HOOVER, Ala. – A three-day quest to uncover which SEC coach did not vote Florida’s Tim Tebow as the quarterback on the coaches preseason All-SEC team ended Friday when Steve Spurrier fessed up.
The Ol’ Ball Coach, who won a national championship at Florida in 1996 and is now the coach at South Carolina, said Tebow’s absence on his ballot was an oversight.
Spurrier said his ballot was completed by his director of football operations, and he signed off on it without looking at it closely enough.
“I messed up. He should have been on that ballot. I still feel very badly about that, but we move on. I’m embarrassed about what happened. I really am. I’ve apologized to Tim and all Gators,” Spurrier said.
Spurrier drew criticism a couple of years ago for voting for Duke in the coaches’ Top 25 on the rationale that the school hired him for his first job.
It was the most asked question at the league’s Media Days Wednesday through Friday at the Wynfrey Hotel.
Implied in the question and the process was the notion that Tebow – the Heisman Trophy winner in 2007 who led the Gators to the national championship as a junior last year – should have been a unanimous choice.
Spurrier said he consulted with SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom about changing his ballot and that Tebow is now a unanimous choice on the coaches’ All-SEC team.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players, so a unanimous total would have been 11 votes. The original team includes votes for Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead from Spurrier and Florida coach Urban Meyer.
In a bit of irony, Tebow was not a unanimous choice among the media when its team was released Friday. He was first on 61 of 64 ballots.
The questions began with Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, the first coach at the podium on Wednesday. Some coaches joked about the question, some did not. Eventually all disclosed their private vote.
“It’s what a lot of people have fought for for a long time,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban. “Everybody should have the right to vote for whoever they want, and they shouldn’t be criticized for that. I guess it’s just somebody trying to create news.”
First-year Auburn coach Gene Chizik criticized the hunt for the lone dissenting vote, saying he didn’t want ballots for the preseason team to become an annual issue when media disagreed with the results. He then told questioner that he in fact did vote for Tim Tebow.
Tebow himself made light of the situation saying it, “won’t be something I think about much.”
Meyer laughed at the suggestion that Tebow’s missing vote, which turned out to be temporary, would motivate his star player.
“Whoever asks that question doesn’t know Tim,” Meyer said.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal