Oklahoma mailbag: Why did Sooners bring in Bob Diaco?
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Tom Adkins asks, why did Oklahoma hire a defensive analyst?
The Sooners have employed off-the-field coaches for several years. NCAA rules allow the head coach, nine assistant coaches and four graduate assistant coaches to work with players on the field. Off the field, there isn’t a limit.
The hiring of Bob Diaco, which became official on Monday, is a big step for the Sooners. Diaco is a former head coach at Connecticut and won the Frank Broyles Award as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator in 2012. He was Nebraska’s defensive coordinator in 2017. Diaco was not retained by new head coach Scott Frost.
“It was kind of a situation where it worked out. It was something he was looking for and something we were looking for, too, the chance to add a big-picture guy like him who’s had the experience he’s had, both as a head coach and prominent defensive coordinator,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said on Monday. “A guy who, I think, won the Broyles Award a few years ago, a guy who’s always had a great reputation in this business not only for the kind of coach he is but the kind of man he is. He was a good fit with our defensive staff, our whole staff.”
What Diaco will do this season is help the defensive staff formulate game plans and help with personnel decisions. Remember, he cannot “coach” the players and he cannot recruit. All his work will be with the coaching staff.
But it’s clear Diaco will have more input than a typical analyst.
“Everyone uses them different ways. Some people use them as go-fers, some people use them as guys to input data and get the busy work ready,” Riley said. “Guys like him who have more experience, you’ll use him for more big-picture ideas. Out here he can’t do as much, but in our staff room, he’ll be like another full-time coach in there.”
Is there reason to think this a move to get a replacement in place for defensive coordinator Mike Stoops?
That is highly doubtful. Diaco and Stoops have a relationship that goes back to the early 1990s. Both are Iowa graduates. It’s doubtful Riley would have brought Diaco on without Stoops’ blessing.