Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Utah's Meyer named coach of the year
ST. LOUIS -- Quarterback Jason White, whose Oklahoma Sooners are still vying for a national championship despite losing last weekend's Big 12 championship game, on Tuesday was named college football's player of the year by The Sporting News.
The St. Louis-based publication also named Utah's Urban Meyer its coach of the year. Meyer led the Utes to a 9-2 record and a berth in the Liberty Bowl on New Year's Eve.
In guiding the Sooners to an 12-1 record this season, White -- playing with two surgically repaired knees -- has thrown for 40 touchdowns and more than 3,700 yards.
Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll before losing 35-7 on Saturday night to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, now will attempt to become the first national champion to not win its own league crown when it takes on No. 2 LSU in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4 in New Orleans.
That game's winner automatically captures the coaches' title
under the Bowl Championship Series format.
"Jason White is everything a college football team could want.
His resolve -- after coming back from two devastating knee injuries
-- is inspirational," John Rawlings, The Sporting News' editorial
director, said in a statement.
"His play at quarterback, though, is even more impressive. I
don't think Jason gets as much credit as he deserves because too
many observers say he is a byproduct of Bob Stoops' system. I'd say
the system is a byproduct of Jason White's unique ability. He
clearly is the best player in college football this year."
The Sporting News named Florida linebacker Channing Crowder
freshman of the year. Crowder has a team-high 63 tackles.