Monday, July 27, 2009

A shift in Spurrier's demeanor

I think we can all agree that the whole search to find out who didn't vote Tebow as the preseason 1st team all SEC was completely insane. Maybe it's just me but I don't have a memory for things like "Who's first team All-whatever", preseason rankings, and things of that nature. I first took note of it when I read the Sun-Sentinel afterthought that three players were unanimous selections, and Tebow wasn't on the list. I was actually amused. Knowing that coaches can't vote for their own players I thought maybe some renegade coach threw their guy on the list, or maybe Les Miles because Snead led the Rebels to a W against LSU last year, or maybe Lane Kiffin for obvious reasons. I thought the story was dead until SEC Media Days when the press decided to make public a stupid private ballot. Before Steve fessed up I thought maybe he had been the one and he decided to vote for Snead just to needle the UF contingent. Seems like a subtle, unimportant opportunity to be a wise ass. Who knows. But I wasn't prepared for his reaction (see Pat Dooley's article).

I don't recall ever seeing Steve backtrack like this. There are different levels of "coming out with it" and I couldn't foresee this as a possibility". More likely responses would have included (read the following in a Spurrier voice):

  • "Well, Tim Tebow is a fine football player, but he does lots of good things besides throw the football, and figured well....Jevon Snead can certainly throw it pretty good, so I'll put him as my first team quarterback"
  • "I just figured Tim Tebow would get all the votes, and I thought Snead deserved some attention"
  • "My assistant fills those things out and I guess he thinks Snead deserved to be a first teamer".

I wouldn't have bet any amount of money that the response would be a shame filled speech that included phrases such as

  • "I didn't sleep worth a damn last night"
  • "I'm embarrassed"
  • "I apologize"
  • "I went to Commissioner Slive and changed my vote, so no he's unanimous"

Seriously, this isn't the 2001 and prior Steve Spurrier. What gives? He's never caved to this type of scrutiny before, so why do it now for something so stupid?

I think the best possible explanation is that he's concerned about how people perceive him in Florida. When Steve left for the Redskins he was the face of Florida football, for all of time. Before last season, I don't think anyone would have said any differently. But Urban and Timmy have certainly moved up on that list pretty fast and maybe Steve felt that by not genuflecting at the alter of Tim Tebow it would paint him in a somewhat jealous light (which isn't good). Who knows?

I think Steve has always been proud of his accomplishments, and has enjoyed being the figurehead of the program so to speak. He probably has some regrets about leaving, and is disappointed in how things went when Bernie Machen asked him for a resume when Jeremy Foley was interviewing candidates to replace Zooker. He obviously is glad for the success of the program, but in the last few years it has come at the expense of his own success, so there has to be some conflicting emotions there. He put himself in that position though.

It's just strange to see him behaving like this.

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