James Franklin lost some pieces of his coaching staff this offseason. Most notably, longtime assistant Brent Pry left Penn State to become the head coach at Virginia Tech.

Pry’s time with Franklin dates back to 2011 when Franklin landed the head coaching job at Vanderbilt. Pry was also Penn State’s defensive coordinator since 2016.

Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, the program was able to pivot and landed Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator. Diaz brings with him a wealth of experience as a DC and was unexpectedly available after a whirlwind offseason at Miami led to his removal.

In his first impressions of Diaz, Franklin pointed to the experience that Diaz brings to the table. Franklin also likes the fit and is “excited” for some new wrinkles from the defense under Diaz.

Diaz takes over a unit that allowed 17.3 points per game in 2021, a mark that ranked 7th nationally. He will try to replicate those numbers with a strong showing in 2022.