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Little Rock, Ark. It is fitting that in this year of upsets in college football, this season’s Broyles Award finalists come from both programs with great history and tradition, and programs that are getting a first true taste of national success. But while the history of their schools vary, the five assistants chosen as finalists on Tuesday, including Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp; Missouri assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Dave Christensen; Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock; West Virginia assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and running backs coach Calvin Magee; and Kansas defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Bill Young, all have long traditions of personal success.

BROYLES AWARD BANQUET & DINNER – All five finalists and their spouses will be flown to Little Rock for the December 4th Broyles Award Luncheon presented by the Downtown Rotary Club. All finalists will receive $1000.00 and a set of Callaway golf clubs with the winner receiving $2500.00 along with the 75 pound, $5000.00 Broyles Award Trophy. The winner will then travel to Orlando for the HOME DEPOT ESPNU College Football Awards Show. Frank Broyles will also attend the Awards show and be presented with the Contributions to College Football award.

About the Finalists

Will Muschamp, Auburn
The fire and intensity of Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is on display every week during football season.

“Look at him on Saturday,” Tigers senior defensive end Quentin Groves said before Auburn played Alabama to end the 2007 regular season. “He will have dry-erase marker all over his face, and he’ll have blood somewhere on his hand because he’s already broken a board.”

This is the passion that Muschamp brings to each Auburn game, and a main reason he has established the Tigers as one of the nation’s top defensive units in just two seasons. During Muschamp’s two seasons, Auburn held 20 of its 25 opponents to 20 points or less and the 8-4 Tigers are once again in the top 10 nationally in most defensive categories.

While BCS No. 24 Auburn waits for a bowl assignment, the Tigers can point to their defense as a reason why they had a successful season. Auburn ranked 102nd out of 119 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total offense, but the Tigers are No. 7 in total defense (298.3 yards per game), boasts of the nation’s No. 5 scoring defense, allowing only 16.7 points per game and 23 touchdowns on the season, and are No. 8 in passing defense (179 yards per game). The defense began its dominating season early, when Antonio Coleman returned a fumble for a score that was key in Auburn’s 23-13 season-opening win over Kansas State. Playing without four starters, Auburn dominated Vanderbilt in a 35-7 victory. The standout defensive performance came in week 7, when the Tigers held Arkansas, then the nation’s top rushing team, to the Razorbacks worst offensive performance of the season. Auburn won 9-7 while holding Heisman-candidate Darren McFadden to a season-low 43 yards rushing and Arkansas’ vaunted running game, which had been averaging 338 yards per game, to only 67 yards. Two weeks later, in a 17-3 victory over Ole Miss, the Tigers limited BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the SEC’s No. 4 rusher, to 62 yards on 13 carries.

Patrick Lee and Jerraud Powers each have four interceptions, which ranks sixth in the SEC and 60th nationally. Coleman has seven sacks, which is good enough for sixth in the SEC, and his 1.42 tackles-for-loss per game is tied for 17th nationally. Coleman’s 17 solo tackles for loss is the most for an Auburn player since 1995.

Muschamp’s defense has put up such gaudy numbers despite being a relatively new unit, and after being hit hard with injuries. Key defensive starters have missed games, including Aairon Savage (five missed games), Tray Blackmon (four), Merrill Johnson (four), Groves (two), Craig Stevens (two), Zac Etheridge (one) and Jonathan Wilhite (one). Also, as secondary coach, Muschamp has taught a group that features three first-year starters and routinely plays two freshman and three sophomores.

Leading successful defensive units is nothing new for Muschamp, who has apprenticed under some of the greatest defensive minds in football. Muschamp was the LSU’s the defensive coordinator during its national championship season in 2003, when LSU led the nation in both scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and total defense (252.0 ypg). Muschamp then followed Nick Saban to the NFL and coached the Miami Dolphins to top-10 rankings in yards per play (4.7, 7th), yards per rush (3.7, 7th) and yards per pass (6.0, 9th). Auburn, under Muschamp, finished No. 7 in scoring defense in 2006 after allowing only 21 touchdowns.

