December 2, 2008; Little Rock, Ark. — A college football fan could ask for little more. There are traditional and storied programs in Florida and Oklahoma, two of the one-loss powers on a possible collision course to decide a national championship. There is a pair of undefeated BCS-busters in Utah and Ball State, two of the darlings of the college football scene this season. A quiet, yet consistently solid TCU program boasting one of the most dominant defenses, and players, in the nation.
The five coaches making the 2008 Broyles Award finalists represent schools that are major powers and undefeated upstarts. They coach explosive offenses and smothering defenses. They are past Broyles Award finalists and newcomers to the prestigious award. The five assistants chosen as finalists on Monday—including Florida associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Charlie Strong; Utah assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Gary Andersen; Oklahoma offensive coordinator and tight ends/fullbacks coach Kevin Wilson; TCU defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Dick Bumpas; and Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish—represent the very best of what makes college football one of America’s favorite pastimes.
BROYLES AWARD BANQUET – All five finalists and their spouses will be flown to Little Rock for the December 9th Broyles Award Luncheon presented by the Rotary Club of Little Rock. All finalists will receive $1000.00 and a set of Callaway golf clubs with the winner receiving $2500.00 along with the 75 pound, $5000.00 Broyles Award Trophy. The winner will then travel to Orlando for the HOME DEPOT ESPNU College Football Awards Show.
— FINALIST PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE AT www.broylesaward.com
About the finalists
Charlie Strong, Florida
It is a contradiction that has worked wonders at Florida: The architect of one the most aggressive, attacking and punishing defenses in the nation, Charlie Strong, is one of the most mild-mannered and well-liked coaches in the nation.
“It would be hard to find someone more respected and well-liked in the college football world than Charlie Strong,” Florida Coach Urban Meyer said. “He’s passionate and hard-working, but he takes the job of molding men very seriously. Charlie is the type of person who can walk into any situation and be well-liked, well-received and represent the University of Florida to the highest degree.”
It should be no surprise that Strong is a two-time Broyles’ Award finalist (he was a finalist with South Carolina in 2000). Strong has been an assistant coach for 25 years and has found success at every stop along the way. But this season, what he has done with his group of Gators may be Strong’s most impressive job to date.
Strong lost his entire starting lineup from the 2006 national championship team, and he had to start over in 2007. It did not take long for this well-recognized recruiter to rebuild; Florida made the nation’s biggest improvement in scoring defense from last season. The Gators allow an average 12.3 points per game, fourth-best nationally, an improvement of 13.2 points per game from last season.
The 11-1 Gators, who are ranked No. 4 in the BCS standings and hoping to earn a shot at a national championship with a victory over Alabama in the SEC Championship game this Saturday, lead the nation in turnover margin (1.75 per game), are second in interceptions (23) and are seventh in total defense (275 yards per game). Florida ranks first in the SEC and second in the nation in rushing defense the past three seasons, allowing only 89.7 yards per game.
The Gators offense, with reigning Heisman-trophy winner Tim Tebow garner most of the headlines, but the defense has been equally dominating, which is why most Gator games have been blowouts this season. Florida’s first-team defense has not allowed a touchdown since an Oct. 11 game against LSU. The Gators have outscored its opponents 134-3 in the first quarter over the past seven games, and Florida has allowed just three first-half touchdowns all season. In nine of 12 games, Florida held its opponent without a touchdown in at least one half.
Junior linebacker Brandon Spikes leads this ball-hawking defense. Spikes, who became the first underclassman since 1999 to earn SEC coaches’ first-team All-SEC honors leads the team with 80 tackles, including eight for a loss. Carlos Dunlap has nine sacks and Ahmad Black has six interceptions on the season.
With numbers like these, it is no surprise that Strong is consistently mentioned as a head-coaching candidate whenever a major job opens. He certainly has the top-flight experience for a head position—Strong’s other coaching stops have included South Carolina, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Southern Illinois and Texas A&M.
And Strong does have one rather influential fan out there—former Florida coach and legend and current South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.
“Charlie Strong has got their defense playing well,” Spurrier said before Florida dismantled the Gamecocks 56-6. “They’ve got athletes at all positions, and I think Charlie Strong has developed into one of the best coordinators in the country. I know they’re playing better defense this year than they were last year.”
Gary Andersen, Utah
The fact that Utah is undefeated and will be heading to a BCS bowl game isn’t exactly news—the Utes pulled the same impressive feat in 2004. But this time, unlike the method of 2004’s vaunted offensive team, Utah has relied as much on its stingy defense as its offense to run the table and win the ultra-competitive Mountain West conference. And it has been defensive coordinator Gary Andersen, in his 11th year overall on the Utah staff and his fifth season since spending one year as the head coach at Southern Utah, who has led the march to another BCS bowl.
