Nutt,Oher Collect SEC Honors

Leading Ole Miss to an 8-4 record and No. 20 national ranking during the regular season, first-year Rebels coach Houston Nutt was named the Southeastern Conference coach of the year in a vote of the league's 12 coaches.

Nutt, who shared the honor with Alabama's Nick Saban and Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson, turned around an Ole Miss program that hadn't won more than four games in a season since 2003.

Ole Miss will face No. 8 Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl at 1 p.m. on Jan. 2 in Dallas.

"It's a great honor, but it's simply a testament to the coaches around me," Nutt said. "Everyone from the coordinators to the graduate assistants did a great job with this team and deserves credit."

Also earning individual honors was Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher, who won the Jacobs Trophy, awarded to the best offensive lineman in the SEC. Oher has started 46 straight games, dating back to his freshman season, and leads an Ole Miss offense ranked in the SEC's top four in total offense, scoring, rushing and passing.

He's also one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's best interior lineman, and was in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday night, attending a banquet before the trophy presentation today.

A 6-foot-5, 318-pound senior, Oher came back to school for his final season after nearly leaving for the NFL after his junior year. He says he definitely made the right decision.

"I've got no regrets at all about that," Oher said. "It was a great decision. We won a lot of games this year and I got stronger and more fundamental. That's because (offensive line coach) Mike Markuson and (strength coach) Don Decker made me work so hard."

Said Nutt: "Michael Oher has improved so much as the season's progressed. I'm proud of his work ethic."

Other award winners were Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who was named the SEC's scholar-athlete of the year and the offensive player of the year.

Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry was the defensive player of the year, Florida return specialist Brandon James was the special teams player of the year and Georgia receiver A.J. Green was freshman of the year.


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