When the Longhorns prepare for their game against Ole Miss this Saturday, they’ll do so without Manny Diaz. Defensive coordinator Diaz was fired Sunday after the Longhorns suffered a 40-21 defeat against unranked Brigham Young University this weekend.
"Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that," Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said in a statement on Sunday. The loss stung particularly given Brown’s preseason confidence in the Horns this season.
“Does it make us better on Saturday night?” Brown asked at his weekly press conference earlier today. “Who knows, but we can play a lot better than we did the other night. And I also told them this isn’t Manny’s fault by himself. You can throw me in there, you can throw the other defensive coaches, you can throw all you players, you can throw the offense. If they’d stayed on the field more, maybe we’d have gotten off the field a little quicker, and hadn’t been worn out on defense.”
Former UT co-defensive coordinator Greg Robinson is taking Diaz’s place, and will be tasked with correcting a defense that allowed a school record 550 rushing yards to BYU. Despite the fast turnaround, Robinson says he’s ready for the challenge.
"I've been around the team a lot, watched all of their film, and have been self scouting and scouting opponents since I came on board in July,” Robinson said in a statement. “Because of Longhorn Network, I've also been able to see these guys for two to three years and am very familiar with the personnel.”
Robinson had begun working as a football analyst with UT in July, after an extensive career of coaching work in both the NFL and the NCAA. His resume includes defensive coordinator work for two Super Bowl winning teams and Texas’ 2004 Rose Bowl team. But most recently, Robinson was the defensive coordinator for a 2010 Michigan team that was ranked 110th in the country in total defense.
“I think Greg has a track record as good as anybody in this country,” Brown said today. “He’s a seasoned veteran, he’s confident. Kids gravitate to him. He just makes kids play better … When he went to Michigan they weren’t very good. We’ve got good players on defense. We’ve just got to play better,” Brown said.
All’s not lost for Diaz: According to Texas Football, Diaz will be reassigned to another position in the athletics department. Diaz himself is staying tight-lipped about his firing, and has not issued a statement as of yet.