June Jones’ Comments about Tim Tebow

First, a video:

Jones went on to clarify his remarks here.

This is my interpretation of what happened:

June Jones finally got a chance to do a live interview on ESPN during a time when people on the East Coast are still awake and watching. He wanted to make the best case he could for his guy, Colt Brennan, to win the Heisman Trophy, so he did what everyone else has done in 2007: put Brennan in terms of Tim Tebow. He compared his guy to the front runner for the award and said Brennan is better. How he made that case was from the start bound to cause confusion.

You see, in the college football world, the spread offense is commonplace and there’s nothing unusual about it. It is considered to be a normal part of the landscape. June Jones however is first and foremost an NFL guy, so when he evaluates football he looks at both the NFL and college. The spread has not been tried in the NFL, so for him it goes alongside the triple option, the Nebraska power option, and other college-only systems. For an NFL guy, an offense has to work in both college and the NFL to be a valid offense and not a “system” that manufactures good stats due to scheme rather than talent and technique of the quarterback. Because of this mindset, Tim Tebow is a “system quarterback” for running the spread.

Now, June Jones implemented the Run & Shoot offense at Hawaii, which he also ran in the NFL while coaching the Atlanta Falcons from 1994 – 1996. His argument is that because Colt Brennan has proven himself in Jones’ NFL offense, then Brennan could run any offense and therefore is a better pro prospect than Tebow is. Also, because Brennan is the better pro prospect, he is plain and simple a better quarterback and should win the Heisman Trophy. Remember: in an NFL guy’s mind, anything that is NFL-related is automatically better than anything solely college-related. Tebow runs a college-only scheme, so he is not as good as the pro-offense running Brennan.

There are two glaring problems with Jones’ statements, though. First, he says Tebow is not a natural passer due to a lack of accuracy and not being able “to make all the throws” required by his offense. I find it overwhelmingly unlikely that Jones has had time to break down tape on Tebow, and due to time zone differences and just plain being busy because he’s a coach, its just as unlikely that he’s seen Florida play a full game. He’s probably only seen highlights of Tim’s play. That’s unfortunate because the majority of his highlights this year are of his runs, not his throws, because it’s his running style that makes him unique from any other QB. If Jones had seen Tebow play all year, he’d know that Tebow has made every throw in the book, from screen passes all the way up to 50-yard bombs. He’s stuck on the old “Tebow can’t throw” theme, and he hasn’t had the chance to see enough of Florida to know it’s not true.

The “inaccurate” comment is completely inexcusable when it’s easy to look up that Tim Tebow has a better passer rating than Colt Brennan himself does. Plus, Tebow faces much more difficult defenses week in and week out. Boise State and Hawaii going to a BCS game in consecutive seasons does a great job at disguising the fact that the rest of the WAC is really, very, extremely, deplorably bad. Take out the top two and you’ve got the Sun Belt west.

The second glaring weakness is his implied assertion that the Run & Shoot is a legit NFL offense. As far as I can tell, only two teams actually ran it in the NFL: the early 1990s Houston Oilers and Jones’ Atlanta teams. Other franchises have done no-huddle or other fast-paced schemes, but those two teams are it for the actual Run & Shoot. Those teams never made it to even a conference title game much less the Super Bowl, and the offense hasn’t been used again since Jones’ firing by Atlanta due to it not employing the running back enough. Jones’ final NFL record was 19-29. At best, the Run & Shoot was an experiment run by two head coaches (Jerry Glanville and Jones) that was discredited for a lacking a sufficient running game and not having enough blocking. In other words it’s no West Coast Offense, something that has been employed in the NFL consistently for more than 20 years.

Jones did backtrack from his initial comments some, saying that Tebow is a great QB who will likely win the Heisman and probably a national title as well. However, he continued, Tebow is productive by doing things that can’t be done in the NFL, whereas his guy Colt Brennan is the “best passer in college history.” While that’s true if you look at the record book, Jones should also look at the guys Brennan has been passing up: Andre Ware, David Klingler, Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, and the like. Owning records in college is an awful predictor of NFL success, especially when you consider that Jones’ and Brennan’s Run & Shoot is what Ware, Klingler and (more or less) Mike Leach’s Texas Tech guys (Kingsbury and Symons) ran in college. You should also note that when pressed on the issue, Jones bases his evaluation of Tebow more on how Alex Smith is performing with the 49ers than anything Tebow has actually done at Florida.

In the end what we have here is someone seeking to promote his player by denigrating another. We also have an NFL supremacist taking a shot at the spread offense, despite the fact that his own “pro-style” offense hasn’t been run in the NFL for over a decade. We also have someone asking for 70+ points to be scored on him come August 30, 2008. Perhaps when Tebow levels his linebackers, June Jones will understand why Tebow is such a special player as a runner. And maybe, just maybe, as he watches Tebow connect with Percy Harvin on a 70 yard touchdown pass he’ll realize a year behind the rest of the country that hey, this kid can throw after all.

UPDATE: Tebow responds with humor, Jones backtracks, and Bob Griese talks some sense.

