Broyles Award likely candidates: Week 13

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday November 24, 2015

The Rotary Club of Little Rock will name its nominees for the Broyles Award tomorrow, given to the nation’s top assistant coach, and a number of coaches are worthy of the honor this season.

Tom Herman won the award last season as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator. Since the award’s inception in 1996, more than 20 percent of finalists have become head coaches, including five of the past seven winners (Kevin Wilson, Gus Malzahn, Bob Diaco, Pat Narduzzi and Herman). Finalists will be announced on Nov. 30, and this year's honor will be awarded on Dec. 8 at the Marriott Hotel.

Through 12 weeks, here are CoachingSearch’s top candidates, in alphabetical order:

Mike Bloomgren – Stanford offensive coordinator / offensive line coach

Stanford’s 36.8 points per game would be the program’s most since 2011. The Cardinal secured the Pac-12 North in a 35-22 win over Cal. Running back Christian McCaffrey rushed for 192 yards in the win and is a Heisman candidate for his all-purpose ability.

D.J. Durkin – Michigan defensive coordinator / linebackers coach

The Wolverines moved to 9-2 after a 28-16 win at Penn State. They’re No. 6 nationally in scoring defense (14.9) and No. 5 in rushing D (3.1 per rush). Durkin has taken a good defense to an even higher level. In the past four games, Michigan has allowed just two touchdowns in 17 red zone trips. Now they look to end a losing streak against Ohio State.

Mark Elder – Tennessee special teams coordinator / tight ends coach

The Vols rank No. 3 nationally in average defensive starting field position and No. 16 nationally in average offensive starting field position, thanks in part to Elder’s special teams units. Evan Berry is averaging 39.5 yards on 20 kick returns, including three touchdowns. Berry has a chance for the FBS single-season record for average kick return yardage, which is 40.1 per return. The Vols have five special teams return touchdowns this year. The kickoff return unit ranks No. 1 nationally and the punt return unit ranks No. 4 nationally.  In addition, Elder's starting tight end Ethan Wolf is the Vols 4th leading receiver and has performed admirably throughout the season.

Tony Elliott – Clemson co-offensive coordinator / running backs coach

He's the offensive coordinator for the No. 1 team in the country in his first year calling the plays. Clemson is putting up 38 points per game, No. 17 nationally, and his quarterback is playing at an elite level. On Saturday, the Tigers beat Wake Forest 33-13, and Deshaun Watson went 24-for-35 passing for 343 yards and three touchdowns.

Ivin Jasper – Navy offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach

The Midshipmen moved to 9-1 with a 44-21 win on the road at Tulsa. They put up 524 total yards and 7.7 per rush in the victory. Navy is scoring 38.2 points per game, No. 16 nationally, and quarterback Keenan Reynolds has a case to be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony. The Mids face Houston this week for a spot in the AAC Championship Game and to continue hopes for a New Year's Six bowl.

Lane Kiffin – Alabama offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach

Alabama had no trouble in a 56-6 win over Charleston Southern. In the prior two weeks, running back Derrick Henry rushed for more than 200 yards in wins at LSU and at Mississippi State. Kiffin has done a great job growing an offense this season that lost key playmakers a year ago.

Seth Littrell – North Carolina assistant head coach for offense / tight ends coach

The Tar Heels are 10-1 after an overtime win at Virginia Tech and will play in the ACC title game. UNC is No. 10 in scoring offense (40.9 per game) though it’s worth noting UNC has played two FCS teams. They play at NC State this week and against No. 1 Clemson in the ACC title game. Win those two, and the Heels could have a playoff case.

Phil Parker – Iowa defensive coordinator

The Hawkeyes are 11-0 for the first time in school history after a win over Purdue, and cornerback Desmond King has tied the school record with eight interceptions. You can criticize the schedule, but Iowa walked out of Camp Randall with a win earlier this year, and that’s impressive at any time. If they win at Nebraska this week and win the Big Ten the following week, they’ll be in the playoff. The Hawkeyes are allowing 18.5 points per game and 3.3 yards per rush.

Lincoln Riley – Oklahoma offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach

The Sooners held on for a 30-29 win over TCU. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been cleared to practice after suffering a concussion in the game. OU travels to play Oklahoma State this week, with the winner clinching at least a share of the Big 12, and a Sooner win could put them in the playoff. OU is No. 3 in scoring offense at 44.6 points per game.

Brent Venables – Clemson defensive coordinator / linebackers coach

The Tigers are No. 1 in the country and held Wake Forest to 1.2 per rush in last week’s win. Despite replacing the entire starting defensive line and returning only four defensive starters, the Tigers are allowing just 4.4 yards per play, which is No. 8 nationally. Clemson is also averaging 8.7 tackles for loss per game and allowing 3.5 yards per rush.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to