Two days before the Alamo Bowl, UT Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz dutifully answered questions about the Longhorns' matchup with Oregon State.
He was also asked about his interest in Florida International's head coaching job - the vacancy Diaz reportedly interviewed for but withdrew his name from in mid-December.
"Well you don't leave the University of Texas for any position unless it's a perfect situation," said Diaz. "The second side of the equation is you have some pride about yourself. There's something that I came here to do. There's something that we started last year and we suffered a setback this year."
In his first season on the 40 acres, Diaz' defense was the best in the Big 12. This year, his young inexperienced unit gave up an average of 35 points in the season's first seven games, but tightened in the last five giving up a conference-best 21.6 during that span.
Alex Okafor, one of just two seniors on the defense's two-deep depth chart, admitted he and fellow senior Kenny Vaccaro "tore our hair out" trying to coach the younger players this season. With that said, he likes the unit's progress.
"We have an older team now, so there's no more younger guys getting away with mistakes," said Okafor. "There's no more coaching mistakes, no more teaching mistakes, you gotta know what you're doing when you're out there."
Diaz and his players say their pre-Alamo Bowl workouts have been executed at a higher level thanks in part, to a healthier working relationship.
"Defense is about trust," said Diaz. "It's really hard to play great defense if you don't have a high level of trust in the man next to you. That's why we had to find our way, and you have to earn that."