No, I’m not talking about Texas here.
Tony Barnhart, in his swan song run at the AJ-C, takes a trip to Gainesville, Florida to visit the mighty Gators and lays a few thoughts on his faithful readers. This is the one I’m blogging about:
3. Taking care of Tebow: Tebow carried the ball 210 times last season. Kestahn Moore was second on the team with only 104 carries. Mullen concedes that that just simply can’t happen again in 2008. Tebow had a couple of significant injuries that slowed him down at the end of last season. Even if Tebow doesn’t get hurt, the wear and tear of the pounding by SEC defenses has to take its toll.
“Yes, we have to get the ball out of his hands,” Mullen said. “The good news is we’ve gotten to the point were we have guys like Cameron Newton who can come in a take some of that (offensive) package because he’s ready. We also have more guys we can put at the tailback position (like Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody), who can take some of those runs away.”
Now whatever you think about Urban Meyer, he’s no dummy. There’s a simple reason why the GPOOE™ got all the carries he did last season – he was the best option to win. And there’s no shame in admitting that; it’s the coach’s job to put his team in the position to do exactly that.
But here’s the catch. Do any of these players Barnhart mentions give Florida as good or better an option to win as does the GPOOE™? I mean, right now, I’d guess there are few fans of Florida’s opponents this year that wouldn’t mind seeing Cam Newton taking crunch playing time away from Tebow. On the other side of the coin, none of us can forget (or perhaps more accurately, will be allowed to forget) the number one reason why Florida lost to Georgia last year.
So which horn does Meyer choose to impale himself on here? I suspect that Barnhart’s got the answer when he writes
… This may be too much X’s and O’s talk for Aug. 7, but here’s the thing that makes it so tempting to run the ball with Tebow. When Tebow is in the shotgun and the Gators have three wide receivers, the defensive is spread to the point where Florida actually has a numerical mismatch. Tebow is such a good runner that the play almost always does well.
The devil you know is always the easier choice.