The hard fall of former Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has found a landing spot in Ruston, Louisiana, as Diaz will assume defensive coordinator duties for the Bulldogs under head coach Skip Holtz.
Holtz lost his previous defensive coordinator Kim Dameron to Eastern Illinois and knows something about hard landings, having failed at South Florida after parlaying his success at Eastern Carolina into the job replacing fired head coach Jim Leavitt. Holtz lasted only three seasons at South Florida.
Diaz, meanwhile, is attempting to rebuild his own reputation that took such a hit after he was fired at Texas following the BYU game that saw his defense give up 550 rushing yards to the Cougars.
Known for his reliance on fire zone blitzes instead of installing a more coherent defensive framework in line with collegiate defensive orthodoxy, will Diaz learn from his mistakes at Texas and run more base defenses that require less costly installation or will he continue down the path he took that ultimately cost him his job in Austin?
When Diaz came to Texas, he known for his philosophical openness and his lack of complete attachment to any particular defensive scheme after his unorthodox rise through the college coaching ranks.
Ultimately, however, it was the lack of ability by Diaz to adjust what wasn't working and to develop the fundamentals of his defensive players, especially linebackers, that ended his time with the Longhorns. The relative success of his replacement, Greg Robinson, who had been so maligned at his previous two stops, hasn't helped the perception of Diaz nationally or among Longhorns fans, either.
But Diaz certainly wasn't aided by the myriad failures of the end of Mack Brown's tenure as Texas head coach and now has an opportunity to re-write some of the narrative regarding the end of his own tenure at Texas and resurrect his reputation as a rising figure in the defensive coaching ranks.