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MMQB - Good Problem to Have

Silver linings, if you will

Syndication: The Fayetteville Observer Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

This past week, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz departed your Penn State Nittany Lions to take over as the Duke Blue Devils head coach.

As expected, Penn State fans responded calmly and rationally when they heard about this news.

As a selfish Penn State fan, I won’t sit here and pretend that I’m overjoyed by this news - given that Andy Kotelnicki is just arriving this off-season to take over the offense, I would have preferred stability on the other side of the ball.

But the reality is, this actually likely is good news, or at least creates a good problem to have.

On the one hand, when Brent Pry left to become the head coach at Virginia Tech, there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Enter Manny Diaz, who managed to outperform even Pry’s best defenses. Now Manny is leaving to become the head coach at Duke, and I think you can see where I’m headed with this.

Penn State is now a stepping stone job, and that is good news. Or, again, a good problem to have. Back-to-back defensive coordinators have departed the program to take over as head coaches elsewhere. This should be a cowbell clanging to all defensive coaches aspiring to become head coaches some day: come to Penn State, churn out a few good seasons of high quality defense, and head on to that big payday as the BMOC.

Yes, turnover is tough. Continuity in a coaching staff typically works wonders, and it helps recruits know who they’ll be playing for, what type of scheme they’ll be playing in, etc. With a new coordinator comes inevitable questions. Will they be as good? Will the defense take a step back? Will recruits decommit? Will current players transfer?

But in today’s fast-paced world of college football, it is very much admirable to bring in high quality coaches, get a few good seasons out of them, and then pat them on the back as they head out the door to bigger things.

So, yes, I’m sad to see Manny go. His defenses were as entertaining as they were dominant. The next DC will have questions to answer, but James Franklin now has a track record (at least on the defensive side of the ball) of good hires, and I have faith that the next DC will keep the good times rolling.

That is, until we have this exact same conversation a few years from now when THAT coordinator leaves, and we go right back to Penn State Pessimism™.