Six Pack of Observations: Alabama crushes Florida in SEC title game

Here are six quick-hit observations for Alabama’s 32-13 shellacking of Florida in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game.

1. Maybe Lane Kiffin had it right after all.
Maybe that brash Lane Kiffin had it right when he said earlier this week that, “Florida has better players, and Alabama has better coaches.” And actually, Kiffin only had it half right. Nick Saban outschemed, outcoached and outsmarted Urban Meyer for four quarters and not only did ‘Bama have the better coaches, but they proved to have the better players as well. Meyer simply didn’t have his team prepared to play today – period.

2. This was total domination at its best.
The game wasn’t even as close as the final score wound indicate. Alabama’s backfield trio of quarterback Greg McElroy (12-of-18 passing, 239 yards, 1 TD) and running backs Mark Ingram (113 yards, 3 TDs) and Trent Richardson (80 yards on 11 carries, 7.3 YPC average) played near-flawless games. The Tide dominated the Gators in every phase of the contest and never let up after smacking Florida in the mouth from the very first drive.

3. So much for Florida’s game plan.
Coming into the game, pundits figured that if Florida stopped Ingram that the Gators come out victorious. But instead, Alabama’s game plan to stay balanced was executed to perfection because not only were the Gators unable to stop Ingram, but they were unable to stop McElroy too. Florida tried a variety of different looks and in the end they just had no answer for what the Tide was doing offensively. And it really didn’t even matter that defensive end Carlos Dunlap (who was suspended after arrested for DUI earlier in the week) didn’t play because Florida just had the wrong scheme.

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Dungy thinks Tebow should be a high first round pick

Tony Dungy made some interesting comments on the Dan Patrick show today, including how Florida quarterback Tim Tebow should be drafted high in the first round.

From SI.com:

Dungy also had interesting comments on Tim Tebow. Dungy loves winners. He thinks Charlie Ward would have been a great NFL quarterback because he won at every level. Dungy said that Tebow is like that. He just wins, and that will translate to the NFL.
Dungy said if he ran St. Louis, he’d draft Tebow high in the first round. “Franchise quarterbacks are hard to fine, and I believe in this guy,” Dungy said.

Dan asked Dungy if Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Jake Locker and Jimmy Clausen were available, would he take Tebow over all of them. Dungy said yes, he’d take Tebow.

Far be it for me to question a man of Dungy’s stature, but Tebow isn’t a high first round prospect. I know he’s won at Florida, but he’s also had some of the best talent in the country around him, so it wasn’t all him. Tebow isn’t a prototypical drop back passer – he’s a battering ram built for the Wildcat or maybe even the H-back position.

Some Gator fans argue that Tebow can make all the throws at the next level. I disagree. He might be able to make all of the throws some of the time at the collegiate level, but he’s not a guy that is going to take a seven step drop and complete a 10-yard out route without having the defensive back jump it for a pick six. He just isn’t.

That said, Tebow is one hell of a football player and there is a place for him in professional football. I would think that a team would take a shot on him in the third round and use him in a variety of ways. But he certainly isn’t a franchise quarterback like Dungy is suggesting. Not in my humble opinion anyway.

Can Tim Tebow be an NFL quarterback? Vol. II

I wrote in early October how Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports didn’t think Tim Tebow could be an NFL quarterback.

Matt Hinton of YAHOO! Sports disagrees:

Tim TebowForget about yards, touchdowns, pointless awards, running up the score and the myth that Tebow is just a running quarterback in a college offense: Tebow has NFL size and a first-rate temperament; is extremely mobile (duh); has completed two-thirds of his passes, finished in the top three nationally in touchdown percentage and yards per attempt and put up historically high pass efficiency ratings two years in a row; had the second-lowest interception rate and best TD:INT ratio in the nation this year; and has been consistently deadly on deep throws (as if they still threw deep in the NFL) — in two years, Florida has completed 65 passes of at least 25 yards, or 2.5 per game. He’s led the highest-scoring offense in the SEC two years in a row and is on the verge of winning a second mythical championship in three years. Obviously, his career aspiration is Frank Wycheck.

Again, I completely believe the gurus when they say Tebow won’t be a first-round pick. This is their job. It is the most counterintuitive job anywhere. My problem is this: The questions that surround Tebow re: his ability to read defenses and adjust to the pro game apply to every college quarterback making the transition. If Tebow hasn’t answered them enough to even project as a quarterback at the next level, then my god, who has?

Tebow is such a great athlete that I wouldn’t put it past him to make the jump as an NFL quarterback, but there seem to be some question marks about his release and like the article points out, whether or not he can read a pro defense. (But that’s every young quarterback.)

You can’t blame teams for being ultra-conservative and picky when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. There have been so many cases of failure that no team wants to be the one that wastes a pick a player when the warning signs were there from the start. But again, Tebow is such a good athlete that he might be worth the risk.

Can Tim Tebow be an NFL quarterback?

Last year, Florida QB Tim Tebow became the first underclassmen to ever win the Heisman Trophy. His blend of size and athleticism make him one of the best football players in college football.

But is he an NFL quarterback? Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports doesn’t think so.

Meyer isn’t screwing up Tim Tebow. While it’s true that Meyer’s spread offense isn’t conducive to producing an NFL quarterback — how has 2005 No. 1 pick Alex Smith panned out? — it’s also true that Tebow doesn’t have what it takes to play that position in the NFL. Not if his coach was Urban Meyer. Not if his coach was Pete Carroll. Not if his coach was David Cutcliffe, Norm Chow or Grantland Freaking Rice.

Now then, a slight digression. If the NFL continues its meandering toward the single wing, with direct snaps to versatile backs, Tebow could have a future. So could Vince Young, for that matter. Because Tebow can take a shotgun snap and make a decision and then run or pass or hand the ball to someone else. He can do that.

What he can’t do is drop back five or seven steps and throw a 30-yard laser with pinpoint accuracy. He can’t, and it’s not because Urban Meyer won’t let him do it. It’s because his genetics won’t.

Again, don’t misunderstand this column. Larry Bird couldn’t jump. Manny Ramirez can’t catch. Deion Sanders couldn’t tackle. Those are still great players, great talents.

Same with Tebow. Great player. Possibly even a great NFL player. I can see him at tight end or fullback. Maybe linebacker. And I can see him being some team’s third-string quarterback, good enough to run the scout team and provide behind-the-scenes leadership and mentoring. But start at quarterback in the NFL? Sorry. I can’t see that.

What I see is a great college quarterback who can complete a high percentage of the (mostly easy) passes Meyer asks him to throw. I see a quarterback who can run for tough yardage. I see an inspirational leader whose quotes after the loss to Ole Miss had me fired up to hit somebody.

But I don’t see an NFL quarterback. Never have, never will, and it has nothing to do with Urban Meyer and everything to do with the fabulous athlete with the average arm named Vince Young Tim Tebow.

I’m not an NFL scout, but I agree with Doyel on his assessment. Tebow is going to have a future in the NFL because he’s a tremendous athlete. But he’s not a true NFL quarterback in the sense that he’s going to be able to dissect a defense and run a traditional pro-style offense. Some team will probably draft him a round or two higher than he should go, but he should still have an impact at the next level because simply put, the kid can play football. If I were Tebow, I’d stay at Florida as long as possible and give pro teams plenty of time to evaluate his skill set and figure out how it translates into the NFL.


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