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Bob Diaco ready for task at-hand

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Bob Diaco is in no hurry. He is 39 years old, the brains behind the nation's top scoring defense and, to hear him tell it, owner of the best assistant coaching job in America.

Diaco's dash through the interview circuit has him still at Notre Dame, still preparing to face defending national champion Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship, and little has changed day-to-day for the Frank Broyles Award winner.

"I love who I work for, I love where I work. I don’t want to change who I work for, and I don't want to change where I work," Diaco said. "So I love my job. The commitment to the players and the daily process and the focus on that now shifts to Alabama. So because it's already in our DNA to work that way, that doesn't go away. So we're focused on our preparation for Alabama and the national championship game, and I feel like I love the job that I have.

"At the same time, it's an honor to be in the conversation. I'm very proud of that, and I'm honored by it. So I don't hide or run from that, either. But it hasn't been a problem to manage any of that."

There is still an open BCS job in Wisconsin, a place Diaco said he hasn't "personally heard from," so any more overtures will likely have to wait until he is in his 40s.

Regardless, his ascendance would appear to be a matter of if, not when, as he has taken a defense currently ranked among the nation's 10-best in a dozen different categories, earning him praise from his boss, Brian Kelly, as the best defensive coordinator in the country, a distinction validated by winning the Broyles award, given to the nation's top assistant.

"I said this at the thing and I mean it, it really is a team award -- a team as it relates to the people that serve," Diaco said. "It's very special to all assistant coaches to try to achieve it. And then to actually have it done, as just reference and reassurance of a job well done by our organization, of service. That's what's really exciting. It is humbling and it is an incredible honor. One that I don't take lightly at all."

One only has to peek at the Irish's secondary to see how far Diaco has come in a short time, as safeties coach Bob Elliott used to coach and work with Diaco at Iowa, back when Diaco was a linebacker and later a graduate assistant.

Elliott said the two talk occasionally about preparing for the job circuit, but Diaco doesn't need much help.

"I think he's the whole package," Elliott said. "He's got really good knowledge of football, obviously, and he's a very good teacher, so he's going to be able to impart that to his staff and his staff then will be able to teach his players. But that just scratches the surface with him. He's a great communicator. He has a great way of making his point. He's got great energy. Outstanding recruiter.

"And he has a really good feel for team-building, which is the head coach's job. Bob does a great job of that with our defense, trying to bring everybody in together and trying to build that camaraderie and morale. So he's got all the pieces and he's a brilliant guy."