Dave Christensen, Missouri
Following a disappointing 2004 season, Missouri assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Dave Christensen approached head coach Gary Pinkel with an idea the would alter the course of Tigers football history. Christensen had a vision to transform the Tigers offense into a no-huddle, Spread attack. The results are better than Christensen could have imagined Missouri is one of the best stories in college football, currently No. 1 in the nation for the first time since 1960, and one victory away from a chance to play for the national championship for the first time in school history.

Christensen, now in his seventh season at Missouri, is the mastermind of one of the most explosive, exciting and productive offenses in the nation. He has also guided the development of junior quarterback Chase Daniel, who is one of the leading contenders for the Heisman trophy. Missouri averages 507.3 yards per game in total offense, which ranks No. 5 in the nation and No. 2 in the Big 12. The Tigers passing offense is also No. 5 in the nation (336.8 yards per game) and Missouri averages 41.9 points per game, sixth-best nationally. The Tigers are the only team in the country to score at least 30 points in every game, and have already scored 467 points, which shattered the school record of 399 set in 13 games in 2003. The Tigers are second in the nation in third-down conversions and are only one of two teams in the nation to average at least 300 passing yards per game and 170 rushing yards per game. The upshot of all of these statistics is Missouri is 11-1 and awaiting a game Saturday with Oklahoma with a berth in the national title game on the line.

Under Christensen’s tutelage, Daniel, who was considered too short to be recruited by most major schools, is on the short list of Heisman hopefuls. Daniel averages 329.3 passing yards per game, No. 6 in the nation and No. 2 in the Big 12, and has thrown 33 touchdowns to only 9 interceptions. But Daniel isn’t the only offensive weapon the Tigers have at their disposal. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin set a NCAA freshman record with 2,509 total yards this season, which is No. 2 in the country. Tight end Martin Rucker has 75 receptions, tied for No. 4 in the Big 12 and No. 27 in the nation, and Maclin isn’t far behind with 69 catches for 954 yards. Teamed with Rucker, Chase Coffman, who has 51 receptions for 523 yards, gives Missouri perhaps the most dangerous tight end combo in the nation.

Christensen has twice been named the offensive coordinator of the week by national publications, and is well-known for scripting as many at 50-60 plays per game. The strategy works Missouri has outscored opponents 108-43 in the first quarter and 42-7 on game-opening possessions.

The Tigers dream season began with a 40-34 victory over Illinois, now ranked No. 15, and they concluded the regular season with a victory over then-No. 2 Kansas in what was the most important game in school history. In between, Missouri scored at least 38 points in all but two games. But while the Tigers climb to No. 1 this season has taken the college football world by storm, Christensen’s offense has been steady. Last season, despite losing the most prolific quarterback in Mizzou history Brad Smith to the NFL, Mizzou’s offensive attack under Daniel set numerous school passing records in 2006, and finished the season with the nation’s eighth-ranked offense, averaging 425.6 yards per game. The Tigers offense set numerous team and individual records, including total offense (5,533 yards) and passing yards (3,590). In 2005, the first year of the Spread offense, Missouri ranked in the top four in the Big 12, and in the top-40 nationally in rushing, total offense, and scoring.

Jim Heacock, Ohio State
Ohio State’s defense, led by coordinator Jim Heacock, is the most dominating unit in all of college football. Period. There is no discussion on this, at least not if one takes the statistics into consideration first in total defense, first in scoring defense, first in pass defense, second in pass-efficiency defense, third in rush defense, fourth in sacks… the list goes on. It was this list that prompted Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel to give a simple answer when asked why Heacock should be a Broyles’ Award finalist:

“Jim Heacock’s defense has allowed this young Ohio State team to become a national contender,” Tressel said.

