But Diaz’s star dimmed quickly. In his first season, the Longhorns lost 55-17 to Oklahoma, 38-26 to Oklahoma State and 48-24 to Baylor. The next season, things got worse. Texas gave up more than 5,000 yards of total offense for the first time in school history.
One day after the second game of last season, with no sign of improvement in sight, coach Mack Brown fired Diaz.
“Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that,” Brown said immediately after the firing.
Diaz certainly hopes to have better success in Norman against the Sooners than he did in two meeting at the Cotton Bowl.
Watching Oklahoma line up in the Sugar Bowl — and how Alabama’s defense responded — was an eye-opener to the players Diaz coaches.
“It gets their attention when they see the University of Alabama on the first play of the Sugar Bowl and all 11 guys are in a stance and ready to play and that was probably the last snap of the whole game that that occurs,” Diaz said. “No matter how you try to prepare them for the tempo that Oklahoma’s offense plays with and how fast they really go, every defensive coordinator who goes up against them preaches the same thing in terms of how imperative it is to get ready to play and yet they still manage to surprise the defense with their tempo.
“This game will be as much of a battle from the whistle until the snap as much as it is from the snap to the whistle.”