Tide dominate All-SEC awards

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After an undefeated romp through the season, No. 1 Alabama kept right on rolling when the honors were handed out on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team Monday.

The Crimson Tide picked off the top three individual awards: running back Mark Ingram was named offensive player of the year, linebacker Rolando McClain led the vote for the top defensive player and Nick Saban claimed his second straight coach of the year honor.

The only award that didn't go to Alabama? Freshman of the year, which was won by Vanderbilt running back and return specialist Warren Norman.

Alabama routed defending national champion Florida in the SEC championship game this past weekend and will face Texas for the BCS title. Not surprisingly, there was plenty of crimson on the AP's first team, which included seven Tide players, more than any other school.

Ingram, only a sophomore, was among five unanimous selections to the first team after breaking the school's season rushing record with 1,542 yards and scoring three touchdowns against the Gators.

"Mark has had a phenomenal year," Saban said. "He's got quickness, change of direction, got speed, good instincts. He can run behind his pads. He has good hands and is a good receiver. He's had one of those years that probably make him ... one of the best players in the country."

McClain also fits in that category, leading an Alabama defense that allowed the fewest average points of any team in the nation, capped off by a stellar effort against Tim Tebow and the Gators in a 32-13 victory. The 6-foot-4, 258-pound junior led the Tide with 101 tackles, including 12.5 behind the line and four sacks.

The others named on every ballot were Alabama's massive defensive tackle, Terrence Cody, along with South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood and Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

Norman took the freshman award by leading the SEC in all-purpose yards at 161.8 per game. He ranked eighth in rushing with 783 yards rushing and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.

"It's kind of hard for me to even grasp being mentioned with the likes of Herschel Walker, who was one of the greatest players in SEC history," Norman said.

The remaining Crimson Tide selections to the first team were offensive guard Mike Johnson, cornerback Javier Arenas, safety Mark Barron and kicker Leigh Tiffin.

Saban earned another coaching award for his quick rebuilding of a storied program that had gone through four coaches in seven years before he arrived in 2007. Alabama struggled his first season - even losing to Louisiana-Monroe - but the Tide won its first 12 games a year ago before falling to Florida in the SEC title game.

Determined to make up for that disappointment, the Tide bounced back to win the SEC championship for the first time in a decade and put itself one win away from its first national title since 1992.

"This team wanted to prove that they could do something special and they wanted to be as good as they could possibly be," Saban said.

Florida (12-1) placed six players on the AP's first team, including Tebow for the third year in a row. Tebow and Ingram Monday also were named finalists for the Heisman Trophy. However, the Gators' quarterback wasn't a unanimous selection - Arkansas' Ryan Mallett picked up three out of 12 votes to make the second team - and his two-year reign as the SEC's top offensive player was snapped by Ingram.

Plus, the loss in Atlanta meant Florida had to settle for a Sugar Bowl matchup against Cincinnati rather than a shot at its third national title in four years.

"This is not how we wanted to finish our season in the SEC," Tebow said. "It was frustrating. To say it wasn't, that would be a lie."

Center Maurkice Pouncey and guard Mike Pouncey, twin brothers on the Florida line, also made the first team, as did teammates Aaron Hernandez at tight end, Carlos Dunlap at defensive end and Joe Haden at cornerback.

Georgia and Mississippi both placed three players on the team despite disappointing seasons. Receiver A.J. Green, linebacker Rennie Curran and punter Drew Butler made it for the Bulldogs. The Rebels were represented by receiver Shay Hodge, offensive tackle John Jerry and all-purpose player Dexter McCluster, who also made the second team as a running back.

The rest of the first team was comprised of LSU offensive tackle Ciron Black, Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon, Kentucky all-purpose player Randall Cobb, Auburn defensive end Antonio Coleman and Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams.

Joining Tebow as repeat selections were Green, Coleman, Cody, McClain, Norwood and Berry. The 77th annual AP All-SEC team was selected by a regional media panel.

TOP HONORS

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Mark Ingram, Alabama


DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rolando McClain, Alabama


COACH OF THE YEAR: Nick Saban, Alabama


FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Warren Norman, Vanderbilt

FIRST TEAM

Position Player School Ht./Wt. Year

Wide receiver Shay Hodge Mississippi 6-2/207 Sr.

Wide receiver A.J. Green Georgia 6-4/207 So.

