Manny Diaz: Pete Carroll's video does more for this game's future than anything

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday May 19, 2017


In July 2014, out of the blue, Pete Carroll released a video on the Seahawks’ website about rugby-style tackling. Three years later, it’s changed the game.

More and more programs have adopted it each year. Chris Ash said it helped Ohio State win a national championship. Current Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz remembers the first time he watched it, and he changed how he coaches the game.

Diaz recently joined Podcast Ain’t Played Nobody for a wide-ranging conversation, and on the topic of tackling in today’s age of spread offenses, Diaz brought up that Seahawks video.

“Three years ago at Louisiana Tech in our office, we watched the video Pete Carroll put out. Hopefully, he’ll go down as a guy that (helped the game). This video may do more for this game’s future than anything else,” Diaz said. “With no incentive competitively, other than for the game he loves, they put out the video on how to teach tackling, the rugby, leverage shoulder-style of tackling.

“We sat there as a defensive staff. Man, some of this stuff goes against the way you were taught how to tackle from peewee football. But it takes the head out of the tackle. Furthermore, it’s more sound because of keeping leverage of the football, keeping the ball on your inside pad at all times.”

Diaz implemented it at Louisiana Tech and saw a noticeable improvement. He did the same at Mississippi State in 2015 and then at Miami in 2016.

The Hurricanes defense allowed 10 fewer points per game in Diaz’s first season and finished No. 5 in tackles for loss.

There’s no doubt there is a tangible difference in the safety of players, and they see that and respect that,” he said. “It’s something we can practice every day in a drill setting and get the feel of tackling to the ground. The No. 1 premise is you have to wrap. It just changes the whole mentality of all the things we don’t want to see in the game, of using the body as a projectile and gets back to targeting players lower, wrapping up around their thighs."

Diaz pointed to cornerback Corn Elder, who had a breakout senior season and became a fifth-round pick, as an example of someone who improved with the tackling technique.

Carroll has continued to emphasize the tackling style and has released updated videos. As player safety continues to be a driving force and head injuries get more and more attention, tackling from another sport is helping the game.

This past year, Corn Elder, who was an average at best tackler, he put 13 games of some of the best tackling I’ve ever seen from a cornerback ever,” Diaz said. “It helped him with the NFL and everything beyond. Our secondary tackling was amazing. I don’t mean getting guys on the ground. We were picking people up like WWE out there. It was remarkable. Once one guy did it, the next guy wanted to do it.

“I’m a big believer in that. It’s something I preach any chance I get at clinics, because we can play this sport for a long time. Like Pete Carroll says, it can still have the violence we enjoy, but smart.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.