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18 Responses to June Jones’ Comments about Tim Tebow

  1. hotoffthepress says:

    Visit Heisman Watch on the ESPN web site and you’ll find descriptions of nine fantastic college football players, six of whom are quarterbacks. Missing from the list, however, is one player who, by any standard of measurement, should also be included as a serious candidate for the award. That player is Sam Bradford.

    As a redshirt freshman, he lead the Oklahoma Sooners to an 11-2 finish, capped by a sound 38-17 thrashing of then-top rated Missouri, a Big 12 Conference title and an opportunity to play #9 West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.

    A look at the quarterbacks stats page on ESPN shows Bradford finished the season as the highest-rated passer (180.5) in Division 1, in part, by completing a best-in-the-nation 70.1 percent of his passes. But that’s not all:

    Bradford also set an NCAA record for touchdown passes (34) by a freshman;

    Only three top 10 quarterbacks — Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell (45), Tulsa’s Paul Smith (42) and Hawaii’s Colt Brennan (38) — threw more TDs than Bradford; and

    Bradford’s team lost only one game (Colorado, 27-24) in which he played more than three plays. In a Nov. 17 loss to Texas Tech (34-27), he suffered a concussion on OU’s first play from scrimmage and had to leave the game soon after.

    To some, it might seem Bradford is following in the footsteps of former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. Now setting records as a Minnesota Viking in the NFL, Peterson finished second in the Heisman Trophy after a remarkable freshman season during which he gained 1925 yards and led the nation in carries with 339.

    The difference, however, is this: Thanks to sites like ESPN’s Heisman Watch, it seems as if Bradford isn’t even receiving consideration alongside quarterbacks like Florida’s Tim Tebow, West Virginia’s Pat White, Brennan and, most importantly, Missouri’s Chase Daniel, whom the Sooners QB defeated and outplayed twice.

    When awards like this are given based on popularity and marketing ability rather than performance and talent, the trophy begins to appear tarnished.

  2. year2 says:

    Wow. I think you just wrote a full blog post in my comment box, and I’m not sure why you picked this post to do post it. Also, Bradford didn’t have the highest completion percentage, Colt Brennan did at 71.4%, so you might want to fact check your treatises in the future.

    If you really need to know why Bradford isn’t as high up on the list than some of the other guys, then I don’t know if I can help you. For one, Bradford didn’t hit 3,000 yards passing, which is pretty much a requirement for a drop back passer to be considered for the Heisman. All else aside, he didn’t hit 3,000 yards. He’ll be a candidate next year for sure, but not this year.

  3. Dore Devil says:

    My first reaction when I saw Jones’ comments Sunday evening was now I can’t wait for opening day in Gainseville next year. Before it was just going to be another ho-hum opeing game (unless they can somehow beat GA in the Sugar).

    In other news did you see the Heisman watch on ESPN.com today. The guy whose ballot they showed was Ivan Maisel. He had Tebow 4th behind Dixon, McFadden, White. I can almost understand having Tebow as 2nd but 4th just shows you are too dumb to have a vote.

  4. year2 says:

    Maisel has never liked Florida. I don’t level that accusation lightly, but in his case it’s true.

  5. Made As says:

    Either you are too young to remember or you are suffering a serious brain fart.

    The NFL has had the spread offense. It was called the “Run & Gun” or about a 1/2 dozen other names. But the concept is the same as the spread offense today. Used mostly in the 70’s and early 80’s. The reason it didn’t stay is because the QB’s were getting killed!!!. Defenses were more than willing to let the QB throw as long as their D-lineman could smack the QB. Defenese would blitz 6 & 7 guys, hurt the QB, end of game and story. Seriously, go back and watch some NFL film from that time. It was the same 4 wide spread that colleges are using today, sometimes 5 wide. Probably what will happen to the spread in college, just keep hiting the QB until he can’t get up.

  6. […] monolith, a game-changer, a friend to the well-endowed. So when I saw Hawaii coach June Jones (via Year 2 via FanHouse) hating on Tebow, I didn’t know what to […]

  7. year2 says:

    Too young. I was born in 1985. But the point still stands – no one has tried the Run & Shoot since Jones was fired in 1996. Even the pass-happy Greatest Show on Turf had Marshall Faulk rushing for 1,300+ yards a season.

    I would imagine though that those ’70s and ’80 quarterbacks were not serious running threats, the element that separates the current spread option/zone read offense from the Run & Shoot and other fast-paced, pass-heavy offenses. The main problem of the Run & Shoot was a lack of a running game; the spread has no such issue. After all, Florida’s offense under Meyer calls more running plays than it does passing. Plus, the spread option is heavily based on having speed at every skill position, a philosophy used by the 1999-2001 Rams to score 500+ points a season and make it to 2 Super Bowls, and that was without the threat of running by the QB.

    The way you get around the blitz is with quick screens and slants, two hallmarks of the West Coast Offense. The ability for the quarterback to run also counteracts an aggressive, blitzing defense. Tebow has the ability to do both of those, so there’s no reason to think he automatically can’t succeed in the pros.