Offensive line Mike Johnson Alabama 6-5/303 Sr.

Offensive line Ciron Black LSU 6-5/322 Sr.

Offensive line Mike Pouncey Florida 6-5/315 Jr.

Offensive line John Jerry Mississippi 6-6/335 Sr.

Center Maurkice Pouncey Florida 6-5/310 Jr.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez Florida 6-2/250 Jr.

Quarterback Tim Tebow Florida 6-3/240 Sr.

Running back u-Mark Ingram Alabama 5-10/212 So.

Running back Anthony Dixon Mississippi St. 6-1/235 Sr.

Kicker Leigh Tiffin Alabama 6-2/212 Sr.

All-Purpose Dexter McCluster Mississippi 5-9/170 Sr.

All-Purpose Randall Cobb Kentucky 5-11/188 So.

Defensive end Antonio Coleman Auburn 6-3/261 Sr.

Defensive end Carlos Dunlap Florida 6-6/290 Jr.

Defensive tackle u-Terrence Cody Alabama 6-5/354 Sr.

Defensive tackle Dan Williams Tennessee 6-3/327 Sr.

Linebacker u-Rolando McClain Alabama 6-4/258 Jr.

Linebacker u-Eric Norwood South Carolina 6-1/252 Sr.

Linebacker Rennie Curran Georgia 5-11/225 Jr.

Cornerback Javier Arenas Alabama 5-9/195 Sr.

Cornerback Joe Haden Florida 5-11/190 Jr.

Safety u-Eric Berry Tennessee 5-11/203 Jr.

Safety Mark Barron Alabama 6-2/214 So.

Punter Drew Butler Georgia 6-2/203 So.

u - unanimous selection

SECOND TEAM

Wide receiver Joe Adams Arkansas 5-10/182 So.

Wide receiver Riley Cooper Florida 6-3/215 Sr.

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell LSU 6-3/206 Sr.

Offensive line Clint Boling Georgia 6-5/297 Jr.

Offensive line Chris Scott Tennessee 6-5/346 Sr.

Offensive line James Carpenter Alabama 6-5/300 Jr.

Offensive line Mitch Petrus Arkansas 6-4/315 Sr.

Center Ryan Pugh Auburn 6-4/289 Jr.

Tight end Colin Peek Alabama 6-6/255 Sr.

Quarterback Ryan Mallett Arkansas 6-7/238 So.

Running back Dexter McCluster Mississippi 5-9/170 Sr.

Running back Montario Hardesty Tennessee 6-0/215 Sr.

Running back Ben Tate Auburn 5-11/218 Sr.

Kicker Blair Walsh Georgia 5-10/185 So.

All-Purpose Derrick Locke Kentucky 5-9/190 Jr.

All-Purpose Javier Arenas Alabama 5-9/195 Sr.

Defensive end J. Cunningham Florida 6-3/257 Sr.

Defensive end Justin Houston Georgia 6-3/259 So.

Defensive end Pernell McPhee Mississippi St. 6-4/275 Jr.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins Georgia 6-1/290 Sr.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters Kentucky 6-3/295 Sr.

Defensive tackle Jerrell Powe Mississippi 6-2/330 Jr.

Defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard Arkansas 6-2/291 Sr.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes Florida 6-4/255 Sr.

Linebacker Sam Maxwell Kentucky 6-3/248 Sr.

Linebacker Rico McCoy Tennessee 6-1/220 Sr.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson LSU 6-1/211 So.

Cornerback Myron Lewis Vanderbilt 6-2/205 Sr.

Cornerback Walt McFadden Auburn 6-0/175 Sr.

Safety Chad Jones LSU 6-3/231 Jr.
Safety Chris Culliver South Carolina 6-0/190 Jr.

Punter Chas Henry Florida 6-4/222 Jr.

HONORABLE MENTION

OFFENSE: Zipp Duncan, T, Kentucky, 6-5, 291, Sr.; Trindon Holliday, All-Purpose, LSU, 5-5, 161, Sr.; Lee Ziemba, T, Auburn, 6-8, 308, Jr.


DEFENSE: Ahmad Black, S, Florida, 5-9, 185, Jr.; Chris Marve, LB, Vanderbilt, 6-0, 230, So.; Cliff Matthews, E, South Carolina, 6-4, 249, Jr.

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