Manny Diaz takes over at Temple

Ed Benkin
December 13, 2018 - 11:08 pm

Ed Benkin/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- First impressions go a long way.  Manny Diaz made a strong one during his first day at Temple.

The school officially introduced Diaz as the new Temple Head Football Coach on Thursday.  Diaz takes over for Geoff Collins, who left to take a similar position at Georgia Tech.  Diaz has spent the past three seasons as the Defensive Coordinator at the University of Miami.  Under Diaz' guidance, the Hurricanes put together one of the top defenses in the nation.  It seemed inevitable that Diaz would land a head coaching job.  For Diaz, there was a lot to like about what he saw on North Broad Street.

"Temple wins," said Diaz.  "Temple wins in everything it does.  It wins academically and wins athletically.  It competes at a high level and wants to be great in all things it takes on.  That's something that to me from the outside, it was obvious.  That's why I was drawn to Temple."

There is no question Temple has had an impressive run of success on the gridiron in recent years.  The Owls are 8-4 this season and preparing to face Duke in the Independence Bowl on December 27th.  Diaz will hit the recruiting trail while his new team prepares for the Blue Devils.  Diaz had a chance to meet the team on Thursday and made it clear he will give all of his players a chance to make their mark at Temple.

"I told the players this is going to be a players' team," Diaz said.  "People can talk about the coach, but the onus is going to be on them and the spotlight is going to be on them.  Our job is to properly lead them, to show them the way and to take them to somewhere they can't get on their own."

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Diaz has a strong defensive background.  In addition to his work in Miami, Diaz has had success as a defensive coach at Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech, Texas and N.C. State.  He will join a Temple program which plays in a conference filled with offensive powerhouses.  Diaz said is ready for the challenge of the likes of U.C.F. and Houston in the American Athletic Conference.

"That's what college football is all about now," said Diaz.  "The game is slanting towards offense with some of the things that are happening, but what I found is the more things change, the more they stay the same.  What's really happened is the importance of tackling and the importance of leverage and the importance of defeating blocks.  Offenses can spread you out and create one-on-ones.  If they find a guy that's an unwilling tackler, they can go at you all day."

It appears Diaz already has a host of willing tacklers as well as other determined players on the offensive end.  Diaz seems to be the right fit for Temple.  The only question is how long Temple can keep him.  The likes of Collins, Matt Rhule and Steve Addazio have all left for bigger jobs after short stints.  For Diaz, Monday was not about the beginning of the use of Temple as a springboard to another job.  His only concern is keeping the Owls in contention in the American Conference.

"You offer them your best every day," Diaz said.  "Everything else is outside of our control.  My theory is bloom where you're planted.  I've had that theory when I've taken any job in this profession.  I think it's important we know the players have our full commitment and we are fully invested in their development."