  8. Made As says:

    No one ever confused Kurt Warner as being a “fast” skilled position player. Everybody wants fast skill position players (receivers & running back). I would say Faulk was more of a strong, elusive back, not a pure speed guy. But defenses have also gotten much faster, ie Ray Lewis & Brian Urlacher (sp). Being a mobile QB is ceratinly a big asset and will help Tebow. But the two best QB’s in the pro’s are Manning & Brady, not exactly highly mobile QB’s or considered to be serious running threats. Screens & slants are used by any offense to slow blitzes, not just the West Coast O.

  9. year2 says:

    I doubt a pure running QB will ever succeed in the NFL. Being a mobile quarterback can work though, as evidenced by guys like Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young, John Elway, and the like. Tebow will need to learn to play like those guys if he wants to succeed in the NFL, something that Michael Vick wasn’t able to do. I’d say the jury is still out on Vince Young in that regard as well.

  10. art says:

    Bottom line for me. Tebow is an Academic All-American who spends his summers helping orphans in the Phillipines. Brennan is a doper-thug with 3 arrests (that we know of ) on his record. Here’s ONE of his arrests:

    On January 28, 2004, Brennan entered the dorm room of a University of Colorado coed uninvited and, according to the coed “exposed himself and fondled her.”[2] Brennan, who was intoxicated at the time of the incident, was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and trespassing, but a guilty verdict for unlawful sexual contact was vacated by the court for lack of evidence. [1] After the incident, which was caught up in the middle of the time when CU was flooded with other accusations of sex crimes

  11. Gatorpilot says:

    Griese didn’t talk any sense in my opinion. June Jones can brag on Brennan all he wants; he can do it without bringing up another player who has nothing to do with his guy.

    Greise *should* have had a problem with Jones’ statements as they were presented. It’s offensive, not to mention idiotic considering Tebow will win the Heisman going away.

    I also don’t agree that Tebow couldn’t run Hawaii’s system. What makes Greise think Tebow HAS to run? I’m sure he prefers to do that, but he’s obviously proven to be an exceptionally good passer against the nation’s toughest defenses. Imagine the numbers he’d put up in the MAC.

    Brennan is a good quarterback, but he’s no Tim Tebow, and Jones’ comments were classless.

  12. year2 says:

    I don’t agree with everything Griese says; I do think Tebow can run the Run & Shoot. He doesn’t have to run, but he’s far happier if he does. He’d go stir crazy in a pass-only offense and probably become less effective. Michael Jordan was a good 3-point shooter, but if you put him in an offense where that’s all he did, he wouldn’t be nearly as effective of a player. I don’t think that’s where Griese was coming from, but that’s reason I think Brennan does perform better than Tebow would in that style of offense.

    The points I really was happy to see him make were that both guys are in systems that accentuate their strengths, and that Tebow is just a sophomore while Brennan is a 5th year senior.

  13. ftballfan says:

    June Jones is a smart man. Colt Brennan slowly drifted off the Heisman radar as Hawaii’s season progressed. Now that it’s Heisman time, Jones wanted to bring Brennan back onto the radar screen to remind voters that there’s an excellent candidate way out in Hawaii. Judging from what I’ve seen so far on ESPN and these blogs, June Jones has accomplished his goal. He must be sitting back with a big grin on his face watching all the commotion . . great job….!!!!

  14. year2 says:

    Well, it worked, ftballfan, if you subscribe to the “all publicity is good publicity” theory. That might work for actors and musicians, but not in popularity contests like the Heisman race. If he had said that Brennan is not a system QB and can run any system and everything else without trying to denigrate Tebow, you’d be right. But, it was tearing down someone else that hurt his cause, and by extension, hurt Brennan’s cause.

  15. […] Year 2 seems to agree with Jesse Palmer and Jim Donnan: In the end what we have here is someone seeking to promote his player by denigrating another. We also have an NFL supremacist taking a shot at the spread offense, despite the fact that his own “pro-style” offense hasn’t been run in the NFL for over a decade. We also have someone asking for 70+ points to be scored on him come August 30, 2008. Perhaps when Tebow levels his linebackers, June Jones will understand why Tebow is such a special player as a runner. And maybe, just maybe, as he watches Tebow connect with Percy Harvin on a 70 yard touchdown pass he’ll realize a year behind the rest of the country that hey, this kid can throw after all. […]

  16. […] Year 2 seems to agree with Jesse Palmer and Jim Donnan: In the end what we have here is someone seeking to promote his player by denigrating another. We also have an NFL supremacist taking a shot at the spread offense, despite the fact that his own “pro-style” offense hasn’t been run in the NFL for over a decade. We also have someone asking for 70+ points to be scored on him come August 30, 2008. Perhaps when Tebow levels his linebackers, June Jones will understand why Tebow is such a special player as a runner. And maybe, just maybe, as he watches Tebow connect with Percy Harvin on a 70 yard touchdown pass he’ll realize a year behind the rest of the country that hey, this kid can throw after all. […]

  17. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  18. Jonathonjp says:

    favorited this one, brother

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