Broyles Award likely candidates: Week 14

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday November 24, 2014

On Wednesday, the Rotary Club of Little Rock will name its nominees for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach, and a number of coaches are worthy of the honor this season. This year’s race is completely wide open.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi won the award last season. In total, 20 current FBS head coaches have won or been named a finalist for the award, including three of the past six winners (Kevin Wilson, Gus Malzahn and Bob Diaco).

Five finalists will be named on Dec. 1, and the winner will be announced at the banquet at the Marriott Hotel on Dec. 9.

Here are’s leaders.

1. Philip Montgomery (Baylor) - The Bears lead the nation in scoring at 50.0 points per game and put up 579 yards against Oklahoma State in a 49-28 win on Saturday.

2. Scott Frost (Oregon) - The Ducks have the fewest turnovers in the nation (7), and quarterback Marcus Mariota leads the nation in passer rating.

3. Doug Meacham (TCU) - In Meacham’s first season as play-caller, TCU has the most improved scoring offense, an increase of 20.8 points per game to 45.9 on the year.

4. Tom Herman (Ohio State) - Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett set the school record for passing touchdowns in a single season on Saturday, passing 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. Herman has done an incredible job developing Barrett, who was injured last season and was given the starting job right before the 2014 season started. Barrett has also set the school record for total offense in a season.

5. Dan Dimel (Kansas State) - On a cold night in Morgantown against a good West Virginia defense, Dimel made the correct call time after time in a 26-20 win last week. The running game wasn’t working, so Dimel adjusted, and K-State quarterback Jake Waters passed for 400 yards.

6. Geoff Collins (Mississippi State) - The Bulldogs lead the nation in red zone defense, giving up touchdowns in 35.1 percent of opponent red zone trips. Mississippi shut out Vanderbilt 51-0 on Saturday — the Bulldogs’ second shutout this year.

7. Jeff Casteel (Arizona) - The Wildcats held Utah to 6-for-19 on third down in a 42-10 win in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Earlier this year, Arizona held Oregon to 3.5 yards per carry in a 31-24 win in Eugene. Perhaps no team has a more impressive pair of road wins than the Wildcats.

8. Dave Steckel (Missouri) - The Tigers held Tennessee to 1.8 yards per carry, 5-for-15 on third down and recorded six sacks in a 29-21 win in Knoxville. The Tigers are No. 16 in scoring defense at 20.2 points per game, and a win over Arkansas will put them in the SEC title game for the second straight year.

9. Dave Baldwin (Colorado State) - The Rams are 10-1 overall and No. 7 in the red zone, scoring touchdowns in 72.3 percent of red zone trips. CSU is also No. 6 in third down conversions at 52.3 percent. Quarterback Garrett Grayson is No. 2 nationally in passer rating.

10. Barry Odom (Memphis) - The Tigers are 8-3 and one win away from a conference championship after a 31-20 win over USF, only allowing one late touchdown in the second half. Memphis is No. 9 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 17.7 points per game.

11. Lane Kiffin (Alabama) - Alabama is No. 4 nationally in third down conversions at 52.4 percent. While wins at Arkansas, at LSU and against Mississippi State weren’t offensive explosions, Kiffin made the right calls in big moments that led to wins.

12. Mike Bobo (Georgia) - The Bulldogs have just eight turnovers on the season, second-fewest in the country. Without running back Todd Gurley for much of the year, the offense hasn’t missed a step. Hutson Mason leads the SEC in passer rating and has 13 touchdowns with zero interceptions in the red zone.

13. Dave Aranda (Wisconsin) - Aranda’s defense held Iowa to 3.6 yards per carry and 5-for-12 on third down in a 26-24 win in Iowa City. The Badgers are No. 3 in scoring defense at 16.1 points per game, and they face Minnesota this week for the right to go to the Big Ten Championship Game.

14. Kirby Smart (Alabama) - The Crimson Tide are No. 2 in scoring defense at 14.5 points per game and rushing defense, allowing 2.7 yards per carry. No team has scored more than 23 points against the Tide. Alabama will likely remain No. 1 this week with Auburn coming to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

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