Penn State Co-Defensive Coordinator and Safeties Coach Anthony Poindexter is entering his third season in Happy Valley, and so far, his tenure has been successful.
Right off the bat, the college football Hall of Famer– who turned down the head coaching job at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, to stay at Penn State– showed his impact, as Penn State’s defense allowed just 17.3 points per game during Poindexter’s first season in 2021, good for sixth in the country, and just 11 passing touchdowns, ranking fourth.
The stats for the PSU’s defense continued to improve with the addition of Manny Diaz as Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers coach.
With Diaz technically at the helm of the defense, coaches, including Poindexter, are sometimes overshadowed in recognition of the team’s achievements. However, this does not undermine Poindexter, who praised Diaz at Penn State’s Media Day.
“It’s coach Manny’s defense,” said Poindexter, who has nine total seasons of experience as a defensive coordinator, including stints at Connecticut from 2014-16 and Purdue from 2017-20.
“I assist Coach Manny and the defense, as do Coach Tory (Brown), Coach Deion (Barnes) and all of our analysts. Manny does a great job with our defense. We love working together.”
Diaz came to Penn State after spending three seasons as the head coach at Miami.
The Hurricanes compiled a 21-15 record under Diaz. Miami began the 2021 season at 2-4, but Diaz’s job remained in limbo despite recovering to finish 7-5. He was fired on Dec. 6, and hired by Penn State just five days later.
Diaz carried his resume to State College as a defensive-minded coach. For seven consecutive seasons, Diaz’s defenses ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in tackles for loss, including Penn State’s 2022 campaign clocking in at a tie for fourth place at 104.
PSU was also tied for sixth with 42 sacks.
“He brings a great energy and great leadership to the program,” Poindexter said of Diaz. “He’s very football smart. He has taught me a lot of stuff already. I’m blessed to be working with him.”
Poindexter also noted he’s happy with how well he has fit in at Penn State.
Poindexter’s previous coaching stops, beginning with an 11-year run at his alma mater Virginia, have helped him work his way up the ladder to more prominent programs and into his current role with PSU.
“I know this is cliché, but I just like being where my feet are,” Poindexter said. “I like being at Penn State. I like working with coach (James) Franklin and everyone that’s here every day. This is a golden opportunity for me and my family.”