Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, whose unit this season in on pace to shatter the school record for total offense, is one of five finalists for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant.
The other four finalists: Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, TCU co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel. As with Kiffin, Meacham is in his first season at his school.
Kiffin's offense has rolled up 5,872 yards; the single-season school record is 6,237 in 2012. In addition, Alabama is five yards away from setting a school single-season record for passing yardage; the record of 3,395 was set in 2010 and this season's team has 3,391. Kiffin, 39, had spent the previous four seasons as USC's coach; he also was coach for one season at Tennessee and for 20 games with the Oakland Raiders.
Frost, 39, is in his second season as the Ducks' coordinator; he was promoted from receivers coach before last season, after Mark Helfrich was promoted from coordinator to coach. Frost is a Nebraska native who played quarterback under Huskers coaching legend Tom Osborne, and his name already has come up as a potential replacement for fired Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. (Interestingly, Kiffin was born in Lincoln, Neb., when his dad, Monte, was defensive coordinator for Osborne.)
Herman, 39, also is seen as a potential head-coaching candidate for some schools. He is given much of the credit for keeping Ohio State's offense humming along even without injured star quarterback Braxton Miller. J.T. Barrett replaced Miller and is a Heisman contender himself, though he was injured and lost for the season in this past Saturday's win over Michigan. Herman is in his third season at Ohio State and was hired away from Iowa State when Urban Meyer became the Buckeyes' coach. Herman also has been coordinator at Rice and Texas State (when it was a FCS school).
Meacham, who turns 50 on Dec. 16, and fellow co-coordinator Sonny Cumbie were hired last December to ramp up TCU's offense, and they have succeeded. Meacham, who calls plays, spent the 2013 season as Houston's co-coordinator, and before that was Oklahoma State's receivers coach for eight seasons. He also is a former FCS and Division II coordinator.
Steckel, 57, is in his 14th season at Missouri and his sixth as coordinator. He joined the Marines out of high school and served from 1975-78 before going on to college. His aggressive defense -- Mizzou has 38 sacks this season and had 41 last season -- has led the Tigers to their second consecutive SEC East title. He is the brother of former NFL coach and assistant Les Steckel.
The finalists were picked by a panel of 11 former coaches, including Bobby Bowden, Mack Brown and Barry Switzer. The winner will be announced Dec. 9.
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi won the award last season, and other past winners include Gus Malzahn (Auburn offensive coordinator in 2010), Randy Shannon (Miami defensive coordinator in 2001) and David Cutcliffe (Tennessee offensive coordinator in 1998).