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Saints rookie Kenny Vaccaro defends former Texas coordinator

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New Orleans Saints rookie safety and former Texas Longhorn Kenny Vaccaro is unloading as hard on his alma mater as he did on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan earlier this week.

Vaccaro, who said Wednesday that he was fined nearly $8,000 for a late hit on Ryan in his NFL debut, defended former Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Diaz was fired Sunday, less than 24 hours after Texas allowed a school-record 550 rushing yards in a 40-21 loss at BYU.

"Manny is such a great coach," Vaccaro told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "What happened, that option game (BYU's offense), that's not on the coaching. Look, I know Manny taught the right scheme. You just got to be disciplined. I know exactly what happened. Somebody wasn't taking the dive, somebody wasn't taking the pitch and somebody wasn't taking the quarterback. I don't think necessarily it was his fault. I think those senior leaders have to get together and get this thing going because that stuff was ridiculous."

Vaccaro went one step further, castigating his former Texas teammates.

"I'm being real honest about this. I don't blame the coach. I blame the players, honestly. I think he's a good coach and I think the mentality at Texas isn't where it needs to be right now," said Vaccaro, a two-time first-team All-Big 12 honoree during his final two seasons at Texas.

Another former Texas great, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, took up for embattled head coach Mack Brown.

"I still believe in him," Charles told the Dallas Morning News. "If they just start listening to everything he says and take it in, Coach Brown will lead (that) team."

Texas players may have to sort through their issues without junior quarterback David Ash, who looks to be a game-time decision at best against Mississippi on Saturday.

Ash suffered head and shoulder injuries in the loss to the Cougars. Senior Case McCoy would start if Ash cannot play, while touted true freshman Tyrone Swoopes could see action as well.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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