Badger Breakdown: Bob Diaco

Matt Cashore

In part five of the series, we refocus our eyes to whom seems to be the new favorite among the Badger faithful.

You're Barry Alvarez, you remember how you got to Madison. You were the defensive coordinator for the National Champions Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And suddenly, the job opens up in Madison. It's a definite fixer-upper, but you've got a chance to bring a program out from a place where 1962 was the greatest moment ever.

And we lost that game.

Anyway, you know how what happened. Three Rose Bowls, leaving on his own terms to get promoted upstairs before coming back in our darkest hour to coach a fourth Rose Bowl.

So, the question is, with a similar narrative developing in Notre Dame, is it time to go back to South Bend?

Overview: If this edition of the dictionary had a picture beside up-and-coming, the file photo of Bob Diaco in his jaunty hat would be provided. Diaco was the architect behind one of the best defenses in the country, and a defense that had a real fundamental question coming in. His defense finished 6th in total defense and 10th on a per play basis, and was one of the best at limiting big plays.

Why It Works: With someone who has coached at Virginia as well as Notre Dame? You can definitely call Diaco a coach who has experience recruiting in places where academics hold equal weight with the athletics. He has experience recruiting the Midwest and knows how to bring talent into his system.

And while he was at Notre Dame, he did turn a defense that was 86th the season before into a 51st-ranked defense. In three seasons? That defense became the sixth-best defense in the country, even despite the questions that the secondary had going into the season. I listen to the Solid Verbal, I knew they had real questions going in. And it's a very disciplined defense.

He also has a willingness to go the extra mile to get that recruit that he feels integral to the team. So if the Badgers are going to go after next year's version of a Curt Magitt? You know Diaco's willing to go to the proverbial mattresses to get to him. And that's an exciting thing.

Throw in the fact that he also was a player and coach at the University of Iowa? You have someone who just feels right as a fit for the Badgers, when you consider their recent history.

Why It Doesn't: In comparison to someone like Willie Taggart, or heck, even Barry Alvarez, Bob Diaco has no head coaching experience coming in. I'm going to partially spoil the upcoming Q&A with One Foot Down. But Diaco is kind of unpolished in the off-field aspects that are necessary and unfortunately important when it comes to coaching.

Not to say that he wouldn't be an entertaining hire, and I AM IN NO WAY ATTEMPTING TO CONFLATE HIM WITH BRET BIELEMA. But he's got a little bit of Mike Leach in him. He may not get past the interview process if he gets there.

I mean, look at that hat. He's got a sense of whimsy about him.

My Opinion: If he doesn't botch the interview, with Chryst remaining in Pittsburgh, Diaco is at very least the fan favorite to step up and take the job. I agree. It's a small sample size, but man, he's done a lot with it.

Percentage Chance: He was at about 15% before the door shut on Chryst, now at 35%

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