Indeed, No. 3 Ohio State (11-1), the Big Ten champions for the second consecutive season, is only a Missouri or West Virginia loss away from playing for a national championship. The Ohio State defense is the reason a relatively inexperienced team has made it this far. And the Buckeyes don’t just lead the nation in several categories, they blow away the competition. Ohio State allows 10.7 points per game, and the No. 2 team allows 15.4. The Buckeyes defense has allowed only 11 touchdowns in 12 games. They allow 225.3 total yards per game, while the next closest team allows 267.1 yards. Ohio State also leads the nation in pass defense (148.2 yards per game) and is third in rushing defense (77.1 yards per game). Ohio State has held its opponents to a three-and-out on an amazing 48.5 percent of their possessions (66 of 136).

Seven of the Buckeyes 12 opponents have been held to a touchdown or less, and only one opponent, Illinois on Nov. 10, has scored 20 points against Ohio State.

The Buckeyes and Heacock have done this despite losing six starters to professional football from last season’s team. New players have stepped in, however, as 16 different players started at least one game this season. Junior linebacker James Laurinaitis, who averages 8.58 tackles per game (7th in Big Ten) and has five sacks is a finalist for the Lombardi, Nagurski, Butkus and Lott awards. Senior defensive lineman Vernon Gholston is sixth in the Big Ten with 14 tackles for a loss and is a finalist for the Hendricks award, and finally junior defensive back Malcolm Jenkins was a semifinalist for the Thorpe award. All three players were first-team All-Big Ten selections.

Heacock has paid his dues waiting for a defense like this one. This is his 12th season at Ohio State, and third as coordinator. He was the defensive line coach prior to 2005. Heacock was one of three assistants Tressel retained when he took over for John Cooper in 2000.

The players clearly appreciate the decision. Buckeyes senior defensive tackle Brett Daly was asked what makes Heacock a great coach, and had this to say.

“Coach Heacock is never satisfied. He always pushes you to do better. That’s what gives us our attitude on defense we can always do better.”

Maybe, but this season, not by much.

Calvin Magee, West Virginia
Calvin Magee came to West Virginia as the Mountaineers running backs coach in 2001. Beginning with the 2002 season, West Virginia has led the Big East in rushing every season and it isn’t a coincidence. Magee, who is now the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator in Morgantown, has directed one of the nation’s most prolific rushing offenses for the past six years, and 2007 is no different. What is different is No. 2 West Virginia (10-1) is on the verge of playing for its first ever national title. The Mountaineers play Pittsburgh on Saturday, and a win would likely pit them against Missouri or Ohio State, and their respective Broyles Award finalists, in the national title game. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain West Virginia’s offense will be impressive.

Led by Heisman hopeful and dual-threat quarterback Pat White the Mountaineers have the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense and average 310.1 yards per game. After a 66-point explosion against Connecticut a week ago, West Virginia moved up to No. 8 in scoring offense in the country (No. 1 in Big East), and now average 41.6 points per game. The Mountaineers are also No. 11 in total offense (474.8 yards per game). The 66-21 victory over the Huskies is the Mountaineers most prolific scoring outburst, but not their only impressive total. West Virginia also beat Western Carolina 62-24, topped Syracuse 55-14, and scored 48 points against both Marshall and East Carolina.

Spearheading West Virginia’s revolutionary running game, which features a zone-read, Spread offense that forces defenses to defend as many as four different options from the quarterback on any one play, is White and running back Steve Slaton, who was a Heisman contender in his own right. White and Slaton are Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in rushing in the Big East. White, who has rushed for at least 140 yards in the past four games, leads all quarterbacks in rushing, averaging 104 yards per game, good enough for 26th among all players in the nation. Slaton, who was a consensus All-American in 2006, is averaging 94.7 yards per game this season, 40th in the nation. Slaton also has 339 receiving yards, and is second in the Big East in total offense with 1,428 total yards.

This season’s success is simply following the trend that West Virginia started when Magee was named offensive coordinator in 2004. Since that time the Mountaineers have gone 39-8, won two Big East titles and played in three consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games. You can add “one” to all of those numbers with a victory Saturday. Last season West Virginia finished No. 2 in the nation in rushing offense, No. 3 in scoring offense and No. 5 in total offense. In 2005, the Mountaineers were No. 4 in rushing offense, and were in the top 15 in each of three seasons prior to 2005.

