Rumors: Texas DC Manny Diaz the Front-Runner at Florida International?

By Patrick Schmidt

Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz may have found a remedy for his hot seat in Austin and could be the new head coach at Florida International after interviewing on Monday.

Florida International is one of three programs without a head coach after the school fired Mario Cristobal after a 27-27 record in six seasons.

Diaz came to Texas after serving as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Mississippi State where he helped the Bulldogs defense complete a rapid turnaround from the year before.

The year before Diaz was put in charge of the defense they ranked 71st in points per game allowed, and in the lone year with Diaz at the helm, the Bulldogs ranked 19th.

That earned him a job on Mack Brown’s coaching staff, but after two seasons in Austin, Diaz can sense his time coming to an end and I think this is a smart move on his part to seek a head coaching gig before he gets axed next season.

The Longhorns had one of their worst seasons on the defensive side of the ball this season in recent memory, finishing 73rd in scoring defense, giving up an average of 29.4 points per game.

Rock bottom came in the first three games of October when the defense surrendered an average of 53.6 points per game–including a 63 point outburst at the hands of Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.

Diaz is a Miami native and would play well to the community where his father Manny serves as the mayor of Miami, but that doesn’t help his football acumen in the slightest.

I have my reservations whether Diaz can be an effective head coach, but perhaps at FIU where the spotlight doesn’t shine as bright as it does at Texas he can get that program headed in the right direction again.

Cristobal showed that you can have a modicum of success there following 15 total wins in 2010 and 2011 and two bowl appearances, so Diaz wouldn’t be directing a completely deplorable program.

If Diaz does in fact take the job, I’m willing to bet Longhorn nation will be happy to see him go and wish him nothing but the best at FIU.

UPDATE: Diaz has withdrawn from consideration for the FIU job late Tuesday night.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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