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2012 Defensive Coordinator of the Year Finalists


2012 Defensive Coordinator of the Year 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 athletic department personnel. The winner will be chosen by the previous winners of the award and will be announced on Tuesday December 4th.  The 2012 FootballScoop Coaches of the Year will be recognized and will receive their awards at a function at the American Football Coaches Association's annual convention in January. Previous winners of the Defensive Coordinator of the Year award are Nick Holt (USC, 2008), Kirby Smart (Alabama, 2009), Vic Fangio (Stanford, 2010) and John Chavis (LSU, 2011).


Bob Diaco

Derek Mason

Kirby Smart

Mark Stoops

Dan Quinn

Notre Dame



Florida State


Bob Diaco - Notre Dame

Bob Diaco's Defensive Coordinator of the Year candidacy, and thus Notre Dame's march to No. 1 in the polls, starts with the season-opener in Dublin, Ireland. The Fighting Irish held Navy to 149 rushing yards, just over half their season average, in a 50-10 drubbing. In 11 games to date, no one has topped 20 points in regulation on Diaco's unit, nine opponents have scored 14 or less and five foes have been held to single digits. Notre Dame has held Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, Stanford, Oklahoma, Boston College and Wake Forest to their season-low scoring outputs, and suppressed opposing offenses to the point that all 11 of Notre Dame's opponents have failed to meet their scoring and yardage averages against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame leads the country in scoring defense (10.1 ppg) and ranks sixth in total defense (287.8 ypg), fifth in rushing defense (92.2 ypg) and 11th in pass efficiency defense. Diaco leads a defense that, along with fellow nominees at Alabama, Florida and Florida State, are among the only four teams to rank among the FBS's top 11 in total, scoring, rushing and passing efficiency defense. Under Diaco's tutelage, Manti Te'o is a candidate to become the first linebacker to finish in the top five of Heisman Trophy voting in 20 years. 

Key stats

1st in Scoring Defense (10 PPG)

6th in total Defense (288 YPG)

5th in Rushing Defense (92 YPG)

11th in Passing Efficiency Defense (105)

13th in Sacks (2.82 / game)


Derek Mason - Stanford

The degree of difficulty faced by Derek Mason's defense is unlike any of our Defensive Coordinator of the Year nominees. Stanford's opposing offenses have scored a collective 3,595 points through 121 games, an average of just under 30 points per game, but just 186 points (16.9 per game) have been scored against the Stanford defense. The Cardinal have held nine of their 11 opponents under 20 points in regulation. Stanford has put together two hallmark performances this season. The first came in a 21-14 win over USC, when the Cardinal held the Trojans to 280 yards (no other team has held USC under 370 yards) and a season-low scoring output, 13 points below USC's next-lowest scoring total. And the second came Saturday night, when the Cardinal held Oregon to season-lows of 405 yards and 14 points. To quantify just how few points Stanford held Oregon to, realize that the Ducks came into that game riding an NCAA-record streak of 13 straight games of 40 points or more, and that Oregon had averaged 19 points in their previous 10 first quarters. Stanford owns the line of scrimmage like no team in college football - leading the nation in tackles for loss (9.18 per game) while also ranking second in sacks (4 per game) and rushing defense (71.18 yards per game, 2.37 yards per carry). 

Key stats

1st in Tackles for Loss (9.2 / game)

2nd in Sacks (4 / game)

2nd in Rushing Defense (71.2 YPG)

3rd in Yards per Carry Allowed (2.37)

10th in Scoring Defense (16.91 PPG)


Kirby Smart - Alabama

Different year, same story for the Alabama defense and Kirby Smart. Coach Smart once again coordinated one of the most respected and well executed defensive units in the country that ultimately ranked in the top five in the country multiple categories including; scoring defense (No. 1 - 10 ppg), total defense (No. 2 - 240 ypg), rushing defense (No. 3 - 76 ypg), and pass defense (No. 4 - 164 ypg). Smart is getting the job done with a relatively young group that starts four sophomores and three juniors each Saturday. A large part of the success for the Tide has been keeping teams out of the end zone after they get inside of the red zone, ranking third nationally in opponent's red zone scoring percentage with just 14 scores in 23 trips (61 percent). Allowing opponents just 23 red zone opportunities also ranks second nationally. The Tide also rank in the top 35 in opponents third (21st) and fourth down (25) conversion percentage. Over the past 25 games, Alabama has allowed just three teams to hit the 300 yard mark in total offense, and have held teams under 100 yards yards twice. Smart has the Tide excelling in the art of limiting points after a sudden change this season, holding a 132-24 advantage and they have already eclipsed their fumbles forced total from last season (11) with 12 this season (recovering 10 of them). Perhaps most impressively is Smart's ability to put the defense in the right situation as soon as they take the field, forcing a three and out on 45% (59 of 131) of teams possessions.

Key stats

1st in Scoring Defense (10 PPG)

2nd in Total Defense (240 YPG)

3rd in Rushing Defense (76 YPG)

4th in Pass Defense (164 YPG)

2nd in Opponent Red Zone Opportunities (23)

Forced a "3 & Out" 45% of time

Mark Stoops - Florida State

Florida State has been nothing short of dominant throughout the entire 2012 season. Stoops' unit is the only defense in college football to rank inside the top five in the four major defensive categories: first in total defense (236.3 ypg), fifth in scoring defense (13.09 ppg), first in rushing defense (70.6 ypg) and third in passing efficiency defense (96.62). Florida State is also the stingiest defense in the country in allowing first downs (13.27 per game) and on third down (25 percent conversion rate). The Seminoles opened the season by surrendering just three points through their first three games, and, dating back to the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl, reached a streak of 194 plays defended without allowing a touchdown. All 11 Florida State opponents have failed to meet their season scoring and yardage averages. 

Key stats

1st in Total Defense (236 YPG)

1st in Rushing Defense (71 YPG)

1st in First Downs Defense (13 / game)

1st in 3rd Down Defense (25%)

5th in Scoring Defense (13 PPG)

2nd in Yards per Carry Allowed (2.31)

Dan Quinn - Florida

For much of the season, the Florida Gators success has hinged on the success of Dan Quinn and the defense, and Quinn wouldn't have it any other way. Opposing offenses have had trouble finding ways to beat the Gators both on the ground, where they rank 6th in run defense (95 ypg), or through the air where they rank No. 1 in pass efficiency defense (91.76). Of the top nine defenses in total yardage given up, Florida ranks 5th and has been on the field for more snaps than any of those defenses (728).Quinn constantly puts his guys in position to fly around and make plays, and no stat shows that better than their production of turnovers where they have gained 24 turnovers (19th nationally), including 16 interceptions (10th nationally). The Gators have also been able to keep a lid on explosive plays against some very good offensive competition, ranking in the top ten in opponents explosive plays of 10+, and 20+ yards, and leading the nation in opponent's plays of 30+ yards allowing just 7 on the season. Quinn's guys were one only two units in the nation that did not allow a single rush of over 30 yards all season. 

Key stats

3rd in Scoring Defense (12 PPG)

1st in Opponent explosive plays over 30 yards

6th in Run Defense (95 YPG)

4th in Total Defense (281 YPG)

1st in Pass Efficiency Defense (91.76)

1 of only 2 teams to not allow a rush of over 30 yards

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