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Last word (for now) on the Meyer-Tebow criticisms

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As it turns out, we’re not the only ones who think that Florida coach Urban Meyer has left quarterback Tim Tebow woefully unprepared to maximize his football skills at the next level. But, of course, not everyone agrees with this take -- primarily those who think that a shade of blue slightly darker than the clear sky actually looks good with orange.

The Gator-dedicated blog at the Palm Beach Post attempts to respond to complaint regarding the reality that Tebow’s Senior Bowl performances nearly resulted in the deployment of a large hook and/or the banging of a large gong. Now, with Tebow finally trying to do that which Meyer should have been teaching him to do over the course of four full years, Tebow won’t dare to unveil his new quarterback mechanics until tries to unlearn a career of bad habits.

In roughly six weeks.

Ben Volin of the Gator Bytes blog articulates three simple, yet flawed, arguments in response to the criticism from folks like yours truly, Mike Golic, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, and Joe Theismann. (The only other thing on which I ever have agreed with Golic is the quality of some of the products of one of his sponsors.) First, Volin says that Meyer hired a pro-style quarterback in 2009 to help Tebow with his mechanics. Second, Volin points out that NCAA rules limit the number of hours that Tebow can spend fixing his mechanics. Third, Volin explains that Tebow didn’t want to change his mechanics in 2009 for fear of hurting Florida’s chances of winning a national title.

(Insert video of dog chasing tail . . . . here.)

In other words, the Gators wanted to fix Tebow’s motion so they hired a guy to help him fix it. But they didn’t want to really fix it because it might have screwed up his ability to not beat Alabama. And they didn’t have enough time to fix it, anyway.

To fully assess the legitimacy of these pro-Meyer arguments from an openly pro-Gator blog, we’d have to compare Tebow’s throwing motion in 2008 and 2009. Frankly, however, we can’t imagine it being any worse before the pro-style quarterbacks coach showed up.

Our criticism of Meyer focuses not on 2009 but on 2006, 2007, and 2008 as well. How could Meyer attend practice every day and not realize that Tebow’s long, slow, looping motion both gives defensive ends a chance to pluck a low-hanging, county-fair winning grapefruit and sends out in Morse code to defensive backs detailed instructions for pulling a Tracy Porter?

Reliance on the limits on the amount of time that the coaches can spend with players is misleading. Away from the facility, college football players spend plenty of time addressing nuances on their own. Punters, for example, routinely walk around their apartments working on perfecting the drop of the ball, an underrated but critical aspect of consistently launching a strong kick.

If someone had merely bothered to tell Tebow that his throwing motion made Byron Leftwich look like Dan Marino, Tebow would have tried to change it, especially since he claims to have such a strong work ethic. But apart from the excuses now being tendered, no one ever told him about the most glaring problem with this throwing motion. As Tebow said on Monday, “I’ve never been asked to shorten or quicken my release and not have a loop in it.”

Maybe the deeper message here is that Meyer didn’t try to change Tebow’s motion because Meyer concluded that he couldn’t do it, or that it wouldn’t take. Or maybe Meyer knew that his team had sufficient across-the-board talent to overcome Tebow’s flaws. Either way, Tebow now has a real problem, Meyer deserves criticism because of it, and Volin has now ensured that he’ll have a better seat and/or a bigger hot dog in the Gainesville press box.