The December announcement of Geoff Collins leaving Mississippi State to take the defensive coordinator position at Florida left many Bulldog fans surprised and curious as to whom would take over the title of defensive coordinator in Starkville. One familiar name bounced around in the heads of many fans, Manny Diaz, the former Mississippi State defensive coordinator who left to take the same spot at Texas before moving over to Louisiana Tech.
According to this report from the Clarion-Ledger's Michael Bonner, Diaz to Mississippi State might be taking a step closer to reality with the former Bulldog coachnexpected to interview with Mississippi State this week, according to sources.
The Bulldogs put up solid defensive numbers in 2010, Diaz's only season in Starkville. The team allowed 19.9 points per contest, which was good for 22nd in the nation.
The Bulldogs finished that season 9-4 with a 52-14 victory over the Michigan Wolverines in the Gator Bowl. Against SEC opponents, the Bulldogs gave up 22.5 points per game. Perhaps the defensive highlight of the season came in the Bulldogs' 10-7 victory on the road against the Florida Gators, although holding the Cam Newton led Auburn Tigers to 17 points in a three-point loss in Starkville also looked impressive. The shutdown of the Michigan offense also proved impressive.
If the Bulldogs should decide to hire Diaz, time will tell if the two sides can create magic a second time around. One cannot argue with the success that the Bulldogs had defensively with Diaz at the helm. However, it cannot be denied that the defense had a wealth of talent in players such as K.J. Wright, Pernell McPhee, Cam Lawrence, Charles Mitchell, Johnthan Banks and others who went on to be drafted or to play in the NFL.
At the end of the day, Diaz is most definitely worth a look, but will he be the final and best answer? That remains the question.