Texas Longhorns Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz Finally Released
The 2013 Texas Longhorns entered this season with hopes of winning a Big 12 title and possibly contending for a national title for the first time since 2009. Instead we are sitting here the second week of the season discussing the firing of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Diaz, who has been the defensive coordinator of the Longhorns for the past three seasons, has been released of his duties.
The Longhorns are coming off a 40-21 loss to BYU in which they allowed a school record 550 rushing yards. Texas seemed to have fixed their defensive problems after getting back Jordan Hicks and Jackson Jeffcoat from injury last season. The Horns allowed only seven points in their week one victory to New Mexico State, but obviously this was a product of an inferior opponent.
The fact that the Longhorns allowed 550 rushing yards was bad enough, but considering it was to BYU made the situation ten times worse. This was the same BYU team who had no resemblance of an offensive power house or offensive structure at all in their week one loss to Virginia. The Cougars ran a simple read option all night long against Texas and still they could not defend it one bit.
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, who was coming off a torn ACL last season, had his way Saturday night. Hill rushed for over 200 yards and wasn't even touched on most of his long runs. Hill tricked the Texas defense with simple read option plays in which he would get 20-30 yard runs on with ease.
The defense under Diaz for Texas has been an embarrassment for the past couple of seasons. The fact he even had a job as defensive coordinator this 2013 season was a miracle. The Longhorns had their worst statistical season ever as a defense in 2012 under Diaz. Fans everywhere were calling for his job following the horrible 2012 season, but the upper brass of Texas didn't see it the same way.
The defense under Diaz the past couple of years has been a state of horror like never seen before in Austin. The defense at times seems unmotivated, no passion and a lack of direction and instruction which could only be attributed to the coaching of Diaz. I realize the players play and coaches coach, but something just wasn't clicking when it came to the communication between the players and Diaz.
The Longhorns suffered a number of injuries last year including Jordan Hicks and Jackson Jeffcoat as I mentioned earlier. The idea of getting these two stars back was a swing in the right direction for Texas as a defense, but clearly it was more to the issue than just having these two return.
This Texas defense returned nine starters from a team in 2012 which won nine games and the thought that this was the year was a popular belief amongst Texas fans everywhere. This was clearly not the case in terms of national title hopes and the likelihood of a positive season seems a far distant at the moment.
The Texas defense under previous coordinator Will Muschamp was a fiery, competitive and spirited group that was one of the top defenses in the nation. Muschamp was also the coach in waiting at Texas, but once he was offered the Florida Gators' job he bolted to Gainesviile to accept the position as head coach. Since Muschamp left, Texas has not been any where close to the same defense as fans had came accustomed to in the previous decade.
The Longhorns have announced that former co defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will take over coaching duties as the defensive coordinator effective immediately. The Horns will hope this will provide a spark and sense of urgency for a defense that more than needs it. A struggling defense under new coach Robinson could mean big trouble for head coach Mack Brown very soon.
Texas will host up and coming Ole Miss next week and their young talent will be ready and motivated to take advantage of a weak defense. The defense of Texas will be the main storyline entering the Ole Miss game and the eyes of Texas will without doubt be watching very closely as to what comes of this change at defensive coordinator.
With this being said, the Big 12 title is still in reach for Texas since fortunately this loss was a non conference loss. The Big 12 title and a BCS bowl is still the ultimate goal at this point, but another performance like Texas had against BYU and this goal will quickly be thrown out the window.