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Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama


November 19, 2009 7:54 PM

McClain, not Cody, should be Nagurski finalist

Rolando McClain photo.jpg

Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (25) leads the team with 77 tackles. (UA photo)

 

I wonder if the any of the folks with the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte (N.C.) Touchdown Club have seen the University of Alabama play this season.

 

If they have, they would know that junior middle linebacker Rolando McClain is the heart and soul of the Crimson Tide's defense that ranks third in the nation in total defense.

 

So, how in the world did the FWAA announce Thursday that it had selected Alabama senior nose guard Terrence Cody as one of five finalists for the 2009 Bronko Nagurski Trophy?

 

Puzzling.


Cody (pictured below) is joined by Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer, Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry, TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes and Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh as the five finalists vying for one of the FWAA's highest honors, its National Defensive Player of the Year award.

 

No disrespect to Cody. He has had a fine season with 20 tackles, including five tackles for losses, two quarterback pressures and one pass breakup and his two blocked field goals to preserve the Tide's 12-10 victory against Tennessee last month will be remembered forever in Alabama football lore.

 

Mount Cody.jpgBut if you take away McClain, Alabama's defense would be merely average. Not only does McClain lead the team with 77 tackles, but he's also the coach on the field for the Alabama defense, responsible for making all of the defensive calls and making adjustments before the ball is snapped. McClain also has 10 tackles for losses, three sacks, two interceptions, one pass breakup, eight quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

 

"Ro" has been so dominant that he might finish in the top 10 in Heisman Trophy voting.

 

McClain is Alabama's MVP, not sophomore running back Mark Ingram, a leading Heisman candidate.

 

McClain has been chosen as a semifinalist for the Lombardi and Butkus Awards as well as the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the best defensive player in the nation, but he should have been among the finalists for the Nagurski Trophy instead of Cody.

 

Puzzling indeed.

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