Tim Tebow was the latest Southeastern Conference figure asked for his take on the league’s hottest topic — himself.
And Florida’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback didn’t have the answer Thursday to the most repeated question during the SEC media days.
“No, I do not know who didn’t vote for me,” Tebow said, when asked if knew who the lone coach was that didn’t pick him as the preseason All-SEC quarterback.
Some, like Mississippi’s Houston Nutt, didn’t wait to be asked.
“I just want to go ahead and tell you that I voted for Tim Tebow,” Nutt said. “I voted him first team.”
There are only four coaches left: Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin, Auburn’s Gene Chizik, LSU’s Les Miles and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier. Kiffin said this week he voted for Tebow, and so has every coach to address the gathered media. Tebow received 10 first-team votes, and coaches aren’t allowed to pick their own players.
Tebow addressed a few hundred print and Internet reporters from the main stage while every other player has fielded questions from much smaller assemblages at tables tucked into corners of the hotel ballroom.
He embraces being the most famous player on a team that has a chance to win its second straight national title and third during his career. He says the attention can be tough, but that it also gives him a platform to spread his Christian faith.
“Although there has been a backlash, oh well,” Tebow said. “I’ll deal with it if I have to. It’s not a big deal to me because of the kids and the people that have been encouraged by the stories that we have had to tell and the life I’ve tried to live.”
And nothing is out of bounds for Tebow. One reporter asked him if he was a virgin. “Yes I am,” he replied.
Other Tebow topics touched on Thursday:
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt has a transcript on his desk of Tebow’s much talked about postgame declaration after the Rebels upset Florida last season. He has read it to his team. “It was awesome,” he said.
Tebow, who won the Heisman as a sophomore, finished behind Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford last season. That, he promises, isn’t a driving force. “This won’t be my motivating factor,” he said. “I’m not gonna run sprints thinking about, ‘They didn’t vote for me.”‘
He isn’t about to cut down on an exhausting schedule that has included mission trips, speaking engagements and countless interviews – in addition to class and football.
“I kind of look at it from a little bit different perspective,” Tebow said. “If I’m going speaking or working at hospitals or what not, it can get tiring, physically, emotionally. But at the same time, it’s so worth it for me. It’s worth it to be a little tired or get a little bit cranky.
“I look at it as I’m trying to make a difference, and that’s more important than football for me.”