This whole Tebow’s-delivery-isn’t-NFL-ready story gets more enjoyable by the day, at least if you’re not a fan of the Florida program.
To recap briefly:
- As every school child in America knows, Tim Tebow has a funky throwing delivery.
- Despite that, Tebow went on to have one of the most celebrated careers in college football history.
- Despite that, Urban Meyer felt the need to tinker with Tebow’s delivery, to the extent that he hired a quarterbacks coach to help change Tebow’s mechanics for the express purpose of better preparing him to play in the NFL.
- Despite that, Tebow’s delivery remained unchanged in 2009.
- In announcing that his delivery is being changed in anticipation of his NFL pro day workout, Tebow says that “I’ve never been asked to shorten or quicken my release and not have a loop in it.”
Okay, fine. It’s apparent there’s a lack of consistency in that story line. The question is who’s making stuff up there.
Mike Bianchi says a change was never in the cards.
… Why do you think UF didn’t reconstruct Tebow’s motion to begin with? It’s not like Loeffler doesn’t know what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. While at Michigan, he tutored three future NFL starters — Brian Griese, Chad Henne and, oh by the way, Tom Brady.
But Loeffler knew it would take a lot of time and there would be no guarantees if he rebuilt Tebow’s motion. Maybe Tebow would become a better passer, but maybe he would become a worse passer, too.
“I’ve never liked to tinker with a quarterback’s throwing motion especially in this phase of their career,” says Jay Gruden, head coach of the UFL’s Orlando Tuskers and a respected tutor of quarterbacks. “Personally, I’ve never really had great results doing that. It’s OK if you’re just trying to help them get rid of the ball a little quicker and change a little bit, but if he’s trying to change the whole way he goes about his drops and his release point, that’s going to be difficult to do.”
Bottom line is this: The Gators do not pay Meyer $4 million a year to sacrifice wins in an attempt to turn players into great NFL prospects.
Ah, right. And, honestly, it’s hard to argue with Bianchi’s logic there. Except Meyer’s the guy who hired Loeffler in the first place and instructed him to tinker with Tebow’s release. Minor detail, that.
But here’s where the fun really takes off. Ben Volin, who covers the Gators for the Palm Beach Post, has a lengthy blog post criticizing the criticism about changing Tebow’s delivery. You should read it in its entirety, but the short version puts the blame on the GPOOE™ – sacrilege, I know – rather than Corch Meyers.
So to recap everything:
1) Tebow’s poor mechanics were diagnosed by UF’s Biometrics and Motion Analysis Lab in June 2006, before he even played a down at UF, and he continued to work in the lab throughout his freshmen and sophomore years (and probably his last two years, too).
2) Tebow’s quote Monday that “I’ve never been asked to shorten or quicken my release and not have a loop in it” is total PR spin and completely throws his UF coaches under the bus.
3) When Tebow’s coach (Mullen) left for Mississippi State, the Gators made sure to specifically hire a pro-style quarterbacks coach (Loeffler), who has a history of working with NFL quarterbacks (Brady, Henne, Brian Griese).
4) After four years of coaching and tweaking and having every advantage available to him, Tebow’s throwing motion is still a mess.
5) Despite his faulty throwing motion, Meyer helped Tebow become one of the most statistically accomplished quarterbacks in NCAA history.
At some point, shouldn’t the onus to improve be on the player rather than the coach?
That, my friends, is teh awesome. A few more days of this, and we’re going to be in the land of full-blown damage control. I can’t wait for that steely look to cross Meyer’s face when some media hack asks him who’s responsible for Tebow’s failure to improve his throwing mechanics in four years in Gainesville.
The absolute best part of Volin’s post (and it’s worth asking where he got all this inside info, by the way) is this:
2) NCAA rules prohibited Tebow from putting in the necessary work to improve his mechanics.
– First, the NCAA limits the number of hours a player can practice each week to 20. So it’s not like Tebow could spend 8-10 hour days working on his mechanics, like he’s doing now as a professional.
– Second, the NCAA prohibits coaches (head coach and position coach) from having any contact with their players during the offseason, outside of the five-week window allowed for spring practice. Tebow technically wasn’t supposed to be working out with Loeffler that day last February. They broke the rules, anyway, to help Tebow improve. [Emphasis added.]
RichRod wept. When can we expect the NCAA to come calling?
UPDATE: Year2 provides a well-written Bianchi-esque perspective, pointing out in this post that it’s not Meyer’s primary concern to develop NFL-ready quarterbacks. And I agree with that, at least as far as it goes.
But I have to take issue with something inferred from this passage:
… That’s why it’s stupid to say that if Tebow becomes a bust like Smith was, then top quarterback recruits will shy away from playing at Florida.
I get the feeling that this isn’t really about Urban Meyer’s, or more accurately Dan Mullen’s, ability to groom an NFL quarterback. Guys go into the league every year with substandard mechanics. I think a lot of this is yet another repudiation of Meyer’s spread option offense, something that NFL supremacist types have been panning for years…
While he’s right that it may be a stupid proposition to assert, and while he may be entirely correct about why the assertion is made in the first place, it’s still going to be made. And it’s going to be made ever more insistently if Tebow’s mechanical flaws can’t be overcome on the next level.
Meyer knows this. Like I said, whatever you think of his salesmanship, he’s a very smart cookie. And this kind of talk is a pain in the arse to deal with on the recruiting trail. Was he trying to walk a fine line between putting on a show for his critics and not screwing up his franchise player going into a year when the program was the favorite to win another national title? Probably. Will it work? Stay tuned.