BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen announced Monday that Manny Diaz, a nine-year veteran defensive coordinator has been named defensive coordinator.
"Manny's experience and development of players speaks for itself, "said Mullen. "When you look at the number of players he has helped reach the NFL, it's a testament to his abilities. We pride ourselves on playing great defense at Mississippi State. He's always had outstanding relationships with players, and I know he will excel in this role as part of the Bulldog family.
Diaz was offered a three-year deal worth $1.8 million and will serve as the Bulldogs linebackers coach in addition to his role as defensive coordinator. Diaz will be paid $575,000 in his first year, $600,000 in 2016 and $625,000 in 2017. A buyout is included in the contract.
“I want to thank Dan (Mullen) and Scott (Stricklin) for this opportunity, "stated Diaz. "When you look at the new standard Mississippi State has set and the national prominence that has come with the accomplishments of 2014, we want to continue to raise the bar here. This is a tremendous place to develop players on and off the field and ultimately compete for championships. I am thrilled to be a part of the Mississippi State family and can't wait to get to work on the 2015 season.”
In one season in Ruston, Diaz helped rebuild Louisiana Tech's defensive unit, one that improved from 104th to 23rd this season. His Bulldogs also led the nation in takeaways with 42.
The year before Diaz arrived at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs defense gave up 408.3 yards per game. In 2014 under Diaz, the Bulldogs allowed 362.5 yards.
Diaz will return to Starkville where he served as Mississippi State defensive coordinator under coach Dan Mullen in 2010. After one season he left for Texas but was fired during the 2013 season.
In 2010 with Mississippi State, Diaz guided a defense that ranked 22nd in the nation in scoring defense (19.9 ppg), 17th in rushing defense (214.9 ypg) and 17th in tackles for loss (7.0 pg). That was a dramatic turnaround for MSU from the season prior to his arrival. In 2009, the defense finished 71st in scoring defense, 62nd in rushing defense and 89th in TFL. MSU also finished ranked 13th in red-zone defense (.73) and 22nd in turnovers forced (28) nationally in 2010.
After he was hired at Louisiana Tech he was asked about his defense and he said, "The only way I gauge it is by the number under the win column. To me that determines how well you play defense. Defense determines whether you win the game. Offense determines by how many, that to me is what the game is all about."
Could Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson be wearing Purple & Gold in 2015? Maybe. NOLA.com is reporting that Golson has reached out to LSU about transferring to Baton Rouge. He's slated to graduate in May and if he does, Golson would be immediately eligible to vie for the starting quarterback job in 2015.
Golson was the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish during the 2014 regular season and threw for 3,445 yards and 29 touchdowns. Golson added 283 yards rushing with 8 touchdowns. However, he had his problems tossing 14 interceptions and lost eight fumbles.
Golson lost his starting job in the Music City Bowl as Malik Zaire played well in leading Notre Dame past LSU 31-28.
Golson guided Notre Dame to the 2012 BCS championship game but lost to Alabama. He had to sit out the 2013 season due to academic reasons and returned in 2014.
On Monday Golson tweeted...Don't Believe Everything You Read.
LSU fans would love to see Golson land in Baton Rouge. Sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings has been inconsistent in throwing the football and freshman quarterback Brandon Harris saw limited playing time having thrown for 452 yards, six touchdown and two interceptions. He added 159 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns but after a dismal showing against Auburn, Harris barely saw the playing field.
Golson would give LSU a boost to its passing game having a number of game breaking receivers who can become instant threats. During the 2014 season those receivers were hindered with passes sailing over their heads and into the turf. Golson's presence at LSU would surely give Jennings and Harris incentive to do better.
Coach Les Miles cannot afford to have his Tigers close out another 8-5 season. If so, he might be looking for another job. Miles is an excellent recruiter but for some reason he's had problems developing quarterbacks and Golson might be the guy to get the LSU offense back on track, much like Zach Mettenberger did in 2013.