Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Longhorns [Print without images]

Friday, December 7, 2012
What if ... Diaz is replaced as DC?

By William Wilkerson

What if Manny Diaz is replaced as Texas’ defensive coordinator after the Alamo Bowl?

Diaz is a young, energetic, inventive defensive coordinator who led the top defense in the Big 12 in his first season with Texas, as the Longhorns ranked first in the conference in total defense, rushing defense and pass defense.

But he suffered through a drastic sophomore slump in Austin that saw Texas finish as the Big 12's worst rush defense and give up 33.9 points per game, fifth-most in the conference.

Injuries didn’t help Diaz’s cause as Jordan Hicks, Texas’ best linebacker, was lost for the season during the third game, and Jackson Jeffcoat, a potential All-American defensive end, suffered a season-ending pectoral injury during its loss to Oklahoma.

But a restless Texas fan base, disgruntled with a 21-16 record over the last three seasons, isn’t much for excuses at this point. In their eyes, the Longhorns have too many high-profile recruits on that side of the ball to warrant the points and yards allowed this season, regardless of how young and inexperienced the players might be.

If this season does end up costing Diaz his position at Texas, don’t expect his absence to be the cause for any additional strain the Longhorns find on the recruiting trail, as any Texas defensive coordinator would have their work cut out for them right now.

He actually did a very good job using his energetic persona to help garner commitments from Darius James, Naashon Hughes and Deoundrei Davis, among others.

Right now, the fact of the matter is that recruiting for a defensive coordinator is tougher now than it has been in the recent past. Especially with Texas A&M riding a tidal wave of momentum.

Sixteen losses in three seasons, with the potential of a 17th later this month, is hard to sell anyone. Diaz could probably do it because he can sell ice to an eskimo. But will he get the chance?