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Leinart Wins One Award; Jason White Gets Two

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Times Staff Writer

Matt Leinart’s postseason awards tour began Thursday in Orlando, Fla., with mixed results.

Leinart, USC’s junior quarterback, was named Walter Camp player of the year, but Oklahoma senior Jason White won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s most outstanding player and the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback. The awards were presented during the Home Depot College Football Awards show.

White also won the O'Brien award last year and went on to win the Heisman Trophy.

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Leinart leaves today for New York where he will take part in the Heisman Trophy award presentation on Saturday.

Leinart, White, Trojan running back Reggie Bush, Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson and Utah quarterback Alex Smith are finalists for college football’s most prestigious award.

Leinart, who will lead the top-ranked Trojans against No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, is the fourth USC player to win the Walter Camp award. Running back O.J. Simpson won in 1967 and 1968, Charles White won in 1979 and Marcus Allen won in 1981.

Leinart, senior defensive tackle Shaun Cody and senior linebacker Matt Grootegoed were selected to the Walter Camp All-American team.

Grootegoed is a finalist for the Butkus Award, which will be presented tonight in Orlando.

Texas’ Cedric Benson won the Doak Walker Award (running back), Ohio State’s Mike Nugent won the Groza Award (kicker), Michigan’s Braylon Edwards won the Biletnikoff Award (receiver), Georgia’s David Pollack won the Bednarik Award (defensive player), Oklahoma’s Jammal Brown won the Outland Trophy (lineman) and Auburn’s Carlos Rogers won the Thorpe Award (defensive back). Urban Meyer, who is leaving Utah for Florida, was coach of the year.

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USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow said he was not offered the head coaching job at Stanford, but felt his day-long interview on Stanford’s campus Wednesday went well.

“I did what I could,” said Chow, who added that he was given no timeline for when Stanford would hire a replacement for Buddy Teevens.

“I would suppose they are going to bring other people in to interview and then let us know,” he said.

Chow and Pittsburgh Coach Walt Harris are reportedly the leading candidates for the job.

Chow said he told Stanford officials that he wanted to coach in the Orange Bowl, this year’s bowl championship series title game.

With Kyle Whittingham accepting the job at Utah rather than Brigham Young, BYU officials are expected to continue their pursuit of Chow.

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Ed Orgeron, the Trojans’ defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, is expected to interview today for the head coaching job at Mississippi.

Orgeron, a Louisiana native, said he hoped to meet with Mississippi officials today in Los Angeles.

After the 2002 season, Orgeron turned down an offer to join Dennis Erickson’s staff with the San Francisco 49ers and was given the title of assistant head coach at USC.


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