Foster named a Broyles Award finalist
Tech's defensive coordinator up for the fourth time
November 29, 2006

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - If there's one thing that the finalists for the 11th annual Broyles Award have in common other than their success, it is their will, their determination to overcome personal tragedies or injuries or rosters depleted by graduation.

These overachievers - Ohio State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels; Virginia Tech defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Bud Foster; Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring; Louisville offensive coordinator Paul Petrino; and Oklahoma associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables - were all named finalists on Wednesday for the prestigious award given to the nation's top assistant football coach.

The winner of the 2006 Broyles Award will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Little Rock at a banquet presented by The Rotary Club of Little Rock.

Foster is a finalist for the Broyles Award for the fourth time (1999, 2001, 2005), and perhaps nothing is more indicative of what he produces year after year as coordinator of Virginia Tech's defense. With the nation's No.1 defense, the No. 14 Hokies (10-2) are awaiting their bowl destination after posting their third consecutive 10-win season and becoming the second team to win 10 games in each of the past three seasons. Much of that can be attributed to Foster, who's in his 20th season at Tech. The Hokies have had one of the nation's top defenses since the start of the 1995 season, his first as coordinator.

The 2006 version leads the nation in total defense (221.08 ypg), pass defense (128.17 ypg) and scoring defense (9.3 ppg) despite losing three of its four starters along the defensive line, a starter at outside linebacker and two starters in the secondary from a team that ranked No. 1 in total defense in 2005. The Hokies credit this defense with giving a young offense, which had only four returning starters and first-year starters at quarterback, tight end and three offensive line positions, a chance to grow. They have surrendered fewer touchdowns passes (five) than anyone in Division I-A, and their five rushing touchdowns allowed is tied for first nationally. They rank 13th nationally and fifth in the ACC in rushing defense, allowing 92.9 yards per game. Their 16 interceptions on defense ties for 12th nationally, and they rank second nationally and first in the conference in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 90.70. The Hokies are tied for 20th nationally in sacks with 2.64 per game. Their defense's efficiency on third down is third-best in the nation (27.5 percent) and leads the ACC, and they're tied for fourth-best nationally and are second in the conference on fourth down (22.2 percent).

They have posted four shutouts and have held seven opponents to seven points or less. Junior linebacker Vince Hall was named first-team All-ACC after leading the league and ranking 13th nationally with 115 tackles, including 10.0 for loss and 2.0 sacks. Sophomore cornerback Brandon Flowers was another first-team All-ACC selection after leading the conference and ranking second nationally in passes defended with 21. Junior linebacker Xavier Adibi, who's forced three fumbles this season, one of which he returned for a touchdown to ice a victory over then-No. 14 Wake Forest, was a second-team all-conference pick.