Spurrier Solves Tebow Mystery
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - Steve Spurrier cleared up the biggest
mystery at Southeastern Conference media days: How Tim Tebow got
left off a preseason All-SEC ballot.
Spurrier said Friday that South Carolina's director of football
operations Jamie Speronis filled out the ballot in his stead and
voted for Mississippi's Jevan Snead.
The other coaches picked Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner two
"We screwed it up pretty badly," said Spurrier, who approved
the ballot. "I'm embarrassed about it. I feel bad about it."
Spurrier said he has apologized to Tebow and that the SEC has
let him amend the ballot to add Tebow. The vote totals have been
changed on the league Web site.
The former Florida coach and quarterback - also a Heisman winner
- called Tebow the best football player in the country. He said
Tebow and ex-Gator Danny Wuerffel might go down as the two best
quarterbacks in college football history.
Spurrier said he has never filled out a preseason All-SEC ballot
"I haven't done that in 17 years," Spurrier said. "I usually
look it over and I sign off on it. I did a poor job of looking it
over this year."
Tracking down the lone coach to pick Mississippi's Jevan Snead
was a weeklong question.
Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin even brought his ballot to the stage
with him and showed it to an SEC staffer, who confirmed his Tebow
pick. He said he had help filling out the ballot, "but I was
obviously a big part of it."
Still, Spurrier's explanation raised questions about whether
coaches fill out their own Top 25 ballots during the season.
Spurrier said he looks over his "a lot more thoroughly" than
preseason All-SEC teams.
He said he remains an advocate of coaches releasing their
LSU's Les Miles said sports information director Michael
Bonnette, after an "over-the-phone conversation," filled out his
preseason All-SEC ballot, but that he fills out his own Top 25 in
the coaches poll with some help.
BERRY, BERRY GOOD: Eric Berry says being promoted by Tennessee
for the Heisman Trophy is "pretty cool," but that he won't let it
go to his head.
"Just hearing that they wanted to push the campaign for me,
that made me feel very good," the All-America safety said. "I
really love the UT staff for doing that. I was all for it. It's
pretty cool. I like it."
The junior led the Football Bowl Subdivision with seven
interceptions last season and his 487 return yards on picks is only
15 shy of the NCAA career record.
But Berry said he still approaches the season "like I'm a
freshman trying to earn a spot."
The only defensive player ever to win a Heisman was Michigan
defensive back Charles Woodson, who coincidentally beat out Vols
quarterback Peyton Manning 12 years ago.
"That would be cool being put in the same category as Charles
Woodson," Berry said. "I'd rather be put in the same category as
USC or Florida and win the national championship and the SEC
LSU'S REDEMPTION: LSU coach Les Miles said new coordinator John
Chavis will have a big impact on the defense. He expects the
offense to improve with quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson - the
front-runner to start - and Jarrett Lee both having some more
As result, Miles is expecting much better results than last
season's 3-5 Southeastern Conference record - and he knows Tiger
fans are too.
"Eight victories and a bowl win was not enough," Miles said.
"Our football team's a little more wanting, a little more
ambitious. I think that's spilled into the preparation in the
Linebacker Jacob Cutrera said Chavis, a longtime Tennessee
defensive coordinator, has brought more intensity to a defense that
had uncharacteristic struggles last season. Wanting to erase last
year has helped, too.
"In my four years here, we haven't had a spring like we had
this spring," Cutrera said. "Every practice was so juiced up, so
amped up. I think we'll carry over that into the fall."
At quarterback, Jefferson is listed atop the depth chart after
directing the bowl win.
"He's bigger and stronger than he has been," Miles said. "In
my opinion, the experience that he had in his true freshman year
will benefit him tremendously."
AUBURN QBS: Auburn coach Gene Chizik said the quarterback battle
is wide open going into preseason camp.
"It's muddied right now, but obviously the guys who are going
to have an advantage are guys who had (practice) reps in the
spring," Chizik said.
That likely means juniors Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle, who had
emerged ahead of redshirt freshman Barrett Trotter before Trotter
tore a knee ligament in practice. Chris Todd could re-enter the
picture if the nagging shoulder problems that sidelined him during
the spring are sufficiently improved.
Chizik said the status of Trotter - along with other injured
players Mike McNeil and Aairon Savage - is still uncertain. He also
shed little light on receiver Tim Hawthorne, who hurt an ankle
during the summer.
Chizik said receiver Montez Billings will definitely play in the
fall, but that they are still working out some issues. Billings
missed the spring due to academics, though he graduated in May.
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