surrendering 40 points and 550 rushing yards in an upset loss to Brigham Young on Saturday night, Texas coach Mack Brown didn't waste any time making a change. Yahoo Sports sources confirmed what was originally reported by Orangebloods.com: Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Sunday afternoon.
Diaz was replaced by former Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who was last in that role at the school in 2004. After several unsuccessful tenures elsewhere, Robinson returned to Texas this offseason as a program analyst. His presence and availability probably shortened the leash on Diaz, whose Longhorns defense last year was among the worst in recent Texas history, allowing more than 400 yards and 29 points per game.
"Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that," Brown said in a Texas release issued Sunday evening.
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The dismissal of Diaz may only be a prelude to bigger changes if this season continues on a disappointing path for the Longhorns. Brown, who has won 151 games and a national title in 16 seasons at Texas, will be under serious pressure.
Brown told Yahoo Sports last month, "I'm not going to (be fired)." He also said he wants to coach through the end of his contract in 2020. But Brown acknowledged that his program's performance the past three seasons – a 22-16 record, just 11-15 in Big 12 play – was not up to the standard he's set at Texas.
Coming off a 9-4 record last year, Brown was optimistic heading into 2013 that he had his best team since going 13-1 in 2009.
"We could win nine again and be disappointed," Brown said. "Or we could win all of them."
They can no longer win all of them. And after a historically bad defensive showing against a BYU team that lost its opener to Virginia, there is significant concern that the Longhorns could lose several more games. Anything less than a Big 12 championship is likely to result in calls for Brown to go – and it will take a significant turnaround from Saturday night to foresee Texas as a league title contender.
Although Diaz was unsuccessful at Texas, he was highly regarded in previous tenures at Mississippi State and North Carolina State. He should not have a problem finding another job in 2014 at the latest.