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Nov. 29, 2006

Little Rock, Ark. – If there’s one thing that the finalists for the 11th annual Broyles Award have in common other than their success, it is their will, their determination to overcome personal tragedies or injuries or rosters depleted by graduation.

These overachievers – Ohio State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels; Virginia Tech defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Bud Foster; Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring; Louisville offensive coordinator Paul Petrino; and Oklahoma associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables – were all named finalists on Wednesday for the prestigious award given to the nation’s top assistant football coach.

The winner of the 2006 Broyles Award will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Little Rock at a banquet presented by The Rotary Club of Little Rock.

About the Finalists
As passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Joe Daniels has been a very busy man during No. 1 Ohio State’s march to the BCS National Championship Game and a second consecutive Big Ten title. Add in the personal stress he has dealt with while having a heart attack, battling cancer and losing his mother, and you have one of the most amazing stories of the 2006 season.

Daniels, in his sixth season at Ohio State and 37th as a coach, suffered a heart attack in June, and while in the hospital having stints put in, he was diagnosed with cancer near a kidney. He immediately began experimental cancer treatments that he still receives. Yet, when the Buckeyes’ fall camp started about six weeks after his diagnosis, Daniels was there. And almost every day since, he has been there, putting together one of the country’s top passing offenses. Since his diagnosis, the only practices or meetings he missed came when he attended the funeral of his mother in Pittsburgh.

In July, while undergoing the most difficult part of his treatment, Daniels found time to meet with star senior quarterback Troy Smith and study film. That astonishing dedication to his job has clearly paid off as the Buckeyes (12-0) claimed their first outright Big Ten title since 1984 and won back-to-back conference championships for the first time since they won six consecutive titles from 1972-77. Smith has been tabbed the favorite for the Heisman Trophy and is a finalist for the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, Walter Camp Player of the Year, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Manning Awards. He already has been named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and ranks fourth nationally and first in the Big Ten in pass efficiency with a rating of 167.9 while throwing for 2,507 yards and 30 touchdown passes with just five interceptions.

Only five teams have thrown fewer interceptions this season than the Buckeyes’ five. The Buckeyes are ranked 15th nationally and second in the Big Ten in total offense at 409.75 yards per game. They rank seventh nationally and first in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 36.33 points per game; fourth nationally and first in the Big Ten in pass efficiency at 165.93; fourth nationally and first in the Big Ten in third down efficiency (51.3 percent). Ohio State scored 40 or more points in four of its past five games and 35 or more in seven of the past eight. In a 42-39 victory over Michigan, the Buckeyes threw for 316 yards.

During this outstanding run, Daniels has been able to see his son, Matt, a Buckeyes walk-on defensive back, every day at practice. Daughter Kaitlin isn’t far away on Saturdays; she’s a Buckeyes cheerleader. Their last gridiron family get-together of the season will occur Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., in the National Championship Game.

Bud Foster is a finalist for the Broyles Award for the fourth time (1999, 2001, 2005), and perhaps nothing is more indicative of what he produces year after year as coordinator of Virginia Tech’s defense. With the nation’s No.1 defense, the No. 14 Hokies (10-2) are awaiting their bowl destination after posting their third consecutive 10-win season and becoming the third team to win 10 games in each of the past three seasons. Much of that can be attributed to Foster, who’s in his 20th season at Tech. The Hokies have had one of the nation’s top defenses since the start of the 1995 season, his first as coordinator.

The 2006 version leads the nation in total defense (221.08 ypg), pass defense (128.17 ypg) and scoring defense (9.3 ppg) despite losing three of its four starters along the defensive line, a starter at outside linebacker and two starters in the secondary from a team that ranked No. 1 in total defense in 2005. The Hokies credit this defense with giving a young offense, which had only four returning starters and first-year starters at quarterback, tight end and three offensive line positions, a chance to grow. They have surrendered fewer touchdowns passes (five) than anyone in Division I-A, and their five rushing touchdowns allowed is tied for first nationally. They rank 13th nationally and fifth in the ACC in rushing defense, allowing 92.9 yards per game. Their 16 interceptions on defense ties for 12th nationally, and they rank second nationally and first in the conference in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 90.70. The Hokies are tied for 20th nationally in sacks with 2.64 per game. Their defense’s efficiency on third down is third-best in the nation (27.5 percent) and leads the ACC, and they’re tied for fourth-best nationally and are second in the conference on fourth down (22.2 percent).

