Miami football hired Alex Mirabal as its next assistant head coach and offensive line coach and Joe Salave’a as its next defensive line coach and run game coordinator, the program announced Thursday evening.
Mirabal, a former associate head coach and offensive line coach at the University of Oregon, coached under now-Miami head coach Mario Cristobal in the Ducks’ program from 2018 to 2021. The two coaches were high school teammates at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Mirabal back home,” Cristobal said in a Miami Athletics release. “From Outland Trophy winners to All-Americans to all-conference players, coach Mirabal has a reputation as the best offensive line coach in the country and one who is elite at talent development. He also has a track record as one of the very top recruiters in the nation.
“I know Coach Mirabal is excited to return to his roots in Miami and I know he will make a tremendous impact on the physicality our offense and the culture of the Miami Hurricanes program as a whole,” Cristobal continued.
Across his first two seasons in Eugene, Oregon, Mirabal helped spark the team’s offense into the Pac-12’s top-four in total yards. Oregon’s rushing attack ranked 24th in the country this season at 203.2 rushing yards per contest. The Ducks also scored over 31 points per game in each of Mirabal’s four seasons, and made their third consecutive appearance in the Pac-12 Championship Game in December following a 10-4 overall record.
“It’s a blessing to be back home,” Mirabal said. “My job is to make these guys understand that it’s a privilege and an honor to coach here, and it’s a privilege and honor to play here. We have to make sure that those men who came before us are proud of how we’re carrying ourselves. It always starts at the front, on the offensive and defensive lines. The program here at the University of Miami has traditionally been tremendous along both lines of scrimmage, and it’s our job to uphold that tradition.”
Also a cornerstone of Oregon’s recruiting landscape, Mirabal earned credibility for the Ducks’ No. 3-ranked 2021 recruiting class ranking from Rivals — the highest ever received on the national setting. The recognition originated with the program’s sixth-ranked recruiting class awarded by 247Sports.
Mirabal also led the development of former Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, the No. 7 selection in last year’s NFL Draft. Sewell, a former Outland Trophy honoree and current starting right tackle for the Detroit Lions, stands as the highest-selected offensive lineman in Ducks history and the Lions’ second-highest ever picked.
Oregon’s offensive line, led by Sewell in 2019, remained one of four finalists for the Joe Moore Award (top offensive unit) when the Ducks finished at 10-2 overall, won the Pac-12 title and the Rose Bowl game under Mirabal.
Joe Salave’a will also be an associate head coach at Miami, a position he held at Oregon from the time he was hired in 2017.
“The University of Miami is committed to physicality and controlling the line of scrimmage,” Cristobal said in a Miami Athletics release. “Coach Salave’a’s eight years in the trenches of the NFL and his college coaching experience are the driving forces behind an elite recruiter, coach and developer of talent. Coach Salave’a is a tremendous leader of men, and I know that mental and physical toughness will be traits of the Miami Hurricanes defensive line. He will make his impact felt in the culture and identity of our program.”
Salave’a began his coaching career in 2008 at San Jose State, where he was the Spartans’ defensive line coach. He then worked in the same capacity at Arizona and Washington State before arriving in Oregon.
Salave’a will join Mirabal and wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon as Oregon assistants that followed Cristobal to Miami.
Bubba Bolden declares for NFL Draft
UM’s former starting safety Bubba Bolden declared for the NFL Draft Friday. The redshirt junior missed the Hurricanes’ final five games this season after being diagnosed with a season-ending shoulder injury suffered Sept. 30 against Virginia.
“First and foremost, I would like to give my glory to God for blessing me in so many ways which have led me to where I am today,” Bolden wrote in a Twitter post. “I have an incredible support system that includes my family, friends, teachers, professors, and many coaches who have poured into me over the years and guided me through my student-athlete journey. I am forever grateful for the University of Miami. Not only did I obtain an outstanding college education that resulted in a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, but I also met and was mentored by legendary leaders and ball players whose teachings will stick with me for a lifetime.”
Bolden, a former Southern California transfer and Las Vegas native, collected a season-high eight solo tackles in Miami’s Week 3 matchup versus Michigan State. The former All-ACC Second Team nominee also started all 11 of the Hurricanes’ contests in 2020, leading UM in tackles with 74.
The Hurricanes’ most experienced defensive back told 247Sports last week that he was ahead of his shoulder rehabilitation, and said he was “on pace for being ready by probably the middle of January.” He also expects to participate in the annual NFL Scoring Combine March 1.
“Like many youth football players, I dreamed of making it to the NFL. My passion for the game is more on fire than ever before, and it is with humility, excitement, and overwhelming gratitude to everyone who has been part of my journey that I announce I am declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft! #GoCanes,” Bolden wrote in his Twitter post.
Bolden believes the future to be bright when concerning Miami’s safety unit, one that includes freshmen James Williams and Avantae Williams, who combined for 35 solo tackles this season.