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Six SEC Assistants Nominated For Broyles Award; One Noticeably Absent

The Frank Broyles Award is given each year to the nation’s top assistant football coach.  Of the 36 nominees this year, six come from the SEC.

All six of the SEC assistants have done fine work in 2010.  But a man not nominated for the Broyles Award has done even better work.  Here’s why we say that:

John Chavis, LSU defensive coordinator — Chavis’ defense has led the way to the Tigers’ 10-1 record, but consider at the talent the coach can call upon.  LSU ranks in the Top 10 in recruiting year after year and stars like Patrick Peterson, Kelvin Sheppard and Drake Nevis would help make a lot of assistants look good.

Jay Graham, South Carolina running backs coach — Credit Graham for working with Marcus Lattimore and helping him to have a great year.  But was it Graham’s coaching or Lattimore’s talent and size that have made him the SEC’s Bulldozer of the Year?

Gus Malzahn, Auburn offensive coordinator – Malzahn has dialed up the right plays for Cam Newton and kudos for that.  But Newton is an unstoppable force on the college football scene this year.  I don’t know how much Malzahn had to do with Newton’s signature run against LSU, for example.  Take Newton away from Auburn and just how good would they be?

Jim McElwain, Alabama offensive coordinator — Bama fans would tell you that McElwain has actually underachieved this year.  While we don’t buy that, we will point out that he has guys like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Julio Jones at his disposal.

Garrick McGee, Arkansas offensive coordinator — How much credit should go to McGee and how much should go to Bobby Petrino, whose offense clicks in the same way everywhere he goes?  It doesn’t hurt having a future Top 10 draft pick in Ryan Mallett at quarterback, either.

Randy Sanders, Kentucky offensive coordinator — Now this is more like it.  Under Sanders’ tutelage, Mike Hartline has become a pretty solid SEC passer.  (He’s #2 behind Mallett in passing yards per game average in SEC contests.)  Sanders has also used Randall Cobb in various positions and formations.  In addition, he had to keep UK’s offense firing while Derrick Locke was out of the lineup.  And Kentucky’s 6-5 record is much more attributable to its offense than its defense.

If Sanders were to win the award, you’d hear no complaints from  For Coach of the Year type awards, we believe guys who do more with less deserve the credit.

That’s why our choice for the Broyles Award would be a man who isn’t even a finalist for the trophy — Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

Looking at SEC games only, MSU is #2 in the conference in scoring defense allowing just 19.1 points per game.  The Dogs have also forced more turnovers in SEC games (16) than any other defense.  In terms of yardage allowed the Bulldogs are middle of the pack, but they’re #3 in red zone defense.  They bend, but they don’t often break.

Now quick… name me someone from State’s defense.  Folks from the Magnolia State, you’re disqualified.  I want to hear from people in Florida or Kentucky or South Carolina. 

Linebacker Chris White ranks 11th in the league in sacks.  Maybe you’ve heard of him.  Maybe.

Linebacker KJ Wright is 5th in the SEC in tackles and has had a surprisingly successful year under Diaz.  But you probably didn’t know his name back in August.

Point: There aren’t a lot of big name guys on the Bulldogs’ defense.  How many four- and five-star recruits is Diaz working with?

On the other side of the ball, Mississippi State ranks #11 in the league in scoring offense, passing offense and total offense.  So defense is clearly the reason MSU is 7-4 heading into this weekend’s Egg Bowl.  Defense is the reason State worked its way into the BCS standings in Dan Mullen’s second year.  Defense is the reason MSU got out of Gainesville with a win.

No coach — at least in the SEC — has done a better job with less star power than Manny Diaz.  The fact that he’s not a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award only hurts the reputation of the award.




  2. [...] unit paved the way from Starkville to Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl.We at believe Diaz should have won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s best assistant coach.  (The award went to Gus Malzahn, who also did a fine [...]

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