He was leader the of a defense that was ranked at or close to the top of most important defensive categories in 2012, and he never saw the field.
|Notre Dame’s Defensive Before/After Bob Diaco|
|Category||Under Diaco||Before Diaco|
|First Downs Allowed/Game||18.1||19.5|
|Rushing First Downs Allowed/Game||6.8||8.9|
|Rushing Yards Allowed/Game||125.3||165.7|
|Rushing TDs Allowed/Game||0.7||1.5|
|Passing Yards Alloed/Game||1.1||1.4|
|Total Yards Allowed/Play||4.9||5.3|
|Total Yards Allowed/Game||330.7||360.7|
Assistant coach Bob Diaco was the mastermind behind the scenes of the one the best defensive units in Notre Dames modern era. A unit that was tested consistently and found ways to excel and prevail more often than not. This same unit finished the season ranked 7th overall in total defense, 2nd in scoring defense(10.3) and 5th in rushing defense(92.4)and even with the loss of leaders such as Manti Te’o(Chargers) and Kapron Lewis Moore(Ravens)his 2013 squad looks to have as much, if not more fire power as the previous year.
It is no secret that Diaco is Brian Kelly’s right hand man, and has been for years. Diaco is widely considered one of the top assistants in the country, and was recognized as so as he was voted the top assistant and recipient of the Broyles Award in 2012. Diaco is the first Irish assistant to ever win the Broyles Award, which is amazing considering the plethora of talent the Notre Dame program has had walking the sideline and up in the booth.
|Notre Dame’s 2012 Regular Season Defensive Stats|
|Red-one TDs Allowed Pct.||24.24||1st|
|Points Allowed Per Red-Zone Trip||2.9||1st|
|Rushing TDs Allowed||2||1st|
|Total Red-Zone TDs Allowed||8||1st|
|Red-Zone Rushing TDs Allowed||2||1st|
|Red-Zone Points Allowed||95||t-1st|
|First Downs Allowed/Game||16.08||6th|
|Pass Efficiency Defense||105.58||12th|
|Fourth Down Conversion Pct.||31.3||t-12th|
Twice an all-Big Ten Selection at the University of Iowa, Diaco was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award(Top LB)in 1995, and finished his career as the seventh-leading tackler in Iowa history. Former coach and boss Hayden Fry had this to say about his former player and graduate assistant –
“Bobby was always extremely tough, very intelligent,” Fry said. “He’s intelligent enough to analyze the situation and come up with a solution. The players (at Iowa) responded to him. He was one of my best leaders.
Those sentiments still ring true today as not only does Diaco still carry those emotional attributes in his arsenal, he has added trustworthy and charismatic. Multiple recruits have stated that it was their relationship with him that ended up being the edge the Irish needed in their choosing the Notre Dame program over other elite programs.
The thought of Bob Diaco actually leaving isn’t out of left field, as most Irish fans know how close they came to losing him last year. He was a finalist for the Boston College job, which eventually went to Steve Addazio, but just the thought of him leaving had Irish Nation on the edge of their seat. This isn’t uncommon ground, as the more success your program has, the more sought after that people involved in that program are. At least last year there was truly only one job that Diaco actually was connected to, and a bunch of rumors that coincided with said job. This year it would not be surprising to see him have multiple opportunities and every most Notre Dame fan’s fear a short list of offers once all is said and done.
|Previous Broyles Award Winners|
|Mickey Andrews||1996||Florida State|
|Ralph Friedgen||1999||Georgia Tech|
|Bud Foster||2006||Virginia Tech|
|Jim Heacock||2007||Ohio State|
|Bob Diaco||2012||Notre Dame|
In no way do we have any insight as to whether the young man from Iowa has his mind on forging his own path as the leader of another program, or if he feels comfortable as part of Kelly’s regime at Notre Dame, and if financially compensated, would be happy calling South Bend his home for the foreseeable future. What we do know is this, coach Diaco is every short list across the nation of possible replacements for programs in dire need of an overhaul.
Our suggestion is to enjoy him, his defense, his players, and his presence because if the Irish amass the type of defensive numbers they did in 2012,in our humble opinion we see very few scenarios in which he would return in 2014. His players love him, Brian Kelly needs him, and the fans adore him, but some people are destined for leadership roles, and Bob Diaco happens to be one of them.