Trojans QB Leinart wins Unitas Award

Updated: December 10, 2005, 12:28 AM ET
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Matt Leinart has been helping Southern California teammate Reggie Bush prepare for the Heisman Trophy.

"I told him to get ready for the whirlwind," Leinart said Friday after accepting the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback. "I told him to get ready for some crazy days."

Leinart doesn't think he'll join former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only player to win college football's most coveted award twice. The way the USC quarterback looks at it, he's not even the best player in his own backfield, so how can he be the best player in the country?

"I've kind of been there, done that," Leinart said. "I was spoiled and had a great experience last year. Now I'd like to see my teammate get it. I think he's the best player in college football."

The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner cast his 2005 ballot for Bush and gave Texas quarterback Vince Young his second-place vote.

Young will try to end USC's 34-game winning streak and stranglehold on the national championship at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4. Leinart and Young spoke on the phone during the season after Young passed Leinart his phone number through a mutual acquaintance.

"I just told him to keep doing your thing," Leinart said. "We respect each other and I have a lot of respect for what he's done for that program and that team."

On Thursday, Young beat out Bush and Leinart for the Maxwell Award as the nation's top player, and also edged Leinart and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn for the Davey O'Brien Award given to the nation's top quarterback.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press