Mississippi State hires defensive assistants

By The Associated Press

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has hired Manny Diaz and Chris Wilson to run his defense, which struggled to stop just about anybody last season.

The Bulldogs finished 11th out of 12 teams in the SEC in total defense, allowing 366 yards per game, and were in the bottom half of the league in rush defense, pass defense and scoring defense. Only three times did they allow fewer than 24 points in a game.

Mississippi State finished 5-7 and 3-5 in the conference.

Diaz will serve as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, while Wilson will coach the defensive line and serve as co-defensive coordinator, Mullen said Saturday.

“Manny has proven to be a bright defensive mind and will bring an aggressive and exciting style of coaching to our defense. Chris has taught some of the best defensive lines in the Big 12 at Colorado and Oklahoma,” Mullen said. “We’re excited to welcome both of them to our team and they’ll both hit the ground running as we sprint to the finish of the recruiting season.”

Diaz comes to Mississippi State after four years at Middle Tennessee. In 2009, the Blue Raiders were ranked in the top three in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense, rush defense, pass defense and scoring defense.

Wilson spent the past five seasons coaching defensive linemen at Oklahoma. The Sooners were eighth nationally against the run and tied for sixth in sacks per game last season.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops released a statement Saturday saying the job was a “good opportunity” for Wilson and that he appreciated Wilson’s contributions to the program.