It has been quite a contrast of success for the Penn State offense and defense this season. In the same week Penn State moved on from its offensive coordinator due to struggles with the football, Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has officially been named a nominee for this year’s Broyles Award.
The Broyles Award is given to the nation’s top assistant coach in college football. First awarded in 1996, Penn State has never had a Broyles Award winner on the staff. Diaz would be the first if he were to come away with the honor this season.
Under the leadership of Diaz, Pen State owns the nation’s second-best total defense by allowing just 239.7 yards per game. Penn State’s pass defense (7th, 162.5 ypg) and rushing defense (3rd, 77.2 ypg) are among the best in the nation as well. Penn State is also allowing just 13.1 points per game (4th in the nation) and Penn State is tied for the third-most sacks in the nation with 38.0 with two games remaining in the regular season. Penn State has also forced 20 takeaways, mostly all attributed to the defense, which is always a key area of focus for Diaz and his defenses.
Last year’s Broyles Award winner was Garrett Riley. The current Clemson offensive coordinator won the award in the same role while with TCU in 2022. Josh Gattis, a former Penn State assistant under James Franklin, won the award while at Michigan in 2021. Gattis is currently the offensive coordinator for Maryland.
Other former Brolyes Award winners include Steve Sarkisian (Alabama, 2020), Joe Brady (LSU, 2019), Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma, 2015), Pat Narduzzi (Michigan State, 2013), and Kirby Smart (Alabama, 2009).