KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Another new face with the Tennessee Volunteers is up for an award; defensive coordinator Tim Banks is one of eight SEC coaches who’ve been nominated for the Broyles Award, which honors college football’s top assistant coach.
Banks has led the Vols defense far above expectations set for him by media and fans when he was named the DC for Josh Heupel’s fast pace, offense-heavy style as a head coach. With a depleted roster due to transfers and injuries, the Vols have a 5-5 record and with a win, will become bowl eligible.
The numbers prove Banks is among the top defensive minds in the SEC, at least in year one — 76 tackles for loss (top 10 nationally and 2nd in SEC), eight forced turnovers, and 26 sacks (18 in SEC play). Tennessee has allowed the sixth fewest yards per play in the SEC and have scored twice on defense thanks to a pick-six from defensive back Alontae Taylor and linebacker Solon Page III.
Individuals have also found their shine with Banks’ defense: linebacker Jeremy Banks leads the team in tackles with 89 (3rd in the SEC), and in tackles for loss with nine, defensive back Theo Jackson is tied for the SEC best 10 pass breakups, defensive lineman Matthew Butler is having a career year with over seven tackles for loss and four sacks and safety Jaylen McCollough has garnered four interceptions which are among the top in the SEC. These were just a few of the key examples of individuals’ success in his defense.
Banks has now spent 15 years as an FBS defensive coordinator, including four seasons at Illinois (2012-15), two years at Cincinnati (2010-11) and three seasons at Central Michigan (2007-09). During his five-year run at Penn State, the Nittany Lions ranked in the top 25 nationally in fewest yards per play allowed all five years and ranked in the top 25 in scoring defense three times and tackles for loss per game three times.
From 2016-20, Penn State was among the best in the nation in multiple defensive categories – fifth in sacks (221), sixth in fewest passing touchdowns allowed (70), ninth in yards per play allowed (4.8), ninth in forced fumbles (95), 10th in fewest rushing yards per attempt (4.4), 14th in scoring defense (21.2), 13th in rushing defense (132.7), 17th in total defense (344.6) and 25th in pass defense (211.9).