In style, current Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator and former defensive coordinator Will Muscamp, currently the head coach at Florida, differ quite significantly in their respective approaches to scheming on their side of the ball.
However, that's not the point here. The point here is the difference between how Diaz and Muschamp handle the media. While Coach Boom often seems as if he is merely surviving a press conference before he can get back to the film room, Diaz works the media in a way that surely makesproud. In fact, he's probably a better quote than the Texas head coach, who tends to be a bit more combative with the media, as well as less forthcoming.
Diaz seems in his element. Perhaps it's because he was a communications major in college. Maybe it's because his father was a politician, serving for a time as the mayor of Miami.
Whatever the cause, there's no doubt that Diaz says awesome things.
Last fall, it was his characterization of co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's offense as having tight ends and H-backs coming out of helicopters and holes in the ground.
This spring, it was his characterization of sophomore linebacker Steve Edmond as the guy who doesn't pick fights, but rather sits in the back of the room quietly until it's time to take action. At which point he becomes quite dangerous, much more dangerous than the dude running his mouth who doesn't want to fight.
On Monday, Diaz had a couple of gems, as usual.
Edmond seems to be a treasure trove of quotability. Try this one on for size:
The first thing I want to see Steve do is be where he's supposed to be. Everybody's waiting for the moment where he, like, eats the quarterback's head or whatever.
For a guy who is a couple trips to Golden Corral from growing into a defensive tackle, putting that type of hunger past Edmond might not be a good idea. The thought is that Diaz will be sending Edmond into the middle of the line on blitzes -- the shortest path to the quarterback is a straight line from the middle of the defense -- which should give him some opportunities for eating the head of a passer or two this season. Better the head of a quarterback or two than multiple trips to that chocolate fountain at the Corral. I hope I didn't just give him any ideas...
With the rise of players like Texas junior linebacker Demarco Cobbs, Oklahoma junior safety/nickelback Tony Jefferson, and Oklahoma State junior Shaun Lewis around the Big 12, players who can excel both in run support filling the outside gaps and dropping into coverage, the word "hybrid" is increasingly being dropped regarding those athletes.
Being awesome and everything, Diaz had a good quip ready when asked about them:
I think that's a cool word, you know what I mean? I get told by recruits, ‘Hey, I'm a hybrid.' I'm like, ‘Do I plug you in at night and get better gas mileage?' ... It's all about speed. When someone says you're a hybrid, that just means you're fast for your size.
The line about plugging in at night? Awesome. Something for the beat writers to ask Cobbs if he's ever made available to the media.
The defensive tackles aren't in there just to plug some space in the running game, either:
We're not like the Secret Service just sitting there clogging it up and taking bullets. In our defense, with the defensive tackle position there's not a great change in the job description for those positions.
All this explains why Chris Whaley is listed as the starting nose tackle, even though he's known as a fierce pass-rusher, rather than the stereotypical two-gap player like former Alabama blob Terrence Cody. Don't jump in front of the bullets, Whaley! You're not the Secret Service!
Diaz also may have to do his best Donald Trump impression at some point. Bear with me on this one:
What's hard, and this is no different than in the business world, when you have to bring somebody in who's inexperienced and put them in a high role in your company, that's when you have issues. You want those guys to start at an apprentice level. I think because of the depth we have, we can bring those guys on slower and let them earn their way onto the field.
"Dalton Santos, you missed your gap filling against that inside zone in mop-up duty against Wyoming. You're fired!"
Question: If Santos gets fired from the Apprentice, does he take hell with him on the way out of town?
Surprisingly enough, to the extent that anything is surprising coming from Diaz, the young players on defense may have to make a run to reach deep into their Trapper Keepers for a seldom-used implement before they take the field on Saturday against Wyoming:
They are going to line up in tackle-over formations. Everything to make you, when you say, "Hey, let's go, you know, fire up, knock 'em back," And all then of a sudden, you have to get your protractor out there and start doing calculations on where they are all at. That's by design. That's what they do.
Betcha that Santos, Jinkens, and Duke Thomas didn't know that they needed to bring their protractor with them to college for football purposes. Maybe Blake Gideon leaving his up in Leander was the reason he always took so many poor angles.
This exchange was probably the best:
So are you a lot faster this year?"Me personally? I'm the same."
Since I like to imagine things, like Texas not losing to Kansas State all the time, in my mind's eye, I see Diaz dropping the mic and leaving the room at this point. Which would be so unbelievably baller.
Even if you leave the room when you do that, don't ever leave us, coach Diaz. No one could replace you like you replaced Muschamp. I crossed out "I heart Coach Boom" on my Trapper Keeper and wrote "I heart Manny."