Nov. 24, 2011
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Louisiana Tech defensive coordinator Tommy Spangler was named one of 29 nominees for the Broyles Award late Wednesday, an award given to the nation's top assistant coach.
Spangler's "GATA" defense has been the backbone behind Louisiana Tech's success in 2011 as the Bulldogs, picked to finish fourth in the Western Athletic Conference preseason polls, can clinch a conference title with a win over New Mexico State Saturday in Ruston, La. He is one of only five non-AQ coaches among the list of nominees.
Louisiana Tech's run defense is ranked 20th in the nation and has held every opponent under their season rushing average against the Bulldogs while Tech's pass efficiency defense is ranked 33rd in the nation. Tech has won six consecutive games for the first time since 1999 and a win Saturday would mark the program's first seven-game winning streak since 1974.
The Bulldogs also ranked fourth in the nation with 17 interceptions on the season and third in the country with four "Pick-Sixes" this year. Tech has forced opponents into 182 third down situations (fifth in the nation), showcasing the Bulldogs' ability to make stops on first and second downs. Of the top 10 defenses to force opposing teams into third down situations Tech's third down efficiency rate is a best 32.97 percent, more than four points better than the next best mark (Oregon's 37.78 percent).
Moreover, Spangler's defense has achieved this despite facing some of the top offenses in the country. Houston (No. 1), Nevada (No. 5), Southern Miss (No. 20) and Utah State (No. 23) all have Top 25-ranked offenses.
Louisiana Tech has faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation this season, recently playing five road games in the past seven weeks and winning all of them. Tech's non-conference opponents have a cumulative record of 35-20 (.636), the sixth toughest non-conference schedule among the 120 schools that play FBS-level football.
The Broyles Award honors the top assistant college football coach in America and was established in 1996 to honor legendary Arkansas Head Coach Frank Broyles. Coach Broyles had a track record of producing some of the most successful assistant coaches in college football history.
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2011 Broyles Award Nominees