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PSU’s O’Brien named finalist

December 4, 2012
By Philip Cmor (pcmor@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

The honors continue to come in for Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien.

O'Brien, who last week was named Big Ten coach of the year by both the media and conference coaches, on Monday was announced as one of nine finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

The award is selected through a vote of the Football Writers Association of America and will be announced Dec. 13. The other finalists are Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Kansas State's Bill Snyder, Stanford's David Shaw, Florida's Will Muschamp, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Utah State's Gary Andersen and Northern Illinois' Dave Doeren.

O'Brien also is a finalist for the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year Award after guiding the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 finish in his first year at Penn State in spite of the NCAA's strong sanctions following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and the release of the Freeh Report. Penn State won eight of its last 10 games, closing the season with an overtime victory against eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin.

O'Brien's predecessor, Joe Paterno, was a three-time winner of the FWAA award (1978, 1982 and 1986).

O'Brien wasn't the only Nittany Lion to get some good news on the awards front Monday. In addition, it was announced that senior Matt Stankiewitch was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy for the best center in the country.

"It's a great honor to be a finalist for the Rimington Trophy," Stankiewitchsaid. "It's a great testament to the guys who play next me, particularly John Urschel, since we have a lot of combination blocking. I thought our offensive line had a very good year under Coach [Mac] McWhorter."

A first-team all-conference pick according to the coaches, Stankiewitch anchored a line that helped the Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense in conference games. The senior from Blue Mountain High School started 27 games in his career.

Stankiewitch is trying to become the Lions' first Rimington Trophy winner since current Indianapolis Colt A.Q. Shipley in 2008. The winner will be announced on ESPN on Thursday.

Louisville's Mario Benavides, Notre Dame's Braxston Cave, Clemon's Dalton Freeman, Southern Cal's Khaled Holmes and Alabam's Barrett Jones round out the finalists.

 
 
 

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