Mississippi State Football

Manny Diaz Leaves Mississippi State for Texas: Bad Decision

The next Texas DC has arrived
The next Texas DC has arrivedEric Francis/Getty Images
Mikey HendersonContributor IJanuary 6, 2011

The problem with being a Mississippi State fan is that once your coach gets a good team going, recruits start looking at your school seriously and teams around the country begin paying attention to you, one of the coaches who made all that happen will inevitably leave pretty quickly.

That is precisely what happened to Mississippi State with Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz. His unit was known as a physical, blitzing defense that always had a player who was at the right spot at the right time.

I don't think anybody can disagree that Texas is a more prestigious program than MSU.

But I also don't think anybody can disagree that Mississippi State was clearly heading towards national prominence. They jumped from 5-7 to 9-4 in one season.

Part of that is due to Dan Mullen, the offensive genius who broke my heart when he left Florida. He is 90 percent responsible for every move the offense makes.

However, Manny Diaz was the other piece of the puzzle. Mullen and Diaz were in charge of the program 50/50: Mullen with the offensive half of the team, Diaz with the defense.

So why Diaz would leave for a Texas team that is in complete disarray is far beyond me. If Texas was somewhat decent and had at least won a bowl game, with at least half of their staff returning, then I understand it.

But why leave a team when you're clearly moving them closer to an SEC Championship?

Really, think about this. What if MSU wins those heartbreaking games against Auburn and Arkansas? Then they're in the SEC Championship by some fourth-level tiebreaker. They were a drive away from beating Auburn, and a mistake away from beating Arkansas.

And by no means was Diaz riding Mullen's coattails, the expression used to describe coordinators of a team with a great head coach with a great head on the same side of the ball.

This was 100 percent Diaz's defense.

I just don't get this. If Diaz wanted out, he should have looked elsewhere. No offense to Texas, but right now, their football program isn't half of the one currently rising up the rankings in Starkville.

Or better yet, with the way he was heading, he could have waited one more year and gotten a head coaching job somewhere.

Now, Diaz faces a near impossible task with a Texas team that is a train wreck, when he could have stayed in Starkville and gotten another chance at an SEC Championship.

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