Muschamp, Parker and other top assistants 

October, 28, 2009

I'm stepping away from the Heisman race for a second to focus on the Broyles Award -- given annually to the nation's top assistant coach -- because one of the key games Saturday involves my choice for No. 1, a guy who has already been given keys to the program once the current head guy steps down. Last year's Broyles Award winner was Kevin Wilson, the offensive coordinator of the Oklahoma Sooners. Here's my Wednesday top 10 on the ten assistants doing the best job this season:

1. Will Muschamp, Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator:

A former rising star in SEC country, Muschamp has more than lived up to his hefty billing at UT. In his second season at Texas, the 38-year-old has got the Longhorns playing lights-out defense. Despite the loss of three defensive-line starters (DE Brian Orakpo, DT Roy Miller, DE Henry Melton) to the NFL -- plus a part-time starter at DT (Aaron Lewis) and two other defensive starters (LB Rashad Bobino, CB Ryan Palmer) in addition to the surprise losses of two projected starters (S Christian Scott because of academics and LB Jared Norton to a shoulder injury in first game) early this season -- Texas' defensive numbers have significantly improved this fall.

The Longhorns went from allowing 342.9 total yards per game (51st NCAA) to 236 yards (second in the NCAA). They went from allowing 259.4 passing ypg (104th NCAA) to 194 (33rd in the NCAA) and they've gone from 84 rushing ypg against (third NCAA) to 41 rushing ypg against, which is by far tops in the country. They also lead the country in third-down defense (22 percent) and have already forced five more turnovers than they forced all of last season. This weekend, Muschamp's crew gets to make another statement as it travels to Oklahoma State to take on the Big 12's passing efficiency leader in Zac Robinson and an O-line that is second in the country in fewest sacks allowed.