The 2009 Pac-10 regular season has come to a close and as we all know, between the end of the regular season and beginning of the bowl season is the all-important awards season. So in that spirit, I present to you, the 2009 BruinsNation Pac-10 Awards. Throughout this week, we will present to you our Pac-10 awards, as voted on by the frontpagers and a select few members of the community, totaling ten votes. Yesterday was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, with the Freshman of the Year, Coach of the Year and Game of the Year to follow later this week. First place votes were worth five points, second place votes worth three and third place votes worth one.
Winner: Brian Price, UCLA- Just as was the case with Toby Gerhart picking up BN Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year unanimously, defensive tackle Brian Price received all ten first place votes to win BN Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. The junior led the conference with 22.5 tackles for a loss, a category rarely led by an interior lineman. Price also ranked third nationally in the category. Seven of those came via sack and Price also forced two fumbles, all while being double teamed on nearly every day.
Just how impressive is Brian Price? Well, he received what is probably the ultimate compliment a lineman can receive from Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. When a player dominated up front, you will often see teams run plays away from him, but Stanford took it a step farther. The Cardinal called plays specifically when Price was out of the game, most notably waiting to call a flea flicker until the big man up front caught a breather.
"That's a guy [Brian Price] who is going to make a lot of money playing football," Harbaugh said. "[I was] scared to death of trying to run the flea flicker with him splitting the gap. That would have been a disaster."
When teams are waiting until you hit the bench to do anything special on offense, you know you're making an impact and with it looking like a near certainty that Price will leave for the NFL following the Bruins' bowl games, you can bet opposing coaches are breathing a sigh of relief.
In total voting, Michael Mohamed, a linebacker from Cal, finished second as he led the Pac-10 in tackles with 105, 14 more than the next closest player. Rahim Moore, the UCLA safety finished third in voting, giving the Bruins three players with votes (Alterraun Verner got a third place vote), while no other team had two players receiving votes.
Total Votes: 1) Brian Price, UCLA (10-0-0=50), 2) Michael Mohamed, Cal (0-5-1=16), 3) Rahim Moore, UCLA (0-2-4=10), 4) Dexter Davis, Arizona St. (0-2-3=9), 5) Donald Butler, Washington (0-1-0=3), T6) Alterraun Verner, UCLA (0-0-1=1), T6) Taylor Mays, USC (0-0-1=1)