Update: Texas has officially confirmed the news.
The University of Texas fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after the Longhorns' historically bad performance against BYU, according to Orangebloods.com's Chip Brown. Brown also reports Diaz will be replaced by Greg Robinson, the former Longhorns defensive coordinator brought on during the offseason as a personnel analyst.
Diaz's defense gave up a school-record 550 rushing yards to the Cougars as the No. 15 Longhorns lost 40-21 in Provo on Saturday night. It was the first non-conference road loss for Texas since 2000.
A drastic move by Texas was to be expected at some point, but this is still a surprise. On Saturday, Wescott Eberts at Burnt Orange Nation wrote:
In fact, there may be no immediate solutions here. The defense is still soft and not coached particularly well, destroying the preseason narrative of improvement, of more toughness, more effort, better tackling. Does a slight regime change alter that or does Texas merely have to wade through what is looking like another disastrous season before assessing the state of the program?
Diaz was under consideration for the vacant FIU job in the offseason, but withdrew his name in order to stay with the Texas program. In 2012, the Longhorns gave up nearly 30 points per game, allowing opponents to run for 4.62 yards per carry and score on 91.4 percent of red zone attempts.
Robinson, the head coach at Syracuse from 2005 through 2008, also oversaw Rich Rodriguez's defenses at Michigan. Nothing that happened during either of those tenures impresses anyone whatsoever.
Diaz was a positional coach at NC State before being hired as defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State in 2006. After four years with the Blue Raiders, he was hired by Mississippi State, and took what was a 71st-ranked scoring defense in 2009 to a top-25 defense in 2010.
In 2011, Diaz was hired by Texas as the defensive coordinator, and saw a slight improvement from the previous season. In his second year, the poor results came, as Texas gave up a full touchdown more per game than in his first year. Through two games in 2013, it appears Texas has had enough.
How are Longhorns fans taking the news? If Barking Carnival is any gauge, very little has changed:
Greg Davis and Manny Diaz were guillotined in the square. Rightfully. But the heads that need to roll are attached to bodies much higher on the org chart.
Diaz's replacement(s) will have to operate within the constructs of the current defense - both with respect to scheme, poor fundamentals, and our complete innocence to aggression, physical play, or pride. Those things can't be dealt with in a bye week or two. Though I don't doubt we can be coached up a bit.