Under Andersen, Utah is 13th in the nation in scoring defense (13.2 points per game), 14th in rushing defense (105 yards per game) and 18th in total defense (296 yards per game). Utah is also ranked 11th nationally in opponent third-down conversions, tied for 15th in turnover margin and is 16th in opponent first downs. All told, the 12-0 Utes rank in the top 25 in the nation in seven defensive categories.
“It’s been an unbelievable year, an unbelievable group of kids,” Andersen said. “In my career I don’t know if I’ve been with a team that’s faced as much adversity on game day as these kids have and have gone undefeated.”
The statistics are impressive. Utah has held opponents under 20 rushing yards in 25 of the 48 quarters the team has played. The Utes held four teams under 60 rushing yards for the game, including 53 rushing yards from Air Force, a total that was 215 below the Falcons season average and the lowest total for an Air Force team since 1980.
Perhaps the most impressive defensive performance came in the Utes most important game of the season. Utah faced BYU in the final game of the regular season on Nov. 22, with a perfect season and BCS berth on the line. After falling behind early, BYU closed the gap to 27-24 in the third quarter. The Utes then picked off four passes and recovered a fumble to end the Cougars’ final five possessions. All told, Utah forced star BYU quarterback Max Hall into six turnovers (five interceptions and a fumble) after Hall had thrown just eight interceptions in the previous 11 games. The Utes won 48-24.
It was also the defense that stood tall—after an adjustment from Andersen—in Utah’s 13-10 victory over then-No. 11 TCU. After the Utes allowed 13 first-quarter points, Andersen switched his man-to-man defense to zone, and TCU went scoreless the final three quarters.
Sophomore defensive end Paul Kruger, who is on the watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, has 7.5 sacks among his 41 tackles, and an interception and two fumble recoveries. Junior cornerback Sean Smith, who played his first year as a receiver, leads the Mountain West with five interceptions.
Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma
Oklahoma is one victory away from a berth in the national championship game, boasts of the nation’s most prolific scoring offenses and the Sooners quarterback, Sam Bradford, is a clear finalist for the Heisman trophy. Is there any need to make a further case for why Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is again a finalist for the Broyles Award?
Wilson, who was a finalist in 2000 as a member of the Northwestern staff, has directed what may end up being the most explosive and prolific offense in the storied history of the Sooners’ program. Oklahoma, which is 11-1 and needs to beat Missouri in the Big 12 Championship game on Saturday to earn a right to play in the National Championship game, leads the nation in scoring offense, averaging 53.3 points per game. The Sooners have scored at least 61 points in each of their past four games, including victories over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, both ranked in the top 10 at the time.
“Kevin has done a remarkable job of building an offense with great balance and diversity,” Stoops said. “Not only has he schemed us in a way that makes our team difficult to defend, but he has developed players at several positions who are now excelling for us. I can’t say enough about his work here; he has been a tremendous asset.”
No one has excelled more than Bradford, who averages 340 passing yards per game and has thrown 46 touchdowns to six interceptions. But this isn’t just a passing offense. The Sooners two feature backs, DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown, average 83 and 82 rushing yards per game, respectively. Four times this season both Murray and Brown each went over 100 yards rushing.
Perhaps most impressive is the number of players that have found success in Wilson’s schemes. In four games this season, six different Sooner players have scored a touchdown.
Most everyone that follows college football knew Oklahoma’s offense was talented before the Sooners late-season assault on opponents’ end zones. But the past two games have ratcheted the nation’s respect for Wilson’s offensive squad into the stratosphere.
On Nov. 22, against Texas Tech, then the hottest team and No. 2 in the nation, Oklahoma piled up 625 yards of total offense and scored on 10 of 13 possessions in a game that was never close. Then, the next week, playing then-No. 7 Oklahoma State and needing an impressive performance to move up in the BCS standings, the Sooners had 557 yards of offense in another dominating offensive performance. From the second quarter on, Oklahoma had eight possessions. It scored seven touchdowns and a field goal.
Before the game, Oklahoma was ranked below Texas in the BCS standing. Bradford, who passed for 370 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for another, against Oklahoma State, said it was Wilson that provided the inspiration the team needed.
“We did a great job responding,” Bradford said. “Coach Wilson challenged us before the game that when things aren’t going good, great teams fight back.”
