2015 Preseason Coach02The Crimson Tide defense ranks as one of the top units in all of college football during the 2015 season

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Alabama defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Kirby Smart was named one of five finalists for the 2015 Broyles Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Smart is joined by Baylor’s Kendal Briles (OC), Clemson’s Brent Venables (DC/LB), North Carolina’s Gene Chizik (DC) and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley (OC/QB) on the list of five finalists.

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. The Broyles Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football.

The Crimson Tide defense ranks second nationally in total defense allowing just 264.6 yards per game while ranking third in scoring defense at 14.3 points per game. Alabama boasts the nation’s No. 1 rushing defense surrendering just 78.9 yards per game while ranking fifth in pass efficiency defense.

The Tide defense has been tough to all season on the ground and in the air, forcing 69 three-and-outs, ending opponents’ drives without yielding a first down 41.3 percent of the time. The defense’s average of 5.75 three-and-outs per game is second in the nation. Alabama has also forced a combined 23 turnovers through 12 games, which is second in the Southeastern Conference.

The Crimson Tide defense has intercepted 15 passes to lead the conference and rank 17th nationally in that category. The defensive unit also been highly effective at returning those picks, notching an NCAA-leading 442 return yards and recording four pick-sixes. The defensive line has also gotten involved in slowing down the opposition’s passing game, batting down 16 passes (second nationally) and totaling 41 sacks (3.42 per game) to lead the SEC and rank third in the country.

Against the run, the defense has been even more impressive, allowing opposing rushers to gain an average of just 2.47 yards per carry while only reaching the end zone six times. The Alabama defense that has held every team they have played at least 50 yards below their season rushing average.

The winner of the 2015 Broyles Award will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 11:30 a.m. CT at the Marriott Hotel in Little Rock, Ark. For more information visit www.BroylesAward.com or search for Broyles Award on Facebook and Twitter. Use #BroylesAward to follow along with the event.