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Post Coaches vote Green SEC Freshman of the Year

Wednesday December 10, 2008

For the second year in a row, the Georgia Bulldogs have the SEC’s Freshman of the Year as voted by the coaches. Wide receiver A.J. Green was voted the league’s top freshman just days after the AP gave the same honor to Alabama’s Julio Jones. Green’s 951 receiving yards leads the SEC this year, and he’d be the first freshman to lead the SEC in receiving since Auburn’s Ronney Daniels in 1999 (half of Daniels’ total had to come against Georgia). It’s fitting that Green and Jones split FOTY honors. Both had stellar seasons, and SEC fans should enjoy watching them over the next two seasons.

On some of the other awards…Tebow and Berry make sense. I also can’t argue with Brandon James though I’m sure Arenas got plenty of consideration. It was interesting that there were no unanimous selections this year. Did someone like Cody take votes away from Berry? I can’t imagine a better season by a defender than what Berry put up.

Any time I see Michael Oher’s name on one of these lists, I have to wonder how much The Blind Side had to do with it. By all accounts Oher’s an excellent lineman and has lived up to the hype, but was he really the best lineman in the conference? Or was he the safe choice because we have a book that says he’s supposed to be a can’t-miss? I don’t pretend to be able to tell the difference between Oher and other top linemen like Andre Smith (who won the award last year), and most honest fans can’t either. So while I’ll admit to being curious about that award, I really can’t disagree with the selection.

That’s not the case with another award. This isn’t the first time I’ve questioned the coaches’ on their COTY pick, and I’ve really got to take issue with Bobby Johnson getting anywhere near it this year. True, the return of Vanderbilt to bowl eligibility is big news. There’s also no question that Vandy is at a different level from the days not too far gone when they were winning two games a year. He’s a good coach over the long haul, but what was exceptional about this season? Johnson’s indecisiveness at the quarterback position proved problematic, and he saw his team all but collapse over the last half of the season as they were unable to beat vulnerable teams like Mississippi State, Duke, and Tennessee. Vandy’s bottom line improvement was one whole game from a 5-7 2007 season.

Saban was the obvious choice, but I’m glad to see that Houston Nutt received enough support to tie for COTY honors. Nutt took the Ole Miss Rebels from zero SEC wins a season ago to 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the SEC, and a New Year’s Day bowl.s

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