WACO, Texas (KWTX) Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow has been named one of five finalists for the 2019 Broyles Award, which honors college football’s top assistant coach, announced Monday by the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation.
This is the first time in Snow’s career that he has been a finalist for the Broyles Award.
The five finalists were selected from a group of 15 semifinalists and 41 nominees by a selection committee made up of former hall of fame coaches, members of the FWAA and broadcasters.
In his third year at Baylor, Snow’s leadership of the defense is a big reason why the 2019 Bears are the first Power 5 program to be 11-1 after being 1-11 two seasons ago. Snow transitioned the Bears to a 3-3-5 odd front, believing that adding more speed to the back end would translate to more results, which has proven to be correct. Baylor’s scoring defense went from ninth in the Big 12 in 2017 (24.3 ppg), to eighth in 2018 (31.7 ppg), to first in the conference in 2019 (18.4 ppg). In addition, the Bears’ total defense improved from ninth in the conference in 2017 (456.9 ypg), to seventh in 2018 (425.5 ypg), to third in 2019 (352.8 ypg). The Bears also went from being last in the conference in yards allowed per play in 2018 (6.49) to first in 2019 (4.77). With six takeaways against Kansas to finish the regular season, Baylor has now had 31 interceptions or fumble recoveries in the last 14 games after only six in the prior 14 contests. The Bears have forced multiple turnovers in eight of 12 games in 2019 and rank second nationally with at least one takeaway in 14 consecutive games dating back to 2018.
The BU defense under Snow ranks third nationally with 16 interceptions, fifth with a +12 turnover margin and ninth with 40.0 sacks. Those 40.0 sacks tie the program record for sacks in a season and is best in the Big 12. The Bears also lead the Big 12 with 88.0 TFL. The defensive line has 20.0 sacks of their own, the most by any three-down front in the country this season.
Through the regular season the Snow-led defense is best in the Big 12 with a +12 turnover margin after a combined turnover differential of -23 in 2017-18. BU’s jump of +21 from 2018 to 2019 is the second largest among all Power 5 programs and second in FBS. Baylor’s defense is the second Big 12 team in the last nine years to allow 221 points or fewer in a season, joining the 2010 Missouri Tigers (209).
Individual defenders are excelling under Snow’s system as well, with safety Grayland Arnold tallying six interceptions, the most by a BU player since 2016 and eighth-most in program history, also fifth-most nationally this season. Defensive lineman James Lynch leads the Big 12 and ranks 13th nationally with 10.5 sacks on the year. He set a new BU record for career sacks (18.0) and also set a new single-game mark for sacks with 3.0 at K-State earlier this season.
Joining Snow as finalists are Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, LSU passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Brady, Ohio State co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jeff Hafley and Utah defensive coordinator/safeties coach Morgan Scalley.
The winner will be announced at the Broyles Award Ceremony in Little Rock, Ark., on Tuesday, Dec. 10.