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   New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 7, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas                                 Diaz hungry for wins at Texas  Friday, January 7, 2011 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 7  By Jim Vertuno  AP Sports Writer  AIJSIIN — New Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, whose career started as a graduate assistant for Bobby Bowdens great Florida State teams of the late 1990s, says he’s hungry for a chance to play for another national championship with the Longhorns.  Diaz was a graduate assistant for the Seminóles teams that played for a national title after the 1998 season and won one in 1999.  "1 didn’t get sick and tired playing in those national championship games,’’ Diaz said Thursday. “We want to lead the nation in wins (at Texas).”  He’'' have his work cut out for him. After a 25-2 run over the 2008-2009 seasons, the Longhorns faltered badly in 2010, dropping to 5-7 in the program’s first losing season since 1997.  And when defensive coordinator Will Muschamp left to take the head coaching job at Florida, Longhorns head  BROWN  coach Mack Brown plucked Diaz from Mississippi State for his rebuilding project, even though the 34-year-old had only one season of being a coordinator at a BCS school Brown said he talked to a lot of coaches across the coun-try and Diaz’s name kept com-ing up as a I    young,    hungry,  P mKmm innovative coach. “Everywhere 1 called, Manny Diaz’s name came up,” Brown said. “He will be a great fit with the coaches we have on campus."  Diaz, who once worked at ESPN and thought he wanted a career in sports journalism, was inspired to pursue coaching after helping cover a Bill Parcells news conference.  “From that moment, I didn’t want to coach any more, I HAD to do it,” Diaz said.  Diaz’s career took him from Florida State to North Carolina State and Middle Tennessee. He was defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee for four seasons before  taking the same job at Mississippi State.  Diaz said he liked coaching the Bulldogs and didn’t pursue the Texas job until he got a call from Brown on Monday night, starting the kind of week “that will change your life.”  Even though it was Texas calling, Diaz said he still had to take a good look around, “checking under the hood" and “kicking the tires” to see if he really wanted to come to Austin.  “Overall, the feeling was I’d have to get my brain checked if I didn’t come here,” Diaz said. "You can ask yourself ’Are you ready?’, or you can say. You’re ready because you were put here.”’  Diaz promised Texas would play an attacking style of defense with multiple formations.  “1 want the offense to feel like we’ve got 13 or 14 guys running around the field," Diaz said. "We’re going to play like we’re in a bad mood.” Muschamp made $900,000 annually in a deal that would have promoted him to head  coach if he was here when Brown eventually retires. Diaz told the AP on Wednesday night his contract does not include any "coach-in-waiting" promise like Muschamp’» did.  Brown introduced Diaz at I hursday’s news conference but did not take questions. He is still looking to hire an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.  Brown, who earns $5 million a year, said he as spent several weeks evaluating the entire football program to figure out everything that went wrong in his first losing season as a head coach since 1989.  Shortly after the season ended, longtime offensive coordinator Greg Davis resigned and offensive line coach and defensive line coach Mac McWhorter retired. Wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy also left for a similar job at Colorado.  "When you have a tough year like we did, you need to restart," Brown said. “That was evident for all of us.”  NBA  CONTINUED FROM Page 6  performed the procedure in Houston.  The Rockets drafted Yao with the top overall pick in 2002, but his NBA career has been derailed by a rash of injuries, mostly to his left foot and ankle.  “You hope this is the last surgery for him,” forward Shane Battier said. “Good lord. That guy’s seen more hospital beds than Florence Nightingale. You feel terrible for him. For being such a big guy and a hard worker, he deserves a break. We hope this surgery is successful and he recovers quickly."  His contract with Houston expires after this season, and the Rockets are still awaiting word from the league if they’ll  BOWL  CONTINUED FROM Page 6  Miles expressed his intention to stay at LSU and later signed a contract extension through 2012. Michigan eventually hiied Rich Rodriguez, who was 15-22 when he was fired this week.  LSU and Texas A&M last played in 1995, the final Southwest Conference season before the Aggies became part of the Big 12. They had played regularly before that, often in season openers, though many current players had to be told about that tradition.  “I think both fan bases will remind us Friday night,” Tigers linebacker Kelvin Sheppard said.  The only other postseason meeting in the series was LSU’s 19-14 victory in the 1944 Orange Bowl.  When Texas A&M linebacker  Please Uelf> support **4    «ware*e*s  Donate to NIE  $250 Sponsors onn classroom one day a week for ttia school year.  FusiKess a*A :t*«AiVuAaat ^or {M& %4>\0 sc UOOl y«?r  IF  Kit tl.ll  KITI \i;  pT CMtlwi tit mow  Ask About Free Teeth Whitening!  RlverCrcst  Fiimily Paikil, p.a  Most Insurance Accepted Cigna Network ¡Provider  Dr. Justin Barber  Sustaining Member, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry  Dr. William T. Lee Jr.  Feiiow, Academy Of General Dentistry  830.625.7611  1280 E. Common St.  New Braunfels,TX 78130  www.rivercrcstdental.com   be granted a disabled player salary exception for Yao. That would allow Houston to acquire a free agent, or trade for a player without having to match salaries, up to the value of the midlevel exception (about $5.75 million).  Houston is 16-19 heading into Friday’s game at Orlando.  Yao missed only two games in his first three seasons. The injury problems began in the 2005-06 season, when he missed 21 games with an infection in his left big toe. He broke his left foot late in the season, and missed the last four games.  He played in 77 regular-sea-son games in 2008-09, but then sustained a hairline fracture in his foot that required complex surgery.  