Monte Kiffin, Strong get some props

October, 29, 2009
10/29/09
10:35
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

My colleague Bruce Feldman at ESPN The Magazine has come up with a list of the top 10 assistants nationally doing the best job this season.

The only SEC assistant to make the initial cut was Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, whose defense has gone eight straight quarters without allowing a touchdown. Feldman had Kiffin No. 8.

Feldman came back and revised his list to include Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong at No. 4A. Feldman said as dominant as the Gators have been this season on defense that Strong deserved to be on the initial list.

At the top of Feldman's list was Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

If he were asking me for some more candidates from the SEC this season, I'd have to go with South Carolina assistant head coach for the defense Ellis Johnson, Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis.

South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus has also done a nice job with Stephen Garcia, and even though Vanderbilt has yet to win an SEC game, the defense -- and specifically -- the secondary has been excellent despite losing its leader back there, Ryan Hamilton, in the second game of the season. Bruce Fowler is the Commodores' assistant head coach for the defense, and Jamie Bryant is the defensive coordinator and heads up the secondary.

Chris Low | email

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