LINCOLN, Neb. — Bob Diaco doesn’t need to read a motivational quote to get out of bed in the morning.
Nebraska’s new defensive coordinator said on Friday at his opening press conference that when his feet hit the floor he’s already “on fire.”
And that’s how he’ll operate as the head of the Blackshirts, he said, which is an honor he’s taking seriously, and with fire.
“It’s a spectacular honor to be entrusted with this responsibility,” Diaco said of taking over Nebraska’s defense. “To be in this role, to have the opportunity to lead a Blackshirt defense is an awesome responsibility. One that I am incredibly excited about, ready for the work and really can’t wait to get it to full speed.”
Diaco was most recently the head coach at Connecticut, but was fired after an 11-26 record over three seasons. Prior to that he was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, and helped the Fighting Irish reach the national title game in 2012. That same year, Diaco won the Broyles Award, which is given to the top assistant coach in the country.
Before that, Diaco played linebacker at the University of Iowa. And because of that, he said he understands the Big Ten. Understands the Midwest. And understands what the Blackshirt tradition means.
“The people of the state, the university and the department want to look at that defense and feel like they’re looking in a mirror,” Diaco said. “And the Blackshirt defense has, to me, epitomized that. That there’s been perfect alignment, when it’s being done properly, with the state, the university and that defense. And that’s how I see it.”
Diaco said his family would describe himself as “obsessive compulsive.” Clean-shaven with gelled hair and wearing a new polo and pressed black pants, Diaco joked that he had an urge to fix all the microphones on the podium.
“I just believe things should be done a certain way,” he said.
That goes hand in hand with Diaco’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
The first step, he said, is teaching it to the coaches, and then collaborating to make the defense Nebraska’s defense, and not just Diaco’s.
And the way it will be taught, he said, will be intense, detailed and positive.
“We don’t tear people down. There’s no profanity in teaching. There’s no emasculating in teaching. It’s uplifting, it’s building up, it’s positive. It’s intense and detailed, but young men flourish in that environment,” Diaco said.
Diaco had other offers to coach, but chose Nebraska for a few reasons, one being the reputation of coach Mike Riley.
The other being the Blackshirt defense.
“If you grew up like I did as a defender, you know the Nebraska Blackshirt defense,” Diaco said. “And to lead that unit with great humility is so exciting and what an incredible honor, and I can’t wait to get to it.”
Below is a portion of Diaco’s press conference: