Could Miami football DC Manny Diaz be leaving for Temple?

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 06: Head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes coaching in the first half against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 06: Head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes coaching in the first half against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Several reports are stating that Miami Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz is high on the list of candidates to become the next Head Coach at Temple. Losing Diaz would be a big blow to the Miami Football program.

The reports connecting Diaz to Temple broke on Monday night. Diaz oversaw the Miami defense that led the nation in tackles for loss and pass defense and finished second in total defense this season. Diaz is arguably as essential to the success of the Miami football program in the future as Head Coach Mark Richt is.

The timing of Diaz’s decision could also impact the future of the Miami football program. The early signing date for National Letters of Intent is December 19. With eight days remaining until the early National Signing Day, losing Diaz would be a big blow to what is a good group of commits on the defensive side of the ball for Miami.

Several sites reported about Temple’s interest in Diaz on Monday night. Inside the U and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald were reporting locally about the Owls interest. Nationally, the Spun and Football Scoop wrote about Diaz pondering the opportunity to become a Head Coach for the first time.

The Temple job opened up when Geoff Collins moved on after leading the Owls to a 15-10 record in two seasons to replace the retiring Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech. Temple won the Bad Boy Mowers Gaspirilla Bowl in Collins’ first season in 2017. The Owls’ next Head Coach will be their fifth in the last nine seasons.

The entire process of Collins going to Georgia Tech and Diaz potentially replacing him could impact the Miami football program twice. Georgia Tech is Miami’s ACC Coastal Division rival. Diaz is considered to be the co-favorite to become Temple’s next Head Coach with Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko.

Elko was previously Notre Dame’s Defensive Coordinator in 2017. He spent the three seasons prior to that in the same position at Wake Forest and four seasons as Bowling Green’s Defensive Coordinator before his stint with the Demon Deacons.

In the most recent meeting between Diaz and Elko’s defenses, the Hurricanes shredded Notre Dame 41-8 in 2017. Miami outgained Notre Dame 374-261. The Hurricanes forced four turnovers in that game including a Trajan Bandy pick-six.

Both Elko who is 41 and Diaz who is 44 fit the criteria that Temple has used in the past in hiring Head Coaches. They are both relatively young, without any experience being a Head Coach. Miami fans are familiar with Temple for former Head Coach Al Golden leaving the Owls to take over as Hurricanes Head Coach from 2011-15.

Football Scoop reported on Monday that Temple’s preference is to hire a defensive minded Head Coach. Temple has become a breeding ground for coaches to move on to bigger positions. In addition to Collins and Golden, Boston College’s Steve Addazio and Baylor’s Matt Ruhle also spent time leading the Owls.

Per Football Scoop, Elko helped Texas A&M’s defense improve from 78th to 36th in total defense this season and from 87th to 58th in scoring defense. The Aggies are in their first season under former Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.

Football Scoop is also reporting that Temple could be prepared to hire their new Head Football Coach by the end of the week. That would give the Owls some time to have a Head Coach in place before National Signing Day next Wednesday.

Miami’s defense has skyrocketed under Diaz to become one of the nation’s elite units. Per Inside the U Miami has improved from 69th in total defense, 77th in scoring defense and 70th in sacks in 2015 to 12th, 20th and 22nd overall in those numbers in Diaz’s first season in 2016.

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Diaz’s aggressive get up the field system perfectly fits the mentality of the players from South Florida. It is also what the Hurricanes fans have come to expect from elite Miami Hurricanes defenses in the past.