Bryan Brown and Greg Gasparato – Appalachian State University

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Bryan Brown and Greg Gasparato are the 2018 FootballScoop Defensive Backs Coaches of the Year presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.

Appalachian State was one of the most well-rounded teams in college football this season. The Mountaineers went 11-2 overall — one of those setbacks coming in overtime at Penn State — won the inaugural Sun Belt East championship 21-10 over Troy, cruised past Louisiana-Lafayette 30-19 in the first Sun Belt Championship, then crushed Conference USA runner-up Middle Tennessee 45-13 in the New Orleans Bowl. You don’t win 11 of 13 games — all 11 of them by double digits — without being good on both sides of the ball. And the best unit on one of college football’s most complete teams was the secondary.

The Mountaineers defended 370 passes this season, allowing only 209 completions. Those 209 completions went for just 2,107 yards, the 10th fewest yards allowed in the nation. App State limited opponents to 5.7 yards per attempt, which tied for the sixth fewest in the nation.

Opposing quarterbacks tossed eight touchdown passes this season, the third fewest nationally, while serving up 17 interceptions, placing the Mountaineers 10th in the nation.

That 8-to-17 number made Appalachian State one of just two teams to intercept twice as many passes as it allowed touchdown tosses this season.

The Mountaineers did not allow more than one touchdown pass in a single game this season, while intercepting at least one throw in nine of 13 games.

Only eight completions went for at least 30 yards this season; only four teams allowed fewer.

Put together, App State’s 102.27 passing efficiency number was fourth in the nation, and first among all Group of 5 teams.

The Mountaineers saved their best performances for their biggest games. Against Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette and Middle Tennessee, opposing quarterbacks were 53-of-93 for 585 yards with two touchdowns against six interceptions, good for a 104.02 pass efficiency rating that would have rated sixth nationally if spread across the entire season — against a trio of teams that were all among the top 40 passing offenses nationally.

App State was the only team in the nation to boast three players with at least four interceptions in junior Desmond Franklin, senior Tae Hayes and junior Josh Thomas. Franklin was one of 18 players to total at least 100 interception returns yards, while Hayes led the team with seven pass breakups.

As a unit, Appalachian State allowed just 288 yards per game (sixth nationally), 4.43 yards per play (fifth) and 15.5 points per game (fifth).

Franklin and junior Clifton Duck were First Team All-Sun Belt selections, while Hayes was a Third Team All-Sun Belt performer.

Brown, who was also Appalachian State’s defensive coordinator in addition to coaching the team’s cornerbacks, played defensive back for Ole Miss from 2003-06. He joined college football in the player development staff at Rutgers in 2008 and also worked in support roles at Delta State and Ole Miss. His first on-field job came on Jerry Moore’s final App State in 2012, then remained on staff when Scott Satterfield took over as head coach in 2013. He has since followed Satterfield to Louisville as defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach.

Gasparato played at Wofford from 2005-08 and first coached in the South Carolina high school ranks. He moved on to coach at Juniata College and Brevard College before joining Satterfield’s original App State staff as a graduate assistant working with the linebackers. After a 3-year stint at his alma mater as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator, Gasparato returned to App State as safeties coach in 2018.

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by AstroTurf are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Ephraim Banda and Mike Rumph [Miami], Todd Lyght [Notre Dame], Bob Shoop and Terrell Buckley [Mississippi State] and Brown and Gasparato) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year’s winner.

Brown and Gasparato will receive their award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.

Previous winners of the Defensive Backs Coach of the Year award are Tim Billings (Wake Forest, 2008), Everett Withers and Troy Douglas (North Carolina, 2009), Chad Glasgow and Clay Jennings (TCU, 2010), Ron Cooper (LSU, 2011), Bill Busch and Kendrick Shaver (Utah State, 2012), Jeremy Pruitt (Florida State, 2013), Dave Wommack and Jason Jones (Ole Miss, 2014), Mike Reed (Clemson, 2015), Charles Clark and Joe Tumpkin (Colorado, 2016) and Anthony Campanile (Boston College, 2017).

keystats

4th Nationally – Pass Efficiency            5th Nationally – Scoring Defense
6th Nationally – YPA Allowed           1 of 2 Teams With 2:1 INT-to-TD Ratio

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