They have posted four shutouts and have held seven opponents to seven points or less. Junior linebacker Vince Hall was named first-team All-ACC after leading the league and ranking 13th nationally with 115 tackles, including 10.0 for loss and 2.0 sacks. Sophomore cornerback Brandon Flowers was another first-team All-ACC selection after leading the conference and ranking second nationally in passes defended with 21. Junior linebacker Xavier Adibi, who’s forced three fumbles this season, one of which he returned for a touchdown to ice a victory over then-No. 14 Wake Forest, was a second-team all-conference pick.

Despite five starters and several key reserves lost to injury, seven different defensive lineups and a thin linebacking corps, Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has put together a unit that helped the eighth-ranked Razorbacks (10-2) win the SEC West and earn a spot in the Saturday, Dec. 2 SEC Championship Game against No. 4 Florida. That’s just what the Razorbacks were looking for two years ago when they hired Herring from North Carolina State, where he produced the nation’s No. 1 defense in 2004 after inheriting a unit that ranked 89th a year earlier.

His turnaround at Arkansas, which has earned the national spotlight this year after consecutive losing seasons, also has been impressive. In his first year at Arkansas in 2005, he helped the Razorbacks rank 34th in the nation in total defense after ranking 76th a year earlier, 35th in pass efficiency defense after ranking 82nd in 2004 and 45th in pass efficiency defense after previously ranking 56th. The rebuilding process continued this season. After yielding 50 points in a turnover-plagued game against Southern California in the season opener, Arkansas went on a 10-game winning streak, thanks in part to a defense that allowed just 12.0 points a game over that span.

The Razorbacks rank 21st nationally and fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (16.8 ppg), 29th nationally and sixth in the SEC in total defense (299.83 ypg), 36th nationally and seventh in the SEC in passing defense (182.58) and 37th nationally and 5th in the SEC in rushing defense (117.3 ypg). Senior linebacker Sam Olajubutu was named a semifinalist for the Butkus, Bednarik and Nagurski Awards. Olajubutu leads the team with 101 tackles, including 61 unassisted, in 11 games, and had double-digit tackles in 10 games, including 14 against Vanderbilt and Auburn. This season, he became only the 14th Razorback in school history to eclipse the 300-tackle mark.

Junior defensive end Jamaal Anderson leads the SEC and ranks seventh nationally with 10 sacks, an average of .88 per game, and is tied for 19th nationally and tied for first in the conference in tackles for loss with 16.0, an average of 1.33 per game. Sophomore defensive end Antwain Robinson is ranked 25th nationally and third in the SEC in tackles for loss (14.0 total tackles, 1.27 average) and is seventh in the SEC in sacks with 6.5 over 11 games. Junior cornerback Chris Houston has emerged as one of the SEC’s best at his position. He held Southern California’s Dwayne Jarrett to 35 yards receiving, his lowest total of the season and the lowest receiving total in Jarrett’s past 36 career games. He had two interceptions in a victory over Mississippi State that clinched the SEC West title, including one he returned 87 yards for a touchdown, the ninth-longest interception return in school history.

