Pollack, Richt win SEC honors

When asked last week to name his choice for SEC Player of the Year, David Pollack was stumped.

When asked last week to name his choice for SEC Player of the Year, David Pollack was stumped.

"I have no clue,'' said Pollack, Georgia's sophomore defensive end. "I don't know enough about other teams to say.''\

The other teams' coaches know enough about Pollack to say he is the best player in the league.

Two days after he helped lead Georgia to its first Southeastern Conference championship in 20 years, Pollack Monday was named SEC Player of the Year in voting by the coaches.

Meanwhile, Georgia coach Mark Richt was named SEC Coach of the Year by his peers. In only his second year in Athens, Richt coached Georgia to a 12-1 record and a spot in the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl against Florida State.

After finishing with the league's best regular-season record and then dominating Arkansas 30-3 in Saturday night's SEC championship game in Atlanta, Georgia also was the biggest winner in the SEC coaches' All-SEC picks.

Georgia led the league with six players on the All-SEC first team and five on the second team. The total of 11 All-SEC players is a record for Georgia, topping its 10 selections in 1968, 1981 and 1982.

Pollack, from Shiloh High School, received five of the possible 11 first-place votes for Player of the Year. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.

"It's an awesome honor that the coaches in the league think that highly of the season I've had,'' Pollack said Monday. "But it's really a tribute to the other players on defense like Boss (Bailey), (Johnathan) Sullivan and (Tony) Gilbert, as well as Coach Richt, (defensive coordinator Brian) VanGorder, (defensive ends coach Jon) Fabris and the rest of the defensive staff.''

Added Pollack: "I'm just an average player on a great defense.''

Pollack leads the league with 13 quarterback sacks, 22 tackles for loss and 34 quarterback pressures.

In his first full season at defensive end, Pollack tied Georgia's single-season sacks record set by Mitch Davis in 1993.

Pollack also recorded 97 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two interceptions - including one for a touchdown against South Carolina.

The sophomore also made big plays on special teams, blocking a field goal against Alabama and blocking a punt against Vanderbilt. Each play set up touchdowns.

"I really felt like he deserved (Player of the Year) because of the impact he made on ourseason,'' Richt said. "Some of the plays he made, without them, we're not SEC champions.

"To come out of nowhere like he did, he didn't get it because of his reputation going into the season. He really didn't have any momentum for awards like this going into the season. He has played the best and had the most of impact of any player on any team and he's played the same way every single play all season.''

Pollack, who signed with Georgia as a fullback and defensive lineman, even played on offense as the "wham'' blocker in some short-yardage plays.

Pollack, who finally suggested teammates David Greene and Musa Smith as top players in the league, was reluctant to speak of himself as being the star of the team, much less the league.

"No one player tries to take credit for everything,'' Pollack said last week. "No one is selfish on the team. ... It's a different person, it seems, every week.''

Other Georgia players shared the stage, but in most weeks, Pollack was a consistent play-maker. Including  the SEC championship game, Pollack recorded at least one sack in 11 of Georgia's 13 games.

"It just seems like every time you look up, he's the guy that's got you for a loss,'' said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "He is a tremendous football player and really a difference maker for them.''

Pollack, who previously had been named SEC Player of the Year by Collegefootballnews.com, could be in line for more awards today.

Pollack  is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which will be announced today. The award given to the nation's top defensive player by The Football Writers Association of America.

Also, The Associated Press will name its All-SEC team and player of the year today.

Joining Pollack as All-SEC first-team picks on the coaches team Monday were Greene, receiver Terrence Edwards, offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb, linebacker Boss Bailey and kicker Billy Bennett.

Second-team picks from Georgia were Smith, offensive guard Kevin Breedlove, defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, linebacker Tony Gilbert and safety Kentrell Curry.

Greene, the SEC leader in passing efficiency, was the first-team pick over Florida's Rex Grossman and Kentucky's Jared Lorenzen, who shared second-team honors.

Offensive tackle Shane Andrews of Arkansas won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given annually to the league's top blocker.

Vanderbilt running back and return specialist Kwane Doster was named SEC Freshman of the Year.

Two Georgia players, defensive tackle Darrius Swain and cornerback Tim Jennings, were named to the all-freshman team.

Dawg Post Top Stories