Yesterday the Clarion-Ledger reported that former MSU and current Louisiana Tech defensive coordinator Manny Diaz would interview for the same position at Mississippi State. That position was made vacant after Geoff Collins left for the same position at Florida late last year. It appears that the interview went well and that Dan and Manny have come to terms today, as Sports Illustrated is reporting that Manny is headed back to Starkville:
Source: La Tech DC Manny Diaz will be the next DC at Mississippi State.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) January 5, 2015
If true, it will be an interesting journey back to Starkville for Diaz and definitely one you don't see very often. After one year as the DC in 2010 at State, Manny was hired away by Mack Brown at Texas. Things didn't go as planned for him at Texas (or Mack, either), as he was fired just several games into the 2013 season after a bad loss to BYU. Since then, he spent a year rebuilding his image as the defensive coordinator for the Ruston, Louisiana-version of the Bulldogs where his D finished the 2014 season 39th in scoring defense and 35th in total defense. His 2011 Texas defense finished 33rd in scoring defense, while 2012's finished 72nd. His 2010 defense at Mississippi State -- one that featured future pros Fletcher Cox, Pernell McPhee, KJ Wright, Johnthan Banks, and Josh Boyd -- finished 21st. (edited to add: Diaz's Tech D also led the country in turnovers last year:)
MSU expected to go official with Manny Diaz back as DC. His defense at La Tech led the country in turnovers last year.— Robbie Faulk (@robbiefaulk247) January 5, 2015
Manny's name has been mentioned as a candidate for the job since Collins first left for Gainesville last month. The fanbase seems decidedly split on whether or not he'd be a good hire to bring back to Starkville, and now at least 50% of us get the chance to prove that we were right. The first place I saw his impending hiring reported (legitimately) was on sixpackspeak.com, just to make sure credit is given where it's due.
Former Ole Miss and interim USC head coach Ed Orgeron was also reportedly a candidate, and there were reports that former Florida DC DJ Durkin would get a look as well. I haven't seen any concrete reports as to how much of a legitimate candidate Orgeron ever was, and Durkin appears headed to Michigan with things falling through between Michigan and Stanford's defensive coordinator.
Diaz will inherit a defense in 2015 that will look to replace seven starters (assuming Benardrick McKinney goes pro) but that is also returning a lot of young talent.