I guess it's to be expected. Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has won two national championships in three years. That was his Heisman Trophy on display just outside the media rooms on the second floor of the Wynfrey Hotel this afternoon. By all accounts, he's a great kid of unassailable character. So why wouldn't he dominate the conversation on the opening day of SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama?
But can he make men cry?
Actually, yeah. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, who coached Tebow at Florida before taking the gig at Starkville, actually choked up while responding to a reporter's request (which was likely tongue-in-cheek) for a little off the field dirt on the umblemished Tebow:
Dirt off the field? I'll say this about Tim Tebow, if you do get the opportunity to meet him, spend time with him, he's one of the most unique people in the world. I probably have more respect for him than anybody I've ever met. Just an amazing kid. Just an amazing kid. He taught me a very valuable lesson in life: if you can make an impact on someone's life, it's your obligation to do that. And he is one of the most amazing young people out there.
It was that last bit that got caught in the throat on its way out. That my computer gave me the blue screen of death right in the middle of it is some sort of sign. What it means, I have no idea, but it was obviously responding to the emotion in the room. It's sensitive that way.
As far as I know, no other computer-crashing tears were shed on Day One in Hoover, but there was more than enough fawning over Tebow to make up for it. Whether it was Mullen refusing to acknowledge any weaknesses in Tebow's game, Kentucky Wildcats head coach Rich Brooks saying Tebow is "maybe one of the best - or "the" best - college football player that's ever played the game," or Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino saying that there's "no question" Tebow will be successful in the NFL because he "is a great leader, is a great competitor, and is a proven winner," the consensus seems to be that Tim Tebow is worthy of all of the accolades heaped upon him.
But not everyone in the SEC loves Tim Tebow the most. One head coach dared to vote for someone other than Tebow for the Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team. Most immediately suspected Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin, but Kiffin has already denied doing it. Today, coaches Petrino, Johnson, Mullen, and Brooks all denied it as well:
Q. Could you disclose who you voted for for quarterback for the all SEC team?Q. Would you mind saying who you voted for the first team all conference quarterback?
COACH MULLEN: I was going to start with that statement right there. Believe it or not, I voted for Tim Tebow. Probably surprise for a lot of guys. I have a lot of respect for him. I think he's a heck of a player (laughter).
COACH BROOKS: You guys are going to try to narrow it down to get somebody to spill their guts? How could I not vote for Tim Tebow? We couldn't stop him the last few years. I voted the other guy second. It isn't me. I'm not the guy. Good luck in your search (laughter).
Q. Do you mind disclosing who you voted for, for quarterback for the all-SEC team?
COACH JOHNSON: Tim Tebow. I don't know if y'all are going to find the culprit who didn't vote. You could tell him it wasn't me (smiling).
Q. Did you vote for Tim Tebow first team quarterback?
COACH PETRINO: I'm not crazy (smiling). I probably did, yeah.
Sure, Petrino is equivocating a bit. That "I'm not crazy" line could mean that he's not crazy enough to admit it. Saying he "probably did," is also obviously ambiguous, but he did end with "yeah," so put this in the denial category. That leaves Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Houston Nutt, Gene Chizik, Steve Spurrier, and Les Miles. If Friday ends with 11 denials, someone will have lied, and suspicion will likely circle back to Lane Kiffin.
Whatever the case, it is undisputed that Tim Tebow continues to have an absolutely huge effect on the SEC. He can make you cry tears of admiration, speak words of adulation, and cover your butt with fabrication. Yeah, the NFL shouldn't be a problem for someone who can do all of that.