Surprisingly, Michigan's Don Brown was B1G's only Broyles Award finalist
When Don Brown was brought to Michigan last December, the goal was to make a dominant defense even more dominant.
Somehow, the first-year defensive coordinator did that. The Wolverines finished first in FBS in pass defense, third-down defense, and tackles for loss. Michigan is also ranked second in FBS in scoring defense and total defense.
As a result, Brown is up for the most-presitgous honor for an FBS assistant coach. On Monday, he was named a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Along with Brown, the finalists were:
- Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt
- Clemson DC Brent Venables
- Colorado DC Jim Leavitt
- Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada
Ironically enough, Michigan was rumored to be close to hiring Pruitt, who was Georgia’s defensive coordinator last year. Instead, the Wolverines ended up landing Brown, who coached Boston College to the nation’s top-ranked defense in 2015.
But surprisingly, Brown didn’t have more company from the B1G. A slew of first-year B1G coordinators could’ve made the list.
Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead turned the Lions into a high-powered B1G East champ.
Indiana defensive coordinator Tom Allen flipped around one of the worst units in the country and ultimately led the Hoosiers to a bowl berth.
There’s also Wisconsin defensive coordindator Justin Wilcox, who took over for Dave Aranda after he left for LSU. All Wisconsin did was post a top-five defense and overcome a gauntlet schedule to make it to the B1G Championship.
Even Greg Schiano, who is in his first season as defensive coordinator at Ohio State, was a surprise omission. He led the Buckeyes to the No. 4 defense in FBS despite the fact that OSU lost seven starters to the NFL on that side of the ball.
Schiano won’t get a chance to become the second Ohio State assistant to win the award in three years. Tom Herman earned the Broyles Award in 2014 after fueling the Buckeye offense in their run to a national title.
But as it stands, Brown will be the B1G’s last chance to win the coveted honor.
The award will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m.