January 05, 2010
Until this year, the notion that Tim Tebow might not be a viable quarterback prospect at the next level -- at the same that guys like Josh Freeman, Kellen Clemens and Tarvaris Jackson are coveted as first-day draft picks -- has been utterly mystifying from the college perspective. As an amateur, Tebow has had basically no big flaws: He has NFL size, he can run, he took his team to championships and (contrary to his reputation as a big fullback in the pocket) he finished in the top four nationally in pass efficiency all three years as a starter, with 83 touchdown passes at the head of attacks that led the conference in total offense all three years. Even this year, as Tebow's numbers were down and the Gators noticeably leaned on the defense in their biggest games, he finished again as the nation's second-most efficient passer on a unit that managed to land in the top 10 in both yards and points per game.
And yet, as ex-Ravens head coach and veteran NFL hand Brian Billick demonstrated from the Fox booth during garbage time of Florida's merciless blowout of Cincinnati on Saturday night, all the scouts see in one of the most dominant college players of his generation is The Sweeping Motion:
It was an ironic moment, a broadcaster slicing up a legendary college player in the midst of what was already the most dominating performance of his career -- moments later, Billick unfavorably contrasted Tebow's motion with the much more technically sound, quicker release of Cincinnati's Tony Pike, whose team at that point had gone three-and-out on four of six possessions and been outgained 425 yards to 67 -- but it does stand as the most concrete, thorough critique most college fans have seen of The Sweeping Motion that's dogged Tebow's prospects for the last two years. (It's the most concete critique that I've seen, anyway, especially during a Florida broadcast, which is usually filled with announcers -- most notably Billick's partner, Thom Brennaman, during last year's BCS title game -- doing their best rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus" when Tebow is on the field.) And it still ended with Florida scoring its fifth touchdown less than five minutes into the second half, so make of it what you will.