Wilson himself offered a frightening scenario to Missouri, which is tasked with trying to stop this juggernaut this weekend—he thinks his offense can get even better.
“Really strong teams play well at the end,” Wilson said. “We’ve been trying to emphasize to our guys for weeks that as well as we’ve been playing, we still think our best ball’s in front of us.”
Dick Bumpas, TCU
This statement should surprise no one familiar with college football of late—Texas Christian is an excellent defensive team. For the second time in four years Dick Bumpas’ Horned Frogs’ defense is competing to be the nation’s best. Despite a brutal schedule that included games against Oklahoma, BYU and Utah, TCU, ranked 11th in the BCS Standings, tops the nation in run defense (48.7 yards per game) while placing second in total defense (215.1 yards per game), scoring defense (10.9 points per game) and sacks (41). The Horned Frogs are fourth in pass defense efficiency (96.1).
TCU, 10-2, which is awaiting a bowl assignment, lost to teams (Oklahoma and Utah) with a combined record of 23-1. And the Horned Frogs found this success thanks to Bumpas’ dominating defense, which leads the Mountain West in seven categories (total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense, sacks, tackles for loss and turnovers). In seven of TCU’s 12 games the Frogs allowed seven points or fewer.
While also serving as the Frogs’ defensive line coach, Bumpas mentors Jerry Hughes. After coming to TCU as a tailback, Hughes was converted to defensive end. He leads the nation with 14 sacks and six forced fumbles while ranking in the top 10 with 18.5 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries. He also has two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Hughes is one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player. He is also one of 15 “Players to Watch” (and one of just five defensive players) for the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s 2008 Player of the Year award.
But Hughes is not the only TCU player who excelled only after Bumpas taught him a new position. Defensive end Matt Panfil, who was Mountain West defensive player of the week after a 31-14 win over Stanford, was originally a safety. And defensive tackle Cody Moore, who has six sacks this season, was originally a running back in high school. In fact, only one of four starting defensive linemen knew how to play the position before being introduced to Bumpas. Jason Phillips leads the team with 79 tackles, including 12 for a loss.
The learning curve for these players has been steep, because Bumpas has had success ever since he came to TCU. Bumpas is now in his fifth season with the Frogs. In 2006, TCU ranked second nationally in run defense and total defense while placing third in scoring defense. The 2005 Frogs led the nation in turnover margin, interceptions and takeaways.
Bumpas was a consensus All-American tackle for Arkansas and the 1970 Southwest Conference defensive player of the year. In a coaching career that has spanned over 30 years, Bumpas has won championships in four different conferences. Later this month, he’ll coach in his 14th bowl game, and you can bet it will be low scoring.
Stan Parrish, Ball State
Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish knows how to coach quarterbacks. Need proof? Parrish was Tom Brady and Brian Griese’s coach at Michigan when the Wolverines won the 1997 Rose Bowl and national championship. He was Brad Johnson’s coach in 2002 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their only Super Bowl. And now, this season, Parrish tutored and molded the Cardinals junior quarterback Nate Davis into one of the finest quarterbacks in the country.
And Davis may get his championship, like Brady and Johnson. The upstart, exciting BCS-No. 12 Cardinals are 12-0 for the first time in school history and playing in the Mid-American Conference title game Friday night. Ball State’s average margin of victory has been more than 20 points per game this season, thanks to an offense that can be explosive.
The Cardinals are ranked 13th in the nation in total offense, averaging 456 yards per game. They are 15th in scoring offense, averaging 37.7 points per game. Both totals lead the Mid-American Conference. But as experienced as Parrish is with the quarterbacks, he brings a very balanced attack to Ball State, which lured him out of retirement after a lengthy career. Both the passing offense (259.7 yards per game) and the rushing offense (196.1 yards per game) are ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
The Cardinals piled up these numbers despite losing wide receiver Dante Love to a career-ending neck injury just four games into the season. Love was the nation’s second-leading receiver at the time, averaging 115 receiver yards per game. To pick up the offensive slack, Parrish turned to halfback MiQuale Lewis, who is fourth in the nation in rushing, averaging 130.8 yards per game. Davis has passed for 3,095 yards and 25 touchdowns to only six interceptions. Most impressive is his efficiency rating, sixth in the nation at 169, after completing 218 of 324 passes (67 percent). Also, Ball State’s offensive line has allowed .92 sacks per game, which is good enough for fifth in the nation.
Davis passed for a school-record 3,667 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2007. He ended last season with a career record for touchdown passes with 48. In 2005, Parrish helped quarterback Joey Lynch throw a then school-record 18 TD passes and pass for 1,982 yards, which ranked as the third-highest single-season total at Ball State.