T he Rockets carefully monitored his minutes coming  into this season, but Yao was injured in Houston’s 98-91 loss to the Washington Wizards on Nov. 10.  In all, Yao has sat out 91 games in four seasons spanning 2005-09. He missed only five games in the 2008-09 season, then broke his left foot in the playoffs.  Thunder 99, Mavericks 95  DALLAS — Kevin Durant scored 28 points, Russell Westbrook had 15 points and nine assists and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the short-handed Dallas Mavericks 99-95 on Thursday night.  ]eff Green had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Serge Iba-ka added with 13 points and eight rebounds.  Shawn Marion had a sea-son-high 25 points for the Mavericks, who were without top scorer Dirk Nowitzki for a  career-high sixth straight game with a sprained right knee. Tyson Chandler added 14 points and matched a season high with 18 rebounds. Jason Terry had 19 points for Dallas, 2-4 during Nowitzki’s absence.  Nowitzki is day-to-day and there had been speculation that he might try to play against the Thunder. The nine-time All-Star, averaging 24.1 points, has been shooting at practices.  Dallas also is missing No. 3 scorer Caron Butler, out for the season with a torn tendon in his right knee.  The Mavericks won the first two matchups between the teams this season, both in Oklahoma City, in the series that concluded Thursday. Nowitzki was hurt in the second meeting Dec. 27.  Von Miller was asked what he knew about the rivalry, the All-American responded with an inaccurate reference about past conference affiliation between the two schools.  “Well, I guess I don’t know a lot about it,” Miller said with a smile after being corrected.  During the conference shifting last summer, there were some discussions about Texas A&M jumping to the SEC. But the Aggies stayed in the Big 12, which next season becomes a 10-team league after Nebraska and Colorado leave.  Miles and Sherman both said they like such rivalry games. Still, don’t expect any regular-season matchups between LSU and A&M anytime soon.  Texas A&M is already committed to a lengthy series with Arkansas in Cowboys Stadium, where they have played two of 10 scheduled games.  “Then you add in the SEC  schedule and who LSU plays, 1 don’t envision this happening at this point,” Sherman said. “Maybe down the road, it’s a possibility."  LSU had won four consecutive bowl games under Miles, including the BCS national title game three years ago, before a 19-17 loss to Penn State last January in the rain-soaked Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla.  “I don’t even like talking about that game. That was a rough game for diis LSU program," All-American corner-back Patrick Peterson said. “But it’s a new year."  1 he junior likely is playing his last game for LSU. His next game at Cowboys Stadium could be in the NFL since he is expected to be a top pick in April’s draft.  But there are 16 other underclassmen starters on LSU’s depth chart who could return to the Dallas Cowboys’ home  in September against national championship-contending Oregon in what is sure to be one of the top opening-week games.  “Coming to a stadium like this, it could be overwhelming, like (for opponents) in Tiger Stadium,” junior running back Stevan Ridley said. “You’re going to have to get used to those things. So it’s big for us to end here, but also to start here next year.”  Both teams got to practice in Cowboys Stadium all week. Texas A&M already has played there twice, though the Aggies would like a better result this time since they lost both games to Arkansas.  "It’s good that we’ve played here before,” said Tannehill, who wasn’t yet the starting quarterback in October. “It gives us a baseline that we’ve already seen it.”  Canyon's Reinier Strobos puts a block on a New Braunfels player last season.  File photo  STROBOS  CONTINUED FROM Page 6  “Reinier has improved his overall game and become a really versatile player for us,” Lacey said. “He is more aggressive when going to the basket, but can hit the jumper from the outside. I hat makes him a very difficult player to guard."  The Engineers, a Division III basketliall program, are currently ranked No. 19 in the D-III polls under Anderson, who is in his 18th year as  DALLAS  CONTINUED FROM Page 6  for the Rams then.  When Jason’s wife, Brill, arrived at Thursday’s news conference, she was greeted with hugs and kisses from Jones’ wife, Gene, and their daughter, Charlotte Anderson. They also made space (or her to sit between them.  Sure, there’s been excitement, optimism and affection every time the Joneses have welcomed a new coach and his wife to the Cowboys family. But, again, the difference is the Garretts already have been part of the clan.  “Em just so comfortable with him,” Jones said. “I know him so well.... The thing that I want you to understand is how much 1 value his judgment.”  (iarrett becomes the eighth coach in club history and the first to also have played for the Cowboys. He was a backup to Troy Aikman in the 1990s, then played for the Giants and Dolphins. Jones joked that he “stayed mad about him for about two  head coach at MIT.  Strobos said he’s been told that he’ll play on the wing and some small forward at the college-level.  The Canyon senior, who is deciding between physics or computer science as his college major, has helped lead the Cougars to a 17-4 overall record, while maintaining a 3.89 grade-point average during his senior season.  Strobos will join 6-foot-4 guard Nick Prus from Illinois as part of the 2011 recruiting class for MIT.  years because he wouldn’t let me sell him on quit playing and start coaching now when he went to the Giants.”  Garrett got into coaching with Miami. In 2007, Jones interviewed him to become head coach and was so smitten he hired him to an undisclosed position. It turned out to be offensive coordinator under Wade Phillips.  Since then, Garrett had chances to become head coach of other teams. He turned them down, making it clear this was where he wanted to be. Jones rewarded him with the title of assistant head coach and one of the top-paying contracts in the league.  Dallas opened this season with Super Bowl hopes then quickly fell apart. At 1-7, Jones fired Phillips and gave Garrett his audition.  The Cowboys went 5-3, winning four games with 38-year-old backup quarterback Jon Kitna and another with third-stringer Stephen McGee making his first career start. Their losses were by a total of seven points.  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