Cody Finalist For Nagurski Trophy

If the award for best defensive player is based on statistics, Alabama's Terrence Cody is the wrong nominee. In fact, it's hard to fathom an award for best defensive player than doesn't have as a strong nominee Bama middle linebacker Rolando McClain.

The chances would not be good of an Alabama player winning the award if two were nominated. McClain is a finalist for several national awards.

But McClain does not represent Alabama in the competition for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Alabama senior nose tackle Terrence Cody has been named one of five finalists for the 2009 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Football Writers Association and the Charlotte (North Carolina) Touchdown Club announced Thursday.

Cody isn't going to get the award because of his number of tackles. He averages only about one tackle and one assist per game. Cody does have five tackles for loss this year. And he does have a dramatic highlight clip with his two fourth quarter field goal blocks against Tennessee, one coming on the final play of the game to preserve Alabama's undefeated season.

The 6-5, 254-pound Cody has chipped in with a broken up pass and some quarterback hurries this year.

But it's not so much what Terrence Cody does. It's what he makes other teams do against the nation's second ranked Crimson Tide. With Cody in the middle, game plans have to change. And so do blocking schemes. Cody isn't blocked by one man, and usually not by two. It takes either three (which he sees occasionally) or a hold (which he gets on virtually every play, although that penalty is rarely called).

Cody 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.

The FWAA's National Defensive Player of the Year Award is named after Bronko Nagurski, who dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle from 1927-29. Legend has it he could have been an All-America at any position playing 60 minutes and was the best player wherever he lined up.

A member of the 2008 FWAA All-America team, Cody anchors an Alabama defensive front the leads the SEC and ranks second nationally in rushing defense. The Crimson Tide has allowed only 2.4 yards per play and 72.8 yards per game this season.

In addition, the Tide defense ranks second nationally and second in the SEC in scoring defense (10.9 ppg) and second in the SEC and third nationally in total defense (239.3 ypg). The Crimson Tide has held eight of its first 10 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing and three of the 10 opponents to less than 200 total yards in a game. Alabama has held five teams to a touchdown or less this season.

Mount Cody was named the AT&T All-America and SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Tennessee.

A 2009 Sporting News midseason All-American, Cody is also a finalist for the Lombardi Trophy and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 7 and presented the Bronko Nagurski Trophy at a gala banquet at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C., where North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien will be the keynote speaker.

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