miami fans have, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

At Miami, Diaz couldn't help but laugh a bit this week when asked about the trend he's helped fuel. And he dismissed talk that he's the father of the Turnover Chain, saying the idea for it was one developed among all of Miami's defensive coaches.

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But he did have one criticism of the whole craze early in the year.

"The new chain is, obviously, outstanding. We couldn't have asked for it to be more, slap me for using the word 'bling,' but it's fantastic. The way the Ibis shines and pops is just really remarkable. When our players saw it ... It's hard to outdo 1.0, but I think 2.0 did it," he said. "I'd like to see it come out more often during the games, though, if we're being honest."

The Hurricanes -- for the record -- didn't manage a turnover in their season-opening loss to LSU. Since, the chain has appeared just five times, a number Diaz, no doubt, wants to see grow.

As to all of the other turnover props now dotting the college football landscape, Diaz is unfazed.

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"As for all the other ones, like I say, we can't talk. We weren't the first to have a turnover prop. We happen to have the best one, okay, but because we weren't first, I can't really pass judgment on the other ones," he said. "Somebody, somewhere, is like, 'It was us first!' and I don't even know who that is. I just know we have the best one, which we're happy about. We don't really pay a lot of attention to the copycats, but hey, that's kind of the world we live in, right? Once something gets hot, everybody tries to do the same thing."

This article is written by Christy Cabrera Chirinos from Sun Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.