Manny Diaz talks about Penn State defense, spring training and the impact of freshmen

Penn State is working on major personnel adjustments on both sides of the ball during its ongoing spring training schedule. As for personnel changes, the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Manny Diaz is in the spotlight after replacing longtime Nittany Lions assistant Brent Pry.

“He’s done a really good job at the meetings. He’s also been there,” the Penn State head coach said. james franklin said in a post-training press conference on Wednesday. “I like the way he sees football and the way he leads. I think the adjustments we’ve made in defense are going to really benefit us.”

Diaz has spent the past six seasons in Miami, initially serving as defensive coordinator before becoming head coach in 2019. He totaled a 21-15 record in that role before his dismissal in December 2021, which quickly led to a landing point at State College. .

A college football veteran whose career spans the ACC (Florida State, Miami, NC State), Big 12 (Texas) and SEC (Mississippi State), this marks the first Big Ten job for Diaz. , who is 48 years old. old. He joined Penn State’s staff last December ahead of the Outback Bowl, but only officially oversaw workouts two weeks ago, and Wednesday marked Diaz’s first media session since he was been presented.

The Nittany Lions must replace seven starters on defense and have five months to prepare before opening the 2022 campaign at Purdue. Fresh out of practice, Diaz discussed several scenarios, including positional situations, young talent, emerging leaders and his transition from head coaching responsibilities.

Keep reading for a review of Diaz’s Wednesday Q&A…