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Purdue Football: Who is Bob Diaco?

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Purdue has named their defensive coordinator, but who the hell is this guy?

Northern Illinois v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Bob Diaco, does the name sound familiar?

He has been something of a journeyman over the course of his coaching career. His latest stop was at Louisiana Tech, where his defense ranked 31st in the nation, allowing just over 21 points per game. They also had the #2 ranked red zone defense this past season, so he probably wouldn’t have called a SOFT ZONE ON THIRD AND LONG TO LET OUT RIVAL SCORE. (Sorry)

His name probably sounds familiar for a couple of reasons. He was the Defensive Coordinator/Associate Head Coach during the Notre Dame National Championship Game Season. He served as DC there from 2010 to 2013, before getting the head coaching gig at Uconn.

Here is how is defense ranked by year at Notre Dame:

2010: 23rd

2011: 24th

2012: 2nd (National Championship Game Season)

2013: 27th

He did win the Broyles Award in 2012 as the nation’s top assistant football coach as well.

These solid top 30 defenses lead him to being hired as the Head Coach at Connecticut, where he served as HC from 2014 to 2016. He really was not loved at UCONN. Coach Diaco was the man who built the “rivalry” with Central Florida, the “Civil Conflict” - that Central Florida never wanted to be a part of.

While at Uconn, he did take them to a bowl game in 2015, but his other two years were nothing to brag about. But, during his bowl game season, his Huskies Defense was ranked 16th in the nation, which is impressive for Connecticut, as generally, they are, well awful.

We are omitting his year at Nebraska, as that was a straight up lame duck year in Nebraska football history, as everyone knew Riley was gone, but Diaco still came and his defense was awful - but he was working with players who quite frankly didn’t care.

It appears as if Coach Diaco will bring a 3-4 scheme to West Lafayette, but will be multiple in the fact that he still has done many 4 fronts. According to the Louisiana Tech Rivals Page, players have stated that Coach Diaco is one of the best teachers they have had. They also said he brings the Juice everyday - which is good to hear.

Another positive is, there is already some rapport on the staff. Coach Poindexter, who has served as our Co-Dc & Safeties coach, worked with Diaco while they were both at Uconn.

My guess is that he will bring over some 3-4 defensive scheme but will be very multiple as the defensive line could be one our deepest groups on the field in 2020 and Linebacker could be one of the thinnest.

Don’t worry. We may have more of a personnel for a 4-front defense, but it will work out. We have personnel to bounce back and forth. Sometimes, modernizing your defense and being multiple helps. Last year, our defense was so predictable in nearly all situations.

Here is a look at the La Tech Defense in a goal line situation.

Pretty traditional man coverage inside the ten yard line. Lineman are squeezed in while being flanked by OLBS.

Here is a look in which it appears to be more of a 4-2-5 defense.

There is a safety rolled down over the slot receiver as their “rover” type of player, with a traditional 4 front defensive line.

Here is a 3-3 look vs trips.

This is a traditional odd front. But, there are only three linebackers in as this is a passing down, so a quick adjustment from the traditional 3-4 he prefers to a 3-3 defense, to bring in an extra defensive back to help against the trips.

Traditional 3-4.

Here is what a traditional 3-4 would look like vs trips. OLB split the difference to the trips, bring a safety over #2, widen the trips side defensive end and let him rush.

Overall, I truly don’t mind this hire. The fact that his former players have loved playing for him speaks volumes. Saying he brings the juice and fire is huge. He is relatively young still at only 46 years old.

I think he will help modernize our defense a bit, as last year it appeared we continued to get stuck in the same situations over and over again.

In terms of if we have to switch to a 3-4, I think you see a version of the 3-4. Expect George to still be used on the outside as a pass rusher during passing downs and maybe more inside during downs that are clearly run downs. He can do whatever that is asked of him.

If we need a Nose Tackle, we have 3. Neal, Watts & Johnson can all do that. Barnes can easily slide back out to a OLB and be solid there.

Diaco is inheriting a young athletic defense. We are returning - Karlaftis, Neal (injury), Watts, Barnes, Graham, Alexander, Trice, Mackey, Major, Grant (Injury).

Also, there are solid pieces coming in from JUCO, in Howard and Mitchell - I expect both to start.

Welcome to Purdue, Coach Diaco. Boiler Up!