The Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation announced the five finalists for the 2017 Broyles Award, which honors the nation’s top college football assistant coach.
The finalists listed below will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas for the announcement of the winner on Tuesday, December 5. Last year’s winner was Brent Venables, Clemson’s defensive coordinator. Winners from the previous five seasons are not eligible for the award.
The five finalists are:
Kevin Steele (Auburn) – Defensive Coordinator
Auburn’s defense ranks 14th in total yards allowed and 9th in points per game allowed. Auburn’s defense ranks third nationally in ESPN’s defensive efficiency rating just behind Clemson and Wisconsin, and just ahead of Alabama and Georgia. The Tigers have played a top 2 team (at the time) three times this season and held them to an average of 15 points. Auburn’s next game will be against Georgia in the SEC championship, a team currently ranked in the top 10 and a team that Auburn held to only 14 points in their last meeting. The Tigers also held Georgia’s rushing attack to only 46 total yards.
Tony Elliot (Clemson) – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
Clemson’s offense ranks in the top 25 in almost all offensive categories, as Elliot has kept the Tigers a well-oiled machine in the absence of Deshaun Watson. Clemson currently ranks 9th in offensive efficiency. The only loss for Clemson came when their quarterback went down with an injury. The offense has scored over 30 points in 8 of 12 games, for an average of 35.2 points per game.
Bill Bedenbaugh (Oklahoma) – Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
Bedenbaugh has taken over for Lincoln Riley after Riley was named head coach at Oklahoma. The Sooners have the #1 offense in the nation in total yards, averaging 594 yards per game. They rank second in passing yards behind Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield and also average over 215 rushing yards per game as well. They have the nation’s fourth highest scoring offense at 45.3 points per game and have wins over Ohio State on the road and TCU. They face TCU again in the Big 12 championship and put up 38 points on TCU in their last meeting.
Troy Walters (UCF) – Offensive Coordinator
UCF ranks as the #14 offense in the country averaging 524 yards per game. In points per game, they rank first at a whopping 48.3 points per game. They have broken the 50-point mark four times, scoring as many as 73 points in one game. They defeated Memphis 40-13 earlier in the season and will face them again next week in the AAC title game.
Jim Leonhard (Wisconsin) – Defensive Coordinator
Wisconsin boasts the #1 defense in all of college football, holding opponents to an average of 237 yards per game, 21 yards ahead of #2 Alabama. They have the #2 pass defense and #1 rush defense, only allowing 80.5 rushing yards per game. They currently rank #2 in points per game allowed at 12.0, only half a point behind #1 Alabama. They rank #2 in defensive efficiency behind Clemson and last year’s Broyles Award winner Brent Venables. Wisconsin ranks sixth in total sacks at 39, just two behind #1, but have sacked quarterbacks for the most yards lost at 303. They are second in passes deflected, 15th in interceptions, and tied for second for most interceptions returned for a touchdown with UAB, Duke and Iowa.