Iowa Hawkeyes‘ defensive coordinator Phil Parker won the Broyles Award, which is given to the top assistant coach in all of college football. After being a semifinalist in his 11th season as the Hawkeyes’ defensive signal caller, Parker took the award home in his 12th. Parker has been a part of the Iowa coaching staff since 1999, and is now the third Iowa assistant to win the award.
Other Iowa assistants to bring home the award were Ron Aiken and Norm Parker in 2002 and 2013 respectively. Norm Parker was also a finalist in 2004 and 2005 In an article from ESPN, Iowa Hawkeyes’ head coach Kirk Ferentz spoke highly of Parker’s quarter-century contribution.
“Phil Parker is an incredible football coach, and I am extremely pleased that he has been recognized for his career success by the Broyles Committee,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We simply would not have achieved the success we have as a program without Phil’s dedication and leadership. Since 1999, we have benefited from Phil’s expertise and tenacity.”
The Iowa Hawkeyes’ Defense was Top-Ranked Nationally, and They Did it With no Help From the Offense
Parker put together a historically good defense for the Iowa Hawkeyes, and he did it with no help from the other side of the ball. The 2023 Iowa Hawkeyes broke the record for the lowest O/U line on three separate occasions this year, with their last hoorah being a 26.5 O/U line against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in their final regular season game. Parker’s squad finished fifth in total defense at the end of the year.
Even though the Hawkeyes’ defense managed to find their way into the top 20 in almost every single defensive category, they were not able to pull off any wins in big-time games as their biggest win came over the 7-5 Iowa State Cyclones. This is because of an offense that struggled immensely to move the ball all season, which resulted in the Hawkeyes having 1,000 more yards punting than total offense. They finished 133 out of 133 on offense, and 1 out of 133 in punting.
Iowa and Nebraska both scored 216 points this season.
Iowa held opponents to a total of 146. Nebraska gave up 219.
That’s the difference between 10-2 and 5-7.
— ICHawkeye ✈️ (@ICHawkeye) November 25, 2023
Parker’s feats as a defensive coordinator are significantly more impressive when taking into account that a historically bad Brian Ferentz-led offense was on the other side of the ball. Parker’s defense is on a nation-leading streak of 27 games with 400 yards or fewer. Their nation-runner-up 3.99 yards per play is actually a setback from last year when they led the nation in the statistic.
Phil Parker has Produced NFL Prospects on a Consistent Basis
With recent NFL prospects like A.J. Epenesa, Desmond King II, Riley Moss and Josey Jewell coming out of Parker’s camp, top-cornerback prospect Cooper Dejean will look to carry the torch. A finalist for the Nagurski Award and the Thorpe Award, Dejean is expected to be the first cornerback taken off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft. Linebacker Jay Higgins was a finalist for the Butkus award, and the two along with defensive back Sebastian Castro were named midseason All-Americans.
Before becoming the defensive coordinator in 2012, Parker was the defensive backs coach for 13 years. This means he played a large part in Indianapolis Colts legend Bob Sanders’ career, as well as current NFL veteran Micah Hyde. After the Hawkeyes take on the No. 25 Tennessee Volunteers in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, they will look to find a compliment for Parker on the other side of the ball.
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