August 18, 2010

Linebacker preview

Mississippi State enters its fourth consecutive season with a new linebackers coach but new coordinator Manny Diaz brings something different to the table than any of the three previous coaches.

The young energetic coach brings an attacking style that brings blitzes from every direction which means the linebacking unit will be very active for the Bulldogs in 2010.

"What we want to do is put our players in the best position to make plays," Diaz said. "To do that we try to be very multiple. We try to create a lot of one-on-one opportunities like the offense. We are a player's defense. It's not about the scheme and it's not about the coaches. We don't do anything fancy that anyone else doesn't do. But what we do what we do and try to do it well and aggressively. We put a lot of trust in our players to make plays and generally they respond to that."

Diaz was brought in as the new co-defenisve coordinator in January after four seasons at Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders finished 2009 ranked second nationally with 8.5 stops per game behind the line of scrimmage and sixth in sacks.

Even though the 36-year old worked with the linebackers throughout the spring and fall camp he admits he will not fully know their potential until the first game on Sept. 4.

"You really don't know until you get into a game," Diaz said. "You give everybody a clean slate. You have an idea after practice but I really won't know everything about our guys until I see them in a game and responding to how they have been coached."

The first task Diaz had to answer was who would replace the team's leading tacklerJamar Chaney at mike linebacker. The answer was quite simple as he moved senior Chris White inside.

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