Gator bashing heats up in wake of Tebow injury

Well, that didn’t take long.

The news that Tim Tebow got knocked out of Saturday night’s game with the University of Kentucky Wildcats quickly morphed into a raging debate into whether Coach Urban Meyer should have had him in the game. By Sunday morning the talking heads on ESPN were taking sides on whether Meyer was trying to get Tebow some padded stats to help in a potential quest for the Heisman Trophy.

I’m not sure that’s a reasonable argument and actually Mitch Albom had the best counter argument that few coaches would be willing to sit down their starting quarterback in the 3rd quarter. Most coaches want to make darn sure that the game is completely in hand before they let up. The one thing a football head coach does not want to hear is that they let another team time to get back into the game. Bob Ryan countered that since Tebow was already ill Meyer should have taken him out at the first opportunity.

But this debate is only getting revved up and you can expect wall to wall coverage of  Tebow in the next few days. Other websites are already buzzing about whether or not Meyer made a mistake – and speculating that Tebow will not make it back in time for the Gators clash with LSU on Oct. 10. So far I’m surprised that Deadspin has covered it very straight forward so far.

All of this, however, is a reminder of the one undeniable downside to Meyer’s offense: It leaves the quarterback vulnerable to getting hit. Most of the time fans have marveled at Tebow’s ability to take a pounding and keep going. But it’s no secret that Tebow has been repeatedly gotten banged up in the process, although this is his first known concussion.

For the record, my speculation that the Gators would lose in the next few weeks was not based on some premonition that Tebow would get knocked out. But it was based on the premise that defenses are beginning to key on the Heisman Trophy winner more and more in an effort to slow down the spread offense. Despite losing to the Gators, Tennessee showed that mixing up blitzes and changing defensive schemes could at least slow down the Gators attack.

The saving grace for the Gators, however, remains that no one they have played so far has been able to move the ball against them. And regardless of whether Tebow can return, that will be the key to whether or not the Gators beat LSU.

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