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“Just the way they came in and didn’t try to make it like them versus us, which is what I’ve heard happens a lot of times when there is a coaching change,” Harrison Smith added. “It was kind of, ‘We all need to unite as fast as we can.’ … It made a lot of sense to me.”

Diaco, a former star linebacker at Iowa, has stressed versatility and variety.

“You got to ask the players to do the things they can do well,” he said. “Don’t become too one-sided. I think we can move that way. It seems there are a lot of players who can do a lot of different jobs.”

And Diaco’s defense might not rest too much this season.

With Kelly’s fast-paced offense, where the challenge is to score as quickly as possible, time of possession is not a big deal. Get off and let the defense play.

Diaco says working against such a potent spread offense every day in practice should be beneficial to his defense.

“That’s a help,” he said. “Just like it’s a hindrance when you are going against a team that runs an offense that doesn’t even remotely resemble anything your offense does. So there will be weeks that it will be an asset, there will be weeks it will be a liability.”