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Penn State Football

PSU S Brown Says DC Diaz Took Blame for Defensive Struggles

Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics: Manny Diaz

Manny Diaz and Ji’Ayir Brown are two of the most important people associated with Penn State’s defense.

Diaz, the first-year coordinator, calls the shots.

Brown, the fifth-year senior safety, is one of Penn State’s best defensive players and a team captain.

Penn State’s defense had its worst day of the season, and therefore, the Diaz era thus far Saturday in Ann Arbor, and possibly its worst day since Brown began his Penn State career in 2020.

The team gave up 41 points, 418 rushing yards and 563 total yards. Michigan firmly took control of the game in the third quarter when Penn State gave up touchdown runs of 67 and 61 yards, respectively, on consecutive plays. A 17-16 Penn State lead turned into a 31-17 deficit.

After the game, Brown politely answered questions.

He said Diaz held himself responsible for the bad day.

“Coach took the blame on himself,” Brown said. “He feels like he has to prepare us a little better. As a coach would.”

Brown also held himself responsible.

“I’ll take the blame on me, too, as a captain of the defense.”

It’s not likely that many Penn State fans, if any, placed any blame for Saturday’s loss on Brown.

Brown finished the day with a game-high nine tackles (six solo), including a tackle for loss. He also didn’t miss any tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, which can’t be said for all of his teammates.

Diaz, on the other hand, has received plenty of blame and will continue to be criticized leading up to Saturday’s game at Minnesota. Diaz came to Penn State with a lot of excitement after head coach James Franklin picked him up following his dismissal from Miami, where he was the head coach from 2019-21.

Diaz, Brown and the rest of Penn State’s defense are slated to face another challenge in the running game during Saturday’s White Out at Beaver Stadium.

Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim is one of the best backs in college football. In five games, Ibrahim has rushed for 694 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

 

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