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2014 Defensive Coordinator of the Year - Finalists


The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards, presented by ProGrass, are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. Finalists were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors and other athletic department personnel. The winner will be chosen by the previous winners of this award and will be announced on Monday December 8th.

The 2014 FootballScoop Coaches of the Year will be recognized and will receive their awards at an event held in their honor at the American Football Coaches Association's annual convention in January in Louisville, KY.

Previous winners of the Defensive Coordinator of the Year award are Nick Holt (USC, 2008), Kirby Smart (Alabama, 2009), Vic Fangio (Stanford, 2010), John Chavis (LSU, 2011), Bob Diaco (Notre Dame, 2012) and Pat Narduzzi (Michigan State, 2013).


Dave Aranda, Wisconsin

Dave Aranda has fielded great defenses before, but none that dominate in every phase of the game quite like this one. The 9-2 Badgers are a devastating defense against the run, ranking fifth nationally in rush defense and yards per carry and third in rushes of 10-plus yards allowed. But they’re also just as lethal against the pass, placing third in passing defense, second in opponent completion percentage and 15th in pass efficiency defense. Add it all up and you get a defense that places second nationally in total defense, seventh in yards per play, third in scoring defense, tied for first in plays of 10-plus yards, first in opponent first downs and third on third downs.

Key Stats

  • 1st in opponent first downs (13.5 per game)
  • 3rd in scoring defense (16.1 points per game)
  • 2nd in total defense (259.3 yards per game)
  • 5th in rushing defense (97.1 yards per game)
  • t-1st in plays of 10-plus yards allowed (94)

Kirby Smart, Alabama

Another year, and another season where a top-ranked Alabama squad fields arguably the best defense in college football. The 10-1 Crimson Tide once again rank second in scoring defense. In fact, Alabama hasn’t allowed an opponent to top 20 points since Oct. 4. Smart’s bunch is stifling against the run – second nationally in yards per game and carry allowed, first in runs of 10-plus yards allowed – while also ranking seventh in yards per attempt allowed. Smart also authored perhaps the best single-game effort of the season, intercepting Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott three times and holding then-No. 1 Mississippi State and its prolific offense without a touchdown through three quarters in a 25-20 win.

Key Stats

  • 2nd in scoring defense (14.5 points per game)
  • 5th in total defense (283.5 yards per game)
  • 2nd in rushing defense (85.3 yards per game)
  • 2nd in yards per carry allowed (2.7)

Brent Venables, Clemson

There was a lot of excitement around Clemson’s defense heading into the 2014 season, but Brent Venables’ group has exceeded those hefty expectations. The 9-2 Tigers lead the nation in both total defense and yards per play, the only team holding its opponent under four yards per snap, while also leading the country in tackles for loss – nearly a full 1.5 TFL per game ahead of second-place Virginia Tech – and opponent third down conversions. Clemson also ranks in the top five in passing defense, yards per carry allowed and yards per attempt allowed.

Key Stats

  • 1st in total defense (252.4 yards per game)
  • 1st in yards per play allowed (3.97)
  • 1st in tackles for loss (9.91 per game)
  • 1st in opponent third down conversions (27.06 percent)
  • 3rd in yards per carry allowed (2.85)
  • 3rd in yards per attempt allowed (5.4)

Dave Wommack, Ole Miss

Through the first seven games of this season, opposing passers had hoisted 250 passes. Fifteen of those passes were intercepted, and six went for touchdowns - three by the opponent, and three by Ole Miss. The Land Shark defense lived up to its billing in 2014, as no unit was as predatory as these Rebels. As it stands today, the 8-3 Rebels rank seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense, with 19 interceptions and seven touchdowns allowed (plus those three of their own), 14th in yards per attempt and 13th in passing defense. Ole Miss also ranks 19th in yards per carry allowed, and leads the nation in scoring defense by a full point per game. The Rebels have held three opponents to three points or less, and eight to 15 points or less.

Key Stats

  • 1st in scoring defense (13.5 points per game)
  • t-3rd in interceptions (19)
  • 12th in tackles for loss (7.36 per game)
  • 9th in yards per play allowed (4.53)
  • 7th in pass efficiency defense (104.11)

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