By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is one of 56 nominees for the Broyles Award, given to college football’s top assistant coach.
One of only eight nominees in the SEC, Steele’s unit ranks No. 3 in the SEC in scoring defense (16.9) and No. 4 in total defense (307.2 yards). Nationally, Auburn ranks ninth in scoring and No. 14 in total defense.
Auburn's defense has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown this season. The Tigers have logged 50 three-and-outs on 114 drives in 2017, averaging more than five per game, No. 4 in the nation.
Steele’s arrival in 2016 coincided with a significant defensive improvement. In his 22 games coordinating Auburn’s defense, the Tigers have tallied 53 sacks. During that stretch, Auburn has forced 30 turnovers while allowing only 13 rushing touchdowns.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn won the Broyles Award in 2010, when he was Auburn’s offensive coordinator.
For the first time in the 22-year history of the Broyles Award, the selection process includes a committee from the Football Writers Association of America.
Fifteen semifinalists will be selected from the nominees, with five finalists traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas on Dec. 5 for the announcement of the Broyles Award winner.
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer