As soon as Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator position opened up, many Bulldog fans pointed to Manny Diaz. Having already had a successful, albeit short, stint at MSU in 2010, he is obviously a popular choice. On Sunday the Clarion-Ledger reported that Diaz would interview for the position possibly as soon as Monday.
Dan Mullen should not re-hire Manny Diaz.
I don’t know why this search is taking so long. We were all expecting a hire to be announced by now (as well as Mullen’s raise), but it hasn’t for whatever reason. Hopefully that doesn’t mean MSU is going to “settle” for Diaz.
There’s no doubt the 2010 Bulldog defense was stout. Manny Diaz used that one year in the SEC to propel himself to a big payday at Texas in 2011 where he had a good first season but tailed off in 2012 and then was fired early in the 2013 season after giving up 550 yards rushing to BYU. He spent the 2014 season at Louisiana Tech where he had a good year.
It would seem that Manny Diaz is a good defensive coordinator, and certainly his first year is really good. But I just don’t think he should be a target unless everything else fails.
The 2010 defense won because of the supreme talent on the field, and Diaz was just a facilitator. Fletcher Cox, K.J. Wright and Pernell McPhee were all key components of that defense, and are currently all stars in the NFL. Johnthan Banks is a starter for Tampa Bay. Chris White won the Conerly Trophy that year. Charles Mitchell and Josh Boyd have spent time on NFL rosters. That team was loaded.
The 2015 MSU defense will not be void of talent or anything, but they won’t have the type of experieced group that existed in 2010. Looking back on White, McPhee and Wright all as seniors, plus Banks, Boyd, Cox, Mitchell, Corey Broomfield and Sean Furgeson all having plenty of starting experience coming into the year. Next year will feature the losses of Jamerson Love, Jay Hughes, Justin Cox, Matt Wells, Benardrick McKinney, Preston Smith, Kaleb Eulls and P.J. Jones from the starting 11. There is a lot of talent on deck, but it’s not going to be like 2010 because of the experience.
I’m not sold on Diaz. He’s a good coach, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of difference maker you need for a season that has huge potential like 2015 (because of the offense). To me, he’s just a notch above Chris Wilson, and several notches below Geoff Collins.
My first choice is former UAB head coach Bill Clark. My second choice is former Florida DC DJ Durkin. My third choice would be Ed Orgeron. If all of these guys say “no” then we’re not offering them enough money. If we’re not talking to those coaches or not willing to pay the going rate for a quality DC so we settle for Diaz on a $350K salary, I’ll be pretty disappointed.