No. 6 Louisville (10-1) has its sights set on representing the Big East in a BCS bowl, needing a victory at home over Connecticut and a loss by Rutgers to West Virginia to earn that berth. If the past is any indication of the future, the Cardinals’ offense will do its part with Paul Petrino coordinating and coaching wide receivers for the third season. Petrino, the brother of Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino, has the nation’s third-best receiving duo in junior Harry Douglas and sophomore Mario Urrutia, who have combined for 1,800 yards and 10 touchdowns, and one of the country’s best quarterbacks in junior Brian Brohm. Douglas (86.45) and Urrutia (77.36) rank 1-2 in the Big East and 14th and 20th in the nation, respectively, in receiving yards per game. Douglas also leads the Big East in receptions per game (5.0), while Urrutia (4.36) is third, and Douglas ranks 17th nationally in receiving yards (951) and Urrutia 29th (851). Brohm ranks 11th nationally and first in the conference in total offense at 264.7 yards per game and is 12th nationally, third in the conference, in passing efficiency (154.6). He is 11th nationally and leads the Big East in passing yards per game (266.33), having thrown for 2,397 yards in just nine games.

When Brohm missed two games because of a thumb injury, Petrino’s offense didn’t miss a beat, beating Kansas State by 18 on the road and Middle Tennessee by 27 on the road with sophomore Hunter Cantwell taking snaps.

The team statistics are equally impressive. Louisville ranks second nationally and leads the Big East in total offense at 468.36 yards per game and is fourth nationally and second in the Big East in scoring offense with 38.09 points a game. The Cardinals’ passing offense ranks seventh nationally and leads the conference with 280.8 yards per game, and they are ninth nationally and second in the conference in pass efficiency with a rating of 157.07. Only nine teams have thrown fewer interceptions than Louisville’s six, and only 14 teams have a better third down conversion percentage than the Cardinals’ 47.4. This high-octane Cardinals offense is anything but a one-hit wonder. In 2004, Petrino’s offense led the nation in total offense and scoring offense, and his style has consistently produced one of the most explosive units in the country. They have scored more than 60 points once this season, more than 50 twice and more than 40 points five times this season, including a 44-34 victory over then-No. 3 West Virginia on Nov. 2.

No. 8 Oklahoma’s defense was far from ranking with the elite after a 34-33 loss at Oregon in the Sooners’ third game of the season. Then, defensive coordinator Brent Venables popped the hood and went to work, producing a remarkable in-season turnaround. Look at OU (10-2) now, riding a seven-game winning streak and getting ready to face No. 19 Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 2, in Kansas City, Mo. After that Oregon game, OU ranked 97th nationally in total defense, and now it ranks 14th (273.08 yards per game). The Sooners were ranked 89th in passing defense, and now they’re 27th (174.25 ypg). They were No. 82 in pass efficiency defense, and now they’re No. 11 with a rating of 102.38.

They were 75th in scoring defense and 94th in rushing defense; now they’re 18th (16.0 ppg) and 19th (99.0 ypg). Oklahoma had to have that turnaround, especially after star tailback Adrian Peterson went out with a broken collarbone, making it all the more important that the defense step up.

The 2004 Heisman Trophy runner-up wasn’t available for six victories in the current seven-game streak.

This defensive excellence is something the Sooners’ faithful have come to expect from Venables, who’s coached three first-team All-Americans and 10 players who went on to the NFL, since he arrived in Norman in 1999. In 2005, the OU defense ranked fourth nationally against the rush and 13th in total defense. In 2004, it ranked 11th nationally in scoring and rushing defense and 13th in total defense.

In 2003, OU was No. 1 nationally in total defense, No. 2 in pass efficiency defense, No. 3 in scoring defense, No. 5 in turnover margin and No. 19 in rushing defense. 2002 and 2001 featured more of the same. Currently, the Sooners lead the Big 12 in total defense, pass efficiency defense and scoring defense, and they’re second in rushing defense and pass defense. Only 16 defenses have a better efficiency on third down than OU’s 31.3 percent. Senior linebacker Rufus Alexander is a 2006 AFCA All-American who averages a team-best 7.92 tackles per game, including 4.58 solo stops. Senior defensive end C.J. Ah You was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2005. They follow Venables pupils like Rocky Calmus, the 2001 Butkus Award winner and 2000 finalist, Teddy Lehman, the 2003 Butkus Award winner and 2002 finalist, and Lance Mitchell, a 2004 Butkus Award finalist.

