PSU co-defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and co-offensive coordinator Ja’Juan Seider are candidates for the head coach vacancy at FAU, according to a report by the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.
Diaz has been the co-defensive coordinator for Penn State, alongside Anthony Piondexter for this season, while Sieder has been with Penn State since 2018 as the team’s runnings back coach. Seider still serves in that role while splitting offensive coordinator duties with Mike Yurich.
Prior to joining Penn State, Diaz was the head coach of Miami from 2019-21. He went 21-15 while there but his tenure ended when the school decided to hire Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal despite Diaz still being under contract. Penn State nabbed him shortly thereafter.
Penn State’s defense this year currently ranks No. 5 in the Big Ten and No. 18 in the conference for yards per game with 317.8. They also have the top red-zone defense in the Big Ten in terms of opponents conversion percentage and the seventh best in FBS.
They also have the Big Ten’s fifth-best rushing defense which also ranks at No. 14 in the country, allowing just 105.1 rushing yards per game and lead the Big Ten in sacks with 37 which is ninth-best in the country. They also have the second-best passer efficiency ranking in the Big Ten and the country behind only Illinois.
As for Seider, he has overseen talented backs including Philadelphia Eagles starter Miles Sanders. He‘s known as a great recruiter, including being rated as the No. 8 recruiter in 2019 by 247Sports.
Penn State currently has the No. 35 offense in FBS and the No. 3 offense in the Big Ten. Penn State’s run offense, which averages 182.1 yards per game, currently ranks No. 46 in the country and No. 4 in the conference.
Seider is from Belle Glade, Florida and played quarterback for Florida A&M after transferring from West Virginia, where he was the team’s back-up quarterback for four seasons. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, but spent 2001-07 coaching for three different high schools in Florida before returning to West Virginia to coach at the college ranks.
The interest comes after FAU fired Willie at Taggart yesterday. In three seasons at FAU, Taggart 15-18 with his lone bowl appearance coming in his first season. Taggart was a Florida staple having coached at USF (2013-16), Florida State (2018-19) and FAU. He also coached Oregon for one season (2017) and Western Kentucky (2010-12).
The Florida connection seems to be the reasoning behind the Diaz and Seider report. All coaches mentioned by Feldman have a connection to the state of Florida in some way with either a coaching or playing stint at one of the FBS schools in the state.