Six coaches that could win the Broyles Award
Posted by: Chris Vannini on November 11, 2012
With just a few weeks remaining in the regular season, some of the nation's top assistant coaches will be named finalists for the Broyles Award soon.
Here are six that have stood out and could win the award.
Dana Dimel (co-offensive coordinator/running backs), Kansas State
The Wildcats sit at No. 2 in both polls with a 10-0 overall record, and the offense is a major reason for that. KSU is No. 10 in the nation in yards per play and No. 8 in scoring offense (42.2 points). Turnover margin is always a big key for success and KSU is No. 1 in the nation at plus-2.1 per game, including just six giveaways. Dimel calls the offensive plays, and that has helped quarterback Collin Klein become the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.
They're dreaming of an all-time great season in Manhattan. With games at Baylor and against Texas remaining, the Wildcats might have the easiest road to the national championship with the computers on their side. And there's no conference championship game to end that dream, as it did in 1998.
Bob Diaco (defensive coordinator/linebackers/assistant head coach), Notre Dame
Notre Dame has been carried to a No. 3 ranking and 10-0 record on the back of its defense. If they don't score, you can't lose, and Notre Dame has the No. 1 scoring defense (11.1 points). The Irish are No. 6 in the nation in rushing defense and have allowed a nation-best two rushing touchdowns on the year. When the Irish do bend, they don't break, allowing a nation-best 24.14 opponent red zone touchdown percentage.
Like Dimel, Diaco has a Heisman Trophy candidate in linebacker Manti T'eo. Diaco was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award last season. The Irish host Wake Forest and play at USC to finish the season. But sitting at No. 3 in the BCS rankings, they may need some more help to get to the championship.
Mark Helfrich (offensive coordinator), Oregon
Despite replacing the starting quarterback and running back, Oregon's offense has been as potent as ever, and they're back in the national championship race. Oregon is No. 1 in both polls with a 10-0 record. The Ducks lead the nation in scoring offense (54.8 points) and are No. 1 in red zone touchdown percentage (83.87). Oregon also is No. 3 in total offense and rushing offense. Despite not being the No. 1 running back to start the year, Kenjon Barner has also put himself in the Heisman talk.
The road to the national championship is toughest for the Ducks, as they host Stanford and play at Oregon State to finish the regular season, and also have the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Kliff Kingsbury (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Texas A&M
Remember when Texas A&M was supposed to get beat up by the SEC? Seems like a long time ago, especially after Saturday's win at No. 1 Alabama. First-year offensive coordinator Kingsbury is a big reason why. The Aggies are No. 4 in the nation in scoring offense (43.1 points) and No. 7 in yards per play.
After going 7-6 last season, including a 4-5 record in the Big 12, the new coaching staff has the Aggies at 8-2 and 5-2 in the SEC after Saturday's upset. A&M has a shot at a very good bowl game, with home games against Sam Houston State and Missouri left on the schedule.
Tony Franklin (offensive coordinator), Louisiana Tech
La Tech is in the hunt to be a BCS buster at 9-1 overall thanks to its offense, which has been a balanced attack. The Bulldogs are top-12 in the nation in rushing and passing offense and are No. 12 in yards per play. The high-tempo offense is No. 2 in the country at more than 80 plays per game. Tech's only loss was a 59-57 shootout defeat at home to Texas A&M.
Before they focus on the BCS, the Bulldogs host Utah State, which is also undefeated in the WAC. They finish the season playing at a tough San Jose State team.
Derek Mason (defensive coordinator/associate head coach), Stanford
Despite losing one of the best quarterbacks in college football history, Stanford is looking for its third straight BCS berth thanks to its defense. The Cardinal are 8-2 overall with both losses coming by a touchdown or less. Against the high-powered offenses of the Pac-12, Stanford's defense is No. 9 in the nation yards per play allowed and No. 12 in scoring defense (17.2 points).
They certainly will be tested in these final two games, as the Cardinal travel to Oregon and UCLA to close out the regular season. It's a tall task, but if the Stanford defense does something special against Chip Kelly and Noel Mazzone, it's possible that Mason could become the frontrunner for the Broyles Award.
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Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org