I'll continue to fan the Kirby Smart flames until the embers are as cold as Saban's heart.
From what I can gather, Smart has been targeted (duh?) which only assures us of one thing: rumors are rampant. Free 2-year subscription to BDB for the first commenter to link a message board entry containing a flight log. Something with more validity, the UberTwitterer David Pollack even says Smart will interview in the state of Georgia....
As nice as it would be to get Smart, our chances at the Bama DC are long...but a necessary step in the process regardless.
So why not look at other options as well. I'm sure you've seen lists out there. When/if Smart is eliminated as a candidate, I believe all bets are off. Coach Richt has a penchant for bringing in hires from nowhere. So who knows who this defensive savior will be...
Some of the names out there I'm really wary of. Others downright scare me (more on that tomorrow). But I kept hearing ($$) the name Manny Diaz and I was intrigued. I snooped around a little and here's what I found:
Diaz is finishing his first year as Middle Tennessee's DC and has made quite an impression. The MTSU defense racked up a school record 33 sacks and 96 tackles for loss. Although this season has been his first at the DC position, he's been a part of successful units in the past, namely at NC State where in '05 the Wolfpack was 8th nationally in total defense.
While in Raleigh, Diaz coached LBs, DBs and Safeties at various times and shared in some of the play-calling duties. At Middle Tennessee he coaches the safeties and LBs, according to his bio page.
His ties to Coach Richt are from FSU, where Diaz graduated in 1995. Diaz began his coaching career under Mickey Andrews and was a part of the Seminoles' run to a Nat'l Championship in 1999.
It appears Diaz recruits Florida and has strong ties to the Miami area, where his dad is the mayor.
The turnover margin was an achilles heel for the Dawgs this season. Meanwhile, Diaz's defense pounced on 14 fumbles and intercepted 17 passes. MTSU finished +11 in TO margin. In addition to the sacks and TFLs mentioned above, the Blue Raider defense broke up 46 passes and produced 27 QB hurries.
The Blue Raiders finished the season 9-3 and accepted a bid to the New Orleans Bowl where they will play Southern Miss on December 20th.
- Ties to Coach Richt
- Familiar with a recruiting region of need
- Could finish bowl game and stay in Louisiana to lend Dawgs a hand a week later (j/k...maybe??)
- history of success
- aggressive style could match well with young, raw talent in Athens
- would be relatively cheap**
- very young, 10th youngest coordinator in college football
- only one year xp as a DC in the Sun Belt conference
- could be a hard sell to fans
What do YOU think?
* all stats taken from CFBStats
** I really hesitate to throw that bullet in there, because I hope that money is not an issue in this search. And I feel that Diaz may be better than some of the names I have heard. Like I said, more on that tomorrow.
The South Florida angle is intriguing and would not be a surprise if that is one of Richt's requirements.
While at FSU, what was Lily's recruiting area? I think it may have been northeast part of state, not sure.
From Martinez to Diaz? Is this guy related to Willie?
Has anyone mentioned Al Groh. I know he is older but has tons of experience on defense , worked for Parcells for years. He also has a place up near Atlanta and is a member at Hawksridge Golf Club in Ballground so what do you think??
Looks okay but I'm not sold on anyone having success in the Sunbelt or ACC for that matter. I've seen Steele mentioned and that should scare anyone that watched the Clemson-GT game.
Mike Pretty sure you're right about Lilly. But to clarify, I'm not 100% sure Diaz recruits the Miami area, but if assigned that area he obviously has ties. The intertubes is light on Diaz info. He's not even Wiki'd yet.
FLDAWG Not that I'm aware... :)
Anon I've heard Groh's name mentioned on talk radio as I held a grain of salt. Groh's resume is intriguing, but I would have to imagine that his name would be pretty far down.
At this point I'm thinking we're all surprised in one of two ways: Smart actually makes the move OR CMR pulls a name out of relative nowhere.
The3rdRicht Tune in tomorrow...
Diaz...probably not as much experience as I would like to see in our new DC...some proven success at a major program should be a requirement.
I like like Smart, of course, but I think we should look closely as Travis Jones, the Saints assistant. He is a Georgia boy, was a defensive coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU, etc. An solid resume all around.
I just think with Alabama being in the title game makes it tough for us to get Kirby back in Athens from a timing standpoint. Hope we can get him but it will be a long wait till after the national championship game. Man that D looked good vs the gayterds!
I don't think age is a factor. After all, we passed on Muschamp and Smart due to their youth and now we are dying to have either of them. And I don't think coaching in the Sun Belt is a bad thing either. Urban Meyer went from the Mountain West to the SEC and did just fine. I want to see someone with an attack mentality that drills fundamentals like solid tackling. I don't care where he has been before....
I'd rather give Garner a shot at DC than take a chance on a supernova DC from a lesser conference.
Garner doesn't want to be the DC he loves being the recruiting cordinator and coaching the Dt's.
How soon we all seem to forget the last NOBODY DC that Richt brought in... Actually his first DC. I don't believe that anyone was overly impressed with VanGorder when we pulled him in from the Western Illinois Leathernecks. You have to start somewhere. Playing tough defense in a "lesser" conference against opponents on an "even" playing field speaks volumes. Once you can take that system or attitude in to the SEC and have that speed, those recruits, and those resources available to you, who are we to say someone like that could not get it done...
Im not so sure about his shirt-tie combo
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