About the Broyles Award
There are few coaches whose efforts have forever impacted the game of college football. Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy and Eddie Robinson have set the standard for victories and championships on the gridiron. However, when it comes to selecting, developing and producing great assistant coaches, the legacy of Frank Broyles stands alone.

Former Broyles assistant coaches who have become head coaches have gone on to coach in 20 percent of all Super Bowls and win almost 15 percent of all Super Bowl titles plus four national collegiate championships, more than 40 conference titles and more than 2,000 games. More than 25 Broyles assistants went on to become head coaches at the college or professional level, including Joe Gibbs, Hayden Fry, Raymond Berry, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill and Barry Switzer (full list below).

In 1996, the Broyles Award was established to recognize the dedicated, hard-working assistants like those who worked for Broyles, and to date, 54 finalists and 10 winners have been honored. Like many of Broyles’ assistants who went on to do great things, numerous coaches recognized by the Broyles Award have since remained in the spotlight, with 13 finalists going on to become head coaches, including four of the six finalists from 2004.

The Selection Process
Each NCAA Division I head coach may nominate one of his assistants for the Broyles Award. Every assistant that is nominated, but not selected as a finalist, receives a personalized wall plaque recognizing his efforts.

The finalists are chosen by a nine-man panel that may be the most prestigious of any awards panel, representing four national championships, more than 1,300 victories, 59 conference titles, 112 bowl game appearances and nine national head coach of the year honors.

Broyles Award Panelists
Arkansas Athletic Director and former Coach Frank Broyles Former Georgia Coach Vince Dooley Former Washington Coach Don James Former Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson Former Baylor Coach Grant Teaff Former Brigham Young Coach LaVell Edwards Former Iowa Coach Hayden Fry Former Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer Former Tennessee and Pittsburgh Coach Johnny Majors

Previous Broyles Award Winners
Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews (1996) Former Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann (1997), now linebackers coach for the New York Jets Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe (1998), who went on to become coach at Ole Miss before returning to run Tennessee’s offense for the 2006 season Former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen (1999), now head coach at Maryland Former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mark Mangino (2000), now head coach at Kansas Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon (2001) Former Southern California offensive coordinator Norm Chow (2002), now offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans Former Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder (2003), now head coach at Georgia Southern Former Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik (2004), who was named head coach at Iowa State on Nov. 27 Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis (2005)

Broyles assistant coaches and their head-coaching jobs:
Joe Gibbs: Washington Redskins
Hayden Fry: Iowa, SMU, North Texas
Johnny Majors: Pittsburgh, Tennessee
Barry Switzer: Oklahoma, Dallas Cowboys
Jimmy Johnson: Miami, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Oklahoma State
Jackie Sherrill: Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Washington State
Raymond Berry: New England Patriots Doug Dickey: Florida, Tennessee
Pepper Rogers: UCLA, Georgia Tech, Kansas
Hootie Ingram: Clemson
Bo Rein: LSU, North Carolina State
Jim Mackenzie: Oklahoma
Jerry Claiborne: Maryland, Kentucky
Jim Carlen: South Carolina, Texas Tech
Pat Jones: Oklahoma State
Bill Lewis: Georgia Tech, East Carolina, Wyoming
Richard Williamson: Tampa Bay, Memphis State
Richard Bell: South Carolina
Bill Pace: Vanderbilt
Charley Coffey: Virginia Tech
Harold Horton: Central Arkansas
Ken Turner: Henderson State
Ken Stephens: Central Arkansas, Lamar
Jesse Branch: Southwest Missouri State, Henderson State
*Fred Akers: Texas, Purdue, Wyoming
*Ken Hatfield: Arkansas, Clemson, Air Force, Rice
*Houston Nutt: Arkansas, Boise State, Murray State

*Denotes players under Broyles, not assistants

The Broyles Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of major collegiate football awards. The purpose of the NCFAA is to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of college football’s various awards. The NCFAA also encourages professionalism and the highest standards possible for the administration of college football awards and the selection of their winners.