Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame
NEW YORK – November 29, 2017 — The Joe Moore Award (JMA) announced today three Finalists for the 2017 Joe Moore Award, given to the top offensive line unit in college football. The Finalists are Alabama, Auburn, and Notre Dame.
The Joe Moore Award is named after Joe Moore, widely regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in college football history, and is the only major college football award to honor a group or unit. The award annually recognizes the nation’s Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit that best displays Toughness, Effort, Teamwork, Consistency, Technique, and Finishing.
The process of determining the Finalists is not an easy one. Since early September, the experts on the voting committee have worked tirelessly to track O-line units nationwide by watching film on the DragonFly Division I Network, participating in weekly conference calls, and reaching out to both offensive and defensive coaches in all FBS conferences. Earning recognition for their efforts in games played through October 7th, twenty one O-line units made the Joe Moore Award Mid-Season Honor Roll. Then, after six more weeks of evaluation, including review of advanced data and analytics provided by STATS, the voting committee whittled the field down to seven Semi-Finalists.
In the evaluation process to determine the Finalists, the voting committee recognized several O-lines for their particularly noteworthy performances in individual areas of the Award’s criteria. Georgia, for instance, was recognized for their Consistency & Teamwork; Stanford and Wisconsin stood out for their Teamwork & Technique, while Oklahoma was recognized for its Toughness & Physicality.
“As we review the film throughout the season, we’re not only looking to see which units are consistently using good technique, but also for those that are exerting their will, setting the tone, and finishing,” said Aaron Taylor, JMA Founder and CBS Sports college football analyst. “But the O-line position is also one of nuance and intangibles, and it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference. Each of the 2017 Finalists proved that they can do the obvious things, and the not so obvious things equally well.”
“What’s interesting is that each of the Finalists had moments this season where they were challenged,” said Geoff Schwartz, SB Nation NFL analyst, SiriusXM NFL/ESPN radio, and JMA voting committee member. “As a result, there was a lot of heated debate and discussion on how to evaluate each of the circumstances given what the tape showed in its entirety. Ultimately, the committee relied upon its many decades of combined O-line coaching and playing experience to identify which units had earned the right to be named a 2017 Joe Moore Award Finalist, and it was not an easy decision.”
“One of the universal qualities of good O-line play is that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts,” said Cole Cubelic, SEC Network Sideline Analyst and Chairman of the Joe Moore Award voting committee. “As a whole, O-line play across the country was much better in 2017 than from a year ago, which is encouraging because it shows that the fundamentals and principles of the O-line position are still vital to help win football games.”
The following O-lines earned a spot as Finalist, in alphabetical order (overall record):
Quality Rush (QR): Alabama has a Quality Rush on 56.8% of their runs (2nd in FBS). QR measures how often a called run play yields an ideal result for the play caller (e.g. 5+ yds on a 1st/10 call, 4+ yards on 2nd/8, etc.)
Yards Before Contact (YBC): The Crimson Tide are averaging 4.17 Yards Before Contact in 2017 (12th in FBS, 1st in SEC).
Gotta Have It (GHI): Alabama has converted 75.9% of their Gotta Have It Opportunities (1st in SEC). GHI tracks Short Yardage and “Goal-to-Go” situations.
Nothing Negative: The Crimson Tide have a Negative Play (NP) percentage of 4.3% (1st in FBS) - NP% is defined as Runs Resulting in Negative Yardage.
Offensive Line Coach: Brent Key
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Quality Rush (QR): Auburn has a Quality Rush on 49.7% of their runs (18th in FBS). QR measures how often a called run play yields an ideal result for the play caller (e.g. 5+ yds on a 1st/10 call, 4+ yards on 2nd/8, etc.)
Yards Before Contact (YBC): The Tigers are averaging 3.80 YBC in 2017 (3rd SEC/28th FBS)
Gotta Have Trust: The Tigers called a run 82.4% of the time in Gotta Have It (GHI) situations (1st in SEC). That is 11.9% higher than SEC average of 70.5%.
Gotta Have It Success (GHI): Auburn has converted 75.7% of their Gotta Have It Opportunities (3rd in SEC) - GHI tracks Short Yardage and “Goal-to-Go” situations.
Offensive Line Coach: Herb Hand
Head Coach: Gus Malzahn
Notre Dame (9-3)
Ground and Pound: Notre Dame is averaging 279.1 Rushing Yards Per Game (7th FBS)
Explosive Runs: The Fighting Irish have 39 runs of 20+ yards, (3rd FBS)
Clean Pockets: Notre Dame has created a Clean Pocket on 78.4% of its Pass Plays, which is 5.4% better than the FBS average (73.8%)
So Fresh and So Clean: The Fighting Irish are averaging 4.17 Yards Before Contact (YBC) this season (t-4th FBS)
Offensive Line Coach: Harry Hiestand
Head Coach: Brian Kelly
Voting Committee Members
Aaron Taylor* - CBS Sports, College Football Analyst, Founder Joe Moore Award
Cole Cubelic* - SEC Network, Sideline Analyst, Chairman of the JMA Voting Committee
Barrett Jones - ESPN, College Football Analyst
Brad Fichtel - Played OL at Eastern Illinois and LA Rams
Charles Arbuckle - ESPNU on SiriusXM & Sports USA Media, College Football & NFL Analyst
Dave Harding - Blue Devil Network, College Football Analyst
Duke Manyweather - Offensive Line Scouting and Development Consultant
Geoff Schwartz - SB Nation NFL Analyst, SiriusXM NFL Radio, ESPN radio
Gerry DiNardo - Big Ten Network, College Football Analyst
Lance Zierlein - NFL Media, NFL.com College Football and Draft Analyst
Mike Golic, Jr - ESPN, College Football Analyst
Randy Cross - CBS Sports, College Football Analyst
*Does not vote
Joe Moore Award Voting Process and Winner Announcement
Now that the Finalists have been determined, the voting for the final Joe Moore Award Winning Unit will require review of actual game film from each of the Finalists and will be conducted solely by people who played or coached the offensive line position, including all of the current offensive line coaches at the Division I/FBS level, as well as former players, coaches and colleagues of Coach Moore and select media.
The winner announcement will take place during a coordinated, surprise, on-campus presentation at the winning school (details to follow). That unit will be the recipient of the largest trophy in college football history. The actual trophy, crafted by legendary sports sculptor Jerry McKenna, weighs more than 500 pounds and is more than five feet wide by almost seven feet tall.
Follow @JoeMooreAward on Twitter to get real time news on the 2017 WINNER
About the Joe Moore Award
The JOE MOORE AWARD is named after Joe Moore, widely regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in college football history, and is the only major college football award to honor a unit. The award will annually recognize the nation’s Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit that best displays toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique and finishing. The voting committee is comprised solely of people who played or coached the position, including all of the current offensive line coaches at the Division I/FBS level as well as former players, coaches, colleagues of Coach Moore and select media.
About the Joe Moore Foundation for Teamwork
The Foundation for Teamwork is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to fostering the essential aspect of all great societal endeavors: teamwork. Our mission is to bring that spirit of collective achievement not only to sports, but also to schools, organizations, businesses and communities. Find out more at joemooreaward.com and follow the Joe Moore Award on Instagram (@joemooreaward), Twitter (@joemooreaward) and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JoeMooreAward.