From the People-See-What-They-Want-To-See Department: compare Year2’s retrospective look at Tim Tebow in Florida’s passing game last season…
Perhaps more than anything else, the issue was the way that Tim Tebow tended to get laser-locked on to Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez to the exclusion of his other receivers. If they weren’t open, more often than not he’d take off and run. In the past when that happened it was with Percy Harvin, and that tended to work well enough. That’s because it was Percy Harvin.
This kind of thing was all too common last season after Tebow’s concussion. He didn’t get it while scrambling, but rather while standing in the pocket. He never was quite comfortable in the pocket again (understandably) until the Sugar Bowl, and his lock-on syndrome with Cooper and Hernandez only got worse. Florida’s offense was still effective enough to win all but one after the concussion, but it never had a chance to live up to its preseason billing.
… with the way Denver Post sportswriter Woody Paige sees that same player’s ability to read the field:
A good friend of mine is a college football coach who recently went to a clinic held by former Florida Gators offensive coordinator Dan Mullen. He said Tim Tebow is a great leader, a great physical talent, but just can’t process information quickly. That doesn’t sound too good — seeing that the NFL is all about reading defenses and processing information very quickly. Do you have any inside info regarding Tebow’s ability to read defenses at the snap of the ball?
— Alex, St. George, Utah
Woody Paige: Thanks, Alex. Great question. Josh McDaniels told me months ago that one of the major attributes Tebow possessed that impressed the coach was his ability to read defensive linemen and linebackers. Scott Loeffler, the quarterbacks coach at Florida (who formerly was in the NFL), agreed with that assessment.
McDaniels said he questioned Tebow about various alignments and defenses, and Tebow unquestionably knew how to read defenses.
I genuinely believe McDaniels in this case. He wouldn’t have put so much stock in Tebow if he didn’t believe the rookie was capable of recognizing defenses at the snap of the ball.
After Mullen left Florida to become the Mississippi State head coach, he was quoted as saying that Tebow was the best in the country at moving the ball “but won’t beat you with the big play” after the loss of Percy Harvin and a couple of other Gators who left the previous year.
I have gone back and studied the statistics, and the Gators had the 10th-most sacks allowed in the Southeastern Conference during the regular season. I think most people remember the big sack in the Kentucky game that resulted in a Tebow concussion, but the defender was on top of him from the blind side before he could react. Honestly, he didn’t get much pass protection last year at Florida and ended up much of the time just taking off and running.
Obviously, some of this is driven by the narrative you need at the moment – Tebow is in every Gator fan’s rear view mirror now, while he’s become the great hope in Denver – but I would think anyone who watched SEC football last season without a fan’s perspective on the matter would recognize Year2’s analysis as being more reality based.