Parrish is in his 38th season as a collegiate coach, which includes 10 seasons as a head coach, when he earned a career record of 57-41-3 while at Wabash College, Marshall and Kansas State.
FINALIST PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE AT www.broylesaward.com
About the Broyles Award
There are few coaches whose efforts have forever impacted the game of college football. Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy and Eddie Robinson have set the standard for victories and championships on the gridiron. However, when it comes to selecting, developing and producing great assistant coaches, the legacy of Frank Broyles stands alone.
Former Broyles assistant coaches who have become head coaches have gone on to coach in 20 percent of all Super Bowls and win almost 15 percent of all Super Bowl titles plus five national collegiate championships, more than 40 conference titles and more than 2,000 games. More than 25 Broyles assistants went on to become head coaches at the college or professional level, including Joe Gibbs, Hayden Fry, Raymond Berry, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill and Barry Switzer (full list below).
In 1996, the Broyles Award was established to recognize the dedicated, hard-working assistants like those who worked for Broyles, and to date, 59 finalists and 11 winners have been honored. Like many of Broyles’ assistants who went on to do great things, numerous coaches recognized by the Broyles Award have since remained in the spotlight, with 25% of finalists and winners going on to become head coaches, including four of the six finalists from 2004.
The Broyles Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of major collegiate football awards. The purpose of the NCFAA is to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of college football’s various awards. The NCFAA also encourages professionalism and the highest standards possible for the administration of college football awards and the selection of their winners.
The Selection Process
Each NCAA Division I head coach may nominate one of his assistants for the Broyles Award. Every assistant that is nominated, but not selected as a finalist, receives a personalized wall plaque recognizing his efforts. The finalists are chosen by a nine-man panel that may be the most prestigious of any awards panel, representing eight national championships, more than 1,600 victories, over 60 conference titles, 124 bowl game appearances and nine national head coach of the year honors.
Broyles Award Panelists
– Former Arkansas Athletic Director and Coach Frank Broyles
– Former Georgia Coach Vince Dooley
– Former Washington Coach Don James
– Former Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson
– Former Baylor Coach Grant Teaff
– Former Brigham Young Coach LaVell Edwards
– Former Iowa Coach Hayden Fry
– Former Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer
– Former Tennessee and Pittsburgh Coach Johnny Majors
Previous Broyles Award Winners
– Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews (1996)
– Former Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann (1997), now linebackers coach for the New York Jets
– Former Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe (1998), now head coach at Duke
– Former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen (1999), now head coach at Maryland
– Former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mark Mangino (2000), now head coach at Kansas
– Former Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon (2001), now head coach at Miami
– Former Southern California offensive coordinator Norm Chow (2002), now UCLA offensive coordinator
– Former Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder (2003), now linebackers coach for the Atlanta Falcons
– Former Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik (2004), now head coach at Iowa State
– Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis (2005)
– Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster (2006)
– Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock (2007)
Broyles assistant coaches and their head-coaching jobs:
– Joe Gibbs: Washington Redskins
– Hayden Fry: Iowa, SMU, North Texas
– Johnny Majors: Pittsburgh, Tennessee
– Barry Switzer: Oklahoma, Dallas Cowboys
– Jimmy Johnson: Miami, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Oklahoma State
– Jackie Sherrill: Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Washington State
– Raymond Berry: New England Patriots
– Doug Dickey: Florida, Tennessee
– Pepper Rogers: UCLA, Georgia Tech, Kansas
– Hootie Ingram: Clemson
– Bo Rein: LSU, North Carolina State
– Jim Mackenzie: Oklahoma
– Jerry Claiborne: Maryland, Kentucky
– Jim Carlen: South Carolina, Texas Tech
– Pat Jones: Oklahoma State
– Bill Lewis: Georgia Tech, East Carolina, Wyoming
– Richard Williamson: Tampa Bay, Memphis State
– Richard Bell: South Carolina
– Bill Pace: Vanderbilt
– Charley Coffey: Virginia Tech
– Harold Horton: Central Arkansas
– Ken Turner: Henderson State
– Ken Stephens: Central Arkansas, Lamar
– Jesse Branch: Southwest Missouri State, Henderson State
– * Fred Akers: Texas, Purdue, Wyoming
– * Ken Hatfield: Arkansas, Clemson, Air Force, Rice
– * Houston Nutt: Mississippi, Arkansas, Boise State, Murray State
*Denotes players under Broyles, not assistants
FINALIST PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE AT www.broylesaward.com