Four Mountain West Football Coordinators Named Broyles Award Nominees
Among 56 nominees for the nation’s best assistant coach, four hail from the Mountain West Conference.
A couple of names you might have expected to see, but the Broyles Award also has a couple of surprises from the MWC.
It’s been a very unpredictable season in Mountain West football, so it comes as no surprise that the Broyles Award, given annually to college football’s top assistant coach, would continue the trend with an intriguing quartet of nominees from the conference.
The list is headlined by Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, who has molded what has become the best defense in the Mountain West in short order. At present, the Broncos rank first in yards per play allowed and yards per carry allowed, second in opponents’ quarterback rating, and team interceptions, and are in a tie for second in sacks. They also rank in the top 40 nationally for Havoc Rate and first among Mountain West teams in plays allowed which went for more than 20 yards.
Orlondo Steinauer, Fresno State’s defensive coordinator, was something of a mystery after being imported from the Canadian Football League, but he’s turned around a defense that lost a significant number of starters from last season’s 1-11 campaign. Beyond ranking second in the MWC in 20-yard plays allowed, the Bulldogs rank third in the conference by yards per play allowed and first in opponents’ third-down conversation rate.
San Jose State’s Bojay Filimoeatu, who coaches the Spartans’ linebackers, might appear to be out of place until you remember that he’s coached Frank Ginda into becoming one of the conference’s busiest linebackers. Despite San Jose State’s overall struggles, Ginda, William Ossai and Jamal Scott have combined for 25 tackles for loss, 34 Run Stuffs (per Football Study Hall), and six sacks.
Mark Tommerdahl, Utah State’s running backs coach and special teams coordinator, earned his nod on the strength of the Aggies’ specialists. Though Utah State ranks just 73rd in net punting, punter Aaron Dalton owns a solid 67% fair catch-to-inside the 20 ratio and kicker Dominik Eberle has emerged as one of the nation’s best by connecting on 15-of-16 field goals (including a perfect 5-for-5 on attempts of 40 to 49 yards). In addition, Jordan Nathan has emerged as a weapon on punt returns, with an average of 11.9 yards per return on 15 attempts.
It will probably be an uphill battle for any of the four nominees to make the cut as a finalist, however: No Mountain West coordinator has made it that far since Texas Christian’s Dick Bumpas was nominated three years in a row from 2008 to 2010.
You can find the entire list of nominees here. Last year’s winner was Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.