By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
As if there was any doubt.
The Associated Press All-America football team was announced yesterday and heading the defense was Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi, the only returner from last year's first team.
Bruschi had 14 1/2 sacks this season to tie Derrick Thomas' NCAA career record of 52, which he did in his final game, against Arizona State Nov. 24.
Bruschi was in Houston Wednesday for the presentation of the Lombardi Award and was unavailable for comment.
Two of the other three Lombardi finalists Ÿ UCLA's Jonathan Ogden and Ohio State's Orlando Pace Ÿ were first-teamers. The third, Illinois' Simeon Rice, was a second-team selection.
Bruschi, who was also a finalist last year, is the third consecutive Wildcat to be among the top four considered for the award, given to the country's top lineman. Rob Waldrop was a finalist in 1993.
Arizona coach Dick Tomey, who will join Bruschi in Houston for tonight's presentation, stopped short of offering a prediction but made it known who he thought deserved the award.
"To me it's a no-brainer," Tomey said. "What he's done is so measurable. For him to be nominated twice and for us to have three in a row is unprecedented."
The question now remains whether Bruschi's numbers can overcome what Tomey called "regional bias" Ÿ the tendency of the Eastern voters to choose the players they've seen play the most.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Frazier moved a step closer to the Heisman Trophy with his selection as first-team quarterback. Frazier's closest competition Ÿ Ohio State running back Eddie George and Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel Ÿ were first-team and second-team selections, respectively.
Wuerffel and Frazier will go head-to-head when their schools meet Jan. 2 in the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe.
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The announcement of offensive coordinator Duane Akina as a finalist for the head coaching job at Hawaii came as no surprise to Tomey. In his 19 years as a head coach, he has had the same coaching staff in consecutive years just once.
"Four coaches have gone on to become head coaches and a bunch of guys have gone on to the NFL," Tomey said. "I hope he gets the opportunity."
Even if Akina does not get the job, the football staff is already assured of a change. Defensive line coach Rich Ellerson has accepted the head coaching job at Division I-AA Southern Utah State.
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