Sam Wyche, Tim Tebow fan
Posted Feb. 24 at 07:20 PM
A lot of us whose formative years as NFL fans were the 1980s have a fondness for Sam Wyche. His innovations included extensive use of the no-huddle offense with the Bengals, who he coached to one of their two Super Bowl appearances. His rivalry with Oilers coach Jerry Glanville and reprimanding of Bengals fans who were throwing objects onto the field ("You don't live in Cleveland!") added color to a sometimes dull coaching fraternity.
In recent years the 65-year-old Wyche has worked as both a quarterbacks coach and in broadcasting; he's still fairly close to the game. So it is worth noting that even if relatively few observers seem to believe that Florida's Tim Tebow will be a successful NFL quarterback, Wyche is one of them.
""If this guy can't be a starting quarterback in the NFL," says Wyche, in an interview in The St. Petersburg Times, "then I was in the wrong profession for a lot of years."
Tebow was a star at Florida, of course, winning a Heisman Trophy and helping the team win two National Championships. But there are a lot of questions about his ability to play quarterback at the NFL level, given Florida's unconventional spread offense and the fact that Tebow's running ability was such a huge part of his success. At Florida he typically operated out of the shotgun, and his inexperience taking snaps from under center showed during practices at the Senior Bowl.
Tebow also has an odd throwing style, one he's now working to change. That decision makes sense, but it's a pretty dramatic transition to be making at this point in his football career. Many feel his talents in the NFL will best translate as an H-back or perhaps a Wildcat quarterback -- not the kind of player to use a high draft pick on.
Wyche, however, spent two days working with Tebow recently, helping him correct those questionable throwing mechanics. And he believes Tebow has the talent and intelligence to prove a lot of critics wrong.
"Would I draft him?" Wyche said. "Absolutely. Sure. If he's not taken early, somebody is going to be called a genius for taking him wherever he goes."
Tebow won't throw at this week's combine, but he will at Florida's Pro Day in mid-March. How he performs there will likely have a big impact on where he'll be drafted in April.
It's unlikely that Tebow will be a first-round pick, but those suggesting he won't go before the third round are underestimating NFL decision-makers willingness to roll the dice on talent. I think some team will spend a second-rounder on him and try to develop him as a quarterback. Who knows? Maybe they'll even give Wyche a call.
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