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2012 Linebackers Coach of the Year


2012 Linebackers Coach 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 Monday December 10th.  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 Linebackers Coach of the Year award are Bill McGovern (Boston College, 2008), Bob Fraser (Rutgers, 2009), Luke Fickell (Ohio State, 2010) and Dave Huxtable (Wisconsin, 2011).


Bob Diaco

Bob Gregory

Clark Lea

Kelly Poppinga

Paul Tidwell

Notre Dame

Boise State

Bowling Green



Bob Diaco - Notre Dame

Can anyone name a better linebacking duo, and most importantly, a linebacking duo that plays better together, than Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Dan Fox? Recall the Te'o's game-changing interception at Oklahoma, which he caught off a deflection by Fox. It's been that kind of year for Notre Dame's linebackers. The unit, of course, is led by Te'o, who hopes to become the first linebacker to finish in the top five of Heisman Trophy voting in two decades. The senior leads the team in tackles by a wide margin with 103, leads all linebackers by a wide margin with seven interceptions, while also posting 11 passes defended, four pass breakups, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, four quarterback hits and two fumble recoveries. Fox has accumulated 57 tackles, two TFL, one sack, two quarterback hits, two passes defended and two pass breakups. Add in outside linebacker Prince Shembo's 7.5 sacks and 10.5 TFL and you have an incredibly dynamic unit that makes plays across the gridiron. Notre Dame's linebackers lead a defense that ranks in the country's top dozen in every major defensive category and, most importantly, ranks No. 1 in the polls with a 12-0 record.

Key stats

2nd in scoring defense (10.33 ppg)

Te'o leads all LBs with 7 INTs

5th in rushing defense (92.4 ypg)

6th in total defense (287.3 ypg)



Bob Gregory - Boise State

The Boise State offense was destined to take a step back after losing NCAA all-time wins leader Kellen Moore and first round draft pick Doug Martin but, led by Bob Gregory's linebackers, the Broncos have leaned on a stout defense to keep up their winning ways. The 9-2 Broncos rank fifth in college football with 14.36 points allowed per game, including nine outings of 17 points or less. Boise State also ranks eighth in total defense (293.3 yards per game), third in pass efficiency defense (98.01 opponent quarterback rating), fifth in turnovers forced (32) and fourth in pass defense (159.8 yards per game). When opposing offenses push Boise State into the red zone, which doesn't happen offense (25 times thus far, the second-fewest in college football), the Broncos have allowed only 16 scores, the fifth best rate in FBS. The Broncos are also tough to move the ball consistently on, as their 16.55 first downs allowed per game are the ninth-best nationally, and they have allowed just 99 plays of 10-plus yards, the second least in FBS.

Key stats

2nd fewest plays of 10+ yards allowed (99)

2nd fewest red zone trips allowed (25)

5th in red zone defense (64%)

9th in first downs defense (16.5 per game)



Clark Lea - Bowling Green

Clark Lea's linebackers lead a unit that stands alone as the Mid-American Conference's best defense. The 8-4 Falcons lead the MAC and rank in the top 15 nationally in total defense (289.7 yards per game), rushing defense (116.7), pass defense (173), pass efficiency defense (105.7 opposing quarterback rating), scoring defense (15.75 points per game) and sacks (3.08 per game). Lea's linebackers occupy the top four spots among Bowling Green's top tacklers, combining to notch 248 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, 10 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. The Falcons have been successful in limiting big plays, allowing the third fewest plays of 20-plus yards in college football.

Key stats

3rd least plays of 20+ yards allowed (31)

T-4th in first downs defense (14.83 pg)

7th in total defense (289.7 ypg)

9th in scoring defense (15.75 ppg)



Kelly Poppinga and Paul Tidwell - BYU

To know Paul Tidwell and Kelly Poppinga's work with the BYU linebackers this season, first you must get to know Kyle Van Noy. One of the college football's most underrated playmakers on one of college football's most underrated defenses, Van Noy ranks 13th nationally with 18.5 tackles for loss. His plays behind the line of scrimmage have been especially destructive, forcing offenses to lose a total of 110 yards, the fifth most in the country. Van Noy also ranks fourth in the country with five forced fumbles. Van Noy ranks sixth on the team with 45 tackles, as the Cougars are led by linebacker Brandon Ogletree's 92 tackles. As a team, BYU ranks among college football's top six in rushing defense (84.3 yards per game), total defense (266.3 yards per game) and scoring defense (14.67 points per game). Tidwell and Poppinga's heady unit has also helped BYU rank third nationally in third down defense, allowing opponents to convert just under 28 percent of their chances, second in red zone defense, with 16 scores and 12 touchdowns in 26 trips, and fourth in first downs defense at just 14.83 per game.

Key stats

Van Noy ranks 4th with 5 FF, 13th with 18.5 TFL 

3rd in third down defense (27%)

T-4th in first downs defense (14.83 pg)

3rd in total, rushing defense



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