After helping LSU reinvent its offense en route to Joe Burrow becoming the Heisman Trophy frontrunner and the Tigers going 13-0 and earning the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff, Tigers passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Brady is the winner of this year's Broyles Award, which honors college football's best assistant coach.
Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley was also a finalist for the award – and certainly a deserving candidate after guiding the Buckeyes to a massive turnaround of their own on the defensive side of the ball – but it would have been a surprise to see anyone but Brady win the trophy on Tuesday.
Under Brady's leadership, LSU's passing offense – which had traditionally been the Tigers' weakness – leads the nation with 49 touchdowns through the air and ranks second nationally with 386.3 passing yards per game. Burrow – a former Ohio State quarterback who can also thank Ryan Day for a year of his development – has completed 77.9 percent of his passing attempts this year, the best mark in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
LSU's wide receivers have also been among the best in the country, specifically Ja'Marr Chase (73 receptions, 1,498 yards and 18 touchdowns) and Justin Jefferson (88 receptions, 1,207 yards and 14 touchdowns), who have had huge upticks in their production in their first seasons coached by Brady, who was previously an assistant coach for the NFL's New Orleans Saints.
Hafley was also in attendance for the Broyles Award ceremony in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with fellow finalists Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow, Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, and all five finalists spoke to the crowd in attendance before Brady was announced as the winner.
Hafley made a point to thank his fellow coaches and his players at Ohio State for helping him get to this point.
"I got to thank Ryan Day and the staff we have," Hafley said. "(Fellow Ohio State co-defensive coordinator) Greg Mattison should be next to me here, we did this together. Al Washington, Larry Johnson, Matt Barnes, we got a really good staff and we have really good players, and players really, honestly, they make us pretty good. And we have really good players, we have a great head coach and we have a great university."