Friday, September 16, 2011

Tebow's High School Coach Speaks Up

One of Tim Tebow's high school coaches addresses the Bronco faithful in defense of Tebow.
 Dear Broncos fans,

I apologize for the length of this letter, but these facts need to be known. My name is Adam Hartle and I was the RB's coach at Nease HS in 2003 (Timmy's sophomore year) under head coach Craig Howard. He transferred to Nease from another high school because he wasn't given the opportunity to compete at the QB position in game play because of perceived mechanical issues (recurring theme as you will see). My first day on the job I hadn't quite learned all our players/coaches names yet, so when practice was over and all the coaches gathered to watch film util about 11:00 pm, I assumed the 6-3 200 pound man-child sitting next to me was a young assistant coach. Turns out it was our 15 year old QB. If the coaches were watching film until midnight, Timmy was watching film until midnight- and then he'd take the tape home and get up early and watch it again before his school work began. During workouts Timmy was the strongest kid in the weightroom. His workout partners consisted of O-linemen. Anyone who's ever coached football at any level knows how rare it is that the QB is the strongest kid on the team let alone a sophomore- Timmy was both. Coach Howard would say to me, "Adam I don't care how long you coach, you'll never see one better than that young man" and he was exactly right. What makes Timmy so great is his ability to raise the level of play of his teammates. Prior to Timmy's arrival at Nease HS there were 10 losing seasons in a row and only 2 kids were signed to play college football. During Tebow's 3 years over 25 kids were signed to play college football and they won a state championship. He fights so hard for every play and expects nothing less from his teammates.

(Here's a link to the halftime speech he gives to his teammates during Florida's BCS championship win over Sam Bradford's Sooners. Notice the change in demeanor of his teammates from when he begins to when he's done):

No one can rally a locker room like Tim Tebow. You guys have no idea what you got sitting on the sidelines.

During the 2004 season (Timmy's junior year of high school), I was fortunate enough to get a full time job on the coaching staff at the University of Florida as the game analysis coordinator (what you NFL'ers call quality control). It was a tumultuous season in which our staff (Coach Zook) was fired. I was fortunate enough to make a good impression on Coach Meyer and was one of the few who survived the transition and kept my job for the 2005 season. As you can imagine I was quick to tell Urban all about this stud QB recruit up in Jacksonville. Coming from Utah, he was unaware of Timmy. His OC, Dan Mullen was pushing for another recruit, Jevan Snead out of Texas as our top QB target. There were many arguments behind closed recruiting meeting doors. Mullen was concerned with Tebow's mechanics (I told you this was a recurring theme), and who do you think Urban listened to, his offensive coordinator he's known for 7 years or the low guy on the coaching staff totem pole he's known for 4 months? So Jevan Snead commits and it's not looking so good for the Gators. While this is happening Tebow has a senior season in which he breaks just about every QB record in Florida HS history on his way to a state championship and "Tebowmania" begins to sweep through Florida (much like now in Colorado- don't worry its a good thing because during game play its called "momemtum" and it starts with you guys-the fans). Urban realized that if the hometown hero went somewhere else and won a championship it was gonna be disastrous for him (Friendly advice Coach Fox- if Tebow wins a Super Bowl in a non-broncos jersey it will be a bad deal). So with only 1 month left before signing day we drop Snead and FINALLY make Tebow our #1 target. 1 week before signing day the Nease coaches tell me its 60% Alabama and 40% Florida. Ten minutes before he announces live on ESPN Coach Howard tells me he still hasn't made up his mind. Obviously he signed with the Gators and during his Freshman years the Gator fans grew tired of mediocrity (sound familiar Broncos) and started chanting "Tebow! Tebow!" and "we want Tebow...clap...clap...clap.clap.clap". His playing time increased each week and we went on to win the national championship. The next season Timmy became the 1st sophomore to win the Heisman, and the year after that we won the national championship again. In 105 years of Gator football we've won the national title 3 times. Tebow won 2 of those titles. Bronco fans, look at all the bad seasons you guys have had over the years when Elway wasn't your QB. Now look at all the great years when he was. It's very hard to win a Super Bowl without a great leader and Kyle Orton is not a leader. I'll take a winner with perceived "mechanics issues" any day over a corner sitter with a perfect release. It's about winning games- period. That's what Timmy does. If the situations were reversed and Timmy was the one getting booed last Monday night he wouldn't have pouted or lost his confidence. He would have owned up for the 2 turnovers and apologized. That's what winners do- they are harder on themselves than the fans could ever be, so some boos would have just rolled off his back.

(Watch his postgame speech after the only loss of the 2008 season here):

The guy refuses to lose. That's what makes him great. Winners make corrections, losers make excuses. So I guess it was the fans fault that Orton dropped the ball in the 2nd half because his feelings got hurt? Boo freakin hoo. Maybe if an offensive TD was produced in the entire 1st half the boos wouldn't have happened. Broncos nation- You guys pay good money for these players'/coaches' salaries so don't ever feel like you can't express your opinions by chanting Tebow's name at the games. People may say, "well how would you like it if people came to your job and booed you"? To them I say "pay me 9 million a year like Orton gets and come on with it". First Cutler now Orton. Why does your organization love starting whiners? Don't you want a winner like Elway?

It's amazing how many people in the media "hate" on Tebow. They say "he can't do it in the NFL". Trust me Broncos I've heard this before. Don't buy it. They say "he's not ready". Tebow led all rookies in QB rating last year (82.5). Orton's had 7 years of experience yet his career passer rating is 79.5- less than Tebow's who has only 3 games worth of experience. Seems to me like the guy who went 3-10 last year and has been in the league 7 years might be the one who "can't do it in the NFL". They say "he's not a dropback passer". Well put him in the gun then. Tom Brady takes 75% of his snaps from the gun. Timmy's better at running downhill or rolling out than moving backwards anyways. Look at all the young QB's who have gotten more of a chance to start in the NFL than Tebow: Jimmy Clausen, Andy Dalton, Colt McCoy, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford. How come its OK for them to start in the media's eyes but not Tebow? My guess is that Coach Fox is sick of "Tebowmania" and perceives it as everyone telling him how to do his job, so he's fighting back. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Get ready for another 3-10 start Broncos unless Tebow sees the field in some capacity. Coach Fox should start embracing "Tebowmania" instead of fighting it otherwise he's dropping the ball just like Orton.

Adam Hartle