Magee was a standout NFL player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1985-88. He led the Bucs in receptions (45), receiving yards (564) and receiving touchdowns (5) in 1986. He was part of the inaugural South Florida coaching staff in 1996.

Bill Young, Kansas
Not that familiar with the Kansas defense? The oversight is forgivable, because the Jayhawks offense is loud and explosive, featuring Heisman-candidate Todd Reesing at quarterback. But as important to Kansas’ magical season, which has the upstart Jayhawks (11-1) ranked No. 5 and still hoping for a BCS bowl bid, is their defense. The Jayhawks defense quietly put up numbers as impressive as the more-heralded offense, but without a lot of flashy stars. And leading the way is their non-flashy, hard-working defensive coordinator, Bill Young, who has a resume as impressive as any of the Broyles’ Award finalists. Young is a 38-year coaching veteran with 20 seasons as a defensive coordinator. He is in his sixth season as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Kansas. Young has coached at some of the most storied programs in the country: He was a defensive coordinator at Ohio State (1988-95), Oklahoma (1995-96) and Southern California (1997-2000). Before coming to Kansas in 2002, he coached the Detroit Lions’ defensive line for a season. This season was his most successful yet.

Kansas led the Big 12 in total defense, allowing only 318.3 yards per game, which was also good enough for 14th nationally, and scoring defense, allowing 16.0 points per game, good enough for fourth nationally. The Jayhawks also finished second in the Big 12 in rushing defense after allowing only 91.4 rushing yards per game (seventh-best in the nation), and held six of its eight conference opponents to under 100 yards rushing. But perhaps most impressive is improvement shown in the Jayhawks pass defense, which also finished ranked No. 2 in the Big 12. Kansas allowed 226.8 yards per game, which was 59th nationally, but was still a huge improvement from 2006, when the Jayhawks finished 119th out of 119 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in pass defense.

Kansas put together this season without a lot of sparkling individual performances. Junior Aqib Talib and sophomore Justin Thornton are both fifth in the conference with four interceptions each. Junior linebacker Joe Mortensen is tied for second in the Big 12 with 1.17 tackles for a loss, and he leads the team with 98 total tackles. But it has definitely been a collective team effort for Kansas, with 10 different players recording a sack, 11 different players snagging interceptions and 20 different players getting in on a tackle for a loss. Despite leading the Big 12 in defense virtually all season only one player, Talib after a 43-28 victory over Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks held seven of their first eight opponents to less than 15 points, including Colorado, which recently scored 65 points against Nebraska.

The type of season Kansas is having may have taken the nation by storm, but those within the program saw this coming. In 2006, Young guided the Jayhawks defense to a No. 3-ranking in the Big 12 and 28th in the nation in rushing defense (109.0 yards per game) and it held four opponents to under 70 rushing yards. Young had a successful past, as well. While at USC in 1999, his defense led the nation in total takeaways and led the Pac-10 in rushing defense and turnover margin. In 1998 Young’s USC defense was No. 1 in the Pac-10 in total defense, pass-efficiency defense, and scoring defense. During his 28 years in college coaching, Young has helped elevate 31 players to the NFL.

But while the statistics tell one story, one needs go no further than the Kansas players themselves to understand Young’s true impact on the Jayhawks during their best season in school history.

“He’s really the reason why we’ve turned things around,” junior linebacker Mike Rivera said.

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 five 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, 59 finalists and 11 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 25% of finalists and winners going on to become head coaches, including four of the six finalists from 2004.

The Broyles Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. 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.

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 eight national championships, more than 1,600 victories, over 60 conference titles, 124 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) Florida State defensive coordinator
– Former Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann (1997), now linebackers coach for the New York Jets
– Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe (1998), now with University of Tennessee
– 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), now head coach at Miami
– Former Southern California offensive coordinator Norm Chow (2002), now offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans
– Former Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder (2003), LB Coach for the Atlanta Falcons
– Former Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik (2004), head coach at Iowa State
– Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis (2005) Texas Offensive Coordinator
– Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster (2006) Virginia Tech Offensive Coordinator

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