CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A day after their teams landed in the
national championship game, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and
Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis spent Monday night
playfully talking trash in a hotel ballroom.
They left with Dorsey holding the upper hand -- for now.
Behind his 64 tackles and six sacks, Dorsey beat out Laurinaitis
to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation's top
defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
"We've got to go at it," explained Dorsey, who has 11 1/2
tackles for a loss despite being hampered by a sore knee late in
the season. "We met over the summertime at the Playboy All-America
thing. We got to know each other then. It's going to be
interesting. It's going to be fun."
Dorsey unseated Laurinaitis, who last year became the first
sophomore to win the Nagurski. Laurinaitis has put up gaudy numbers
again this season, with 103 tackles and five sacks while anchoring
the nation's top defense.
The two will vie for other awards, too, and Laurinaitis is
looking forward to spending more time with one of his obstacles to
win the national title.
"It's going to be fun to poke at each other about it,"
The other three finalists were Virginia defensive end Chris
Long, who has 14 sacks; South Florida defensive end George Selvie,
who has 14 1/2 sacks and Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib, who has four
Perhaps fittingly, Dorsey was late for the predinner photo op,
receiving jeers from Laurinaitis and the other finalists when he
finally showed. LSU was late getting into the title game, too,
after losses by West Virginia and Missouri on Saturday left the
Bowl Championship Series in chaos.
Dorsey and the Tigers found out Sunday night they had moved up
to No. 2 in the BCS standings despite triple-overtime losses to
Kentucky and Arkansas.
"I'm just excited about it. It's an honor to get an opportunity
to play for the national championship," Dorsey said. "There are a
lot of teams who deserve it just like we do. I'm just grateful and
thankful we have the opportunity we have."
While Dorsey and Laurinaitis traded barbs while wearing tuxedos
Monday night, Laurinaitis believes LSU was the right choice to be
the Buckeyes' opponent on Jan. 7 in New Orleans.
"If you look at their two losses, they were against teams that
had true Heisman Trophy-caliber guys playing their best games,"
said Laurinaitis, referring to Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden
and Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson.
While the arguing over who should be playing for the national
championship will continue for weeks, Dorsey and Laurinaitis are
headed to Houston Wednesday for the Lombardi Award announcement.
"We'll be keeping in touch," Dorsey said, before breaking into
laughter. "I'll be seeing a lot of him."