NEW ORLEANS — Few people possess the insight and perspective of former national championship quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, so when the former Florida Gators great speaks, people tend to listen.
Tebow, speaking as part of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team on Sunday, assessed Tennessee football and new coach Jeremy Pruitt at the request of SEC Country.
“I think Tennessee’s a sleeping giant, and when they awake, I think they have a chance to be a boss in the SEC,” Tebow said. “But they’ve got a long way to go to catch Georgia and Alabama.”
No doubt, the Bulldogs and the Tide are two of the four teams in the latest iteration of the College Football Playoff. Georgia plays Oklahoma at 5 p.m. ET on Monday in the Rose Bowl, while Alabama tangles with Clemson at 8:45 p.m. on Monday in the Sugar Bowl.
Tebow, who has been on set providing analysis with ESPN, said new Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt has his work cut out for him after a 26-day coaching search debacle.
“I think he’s got a little bit of a ways to go, [and] I think he’s gotta get things done in recruiting,” Tebow said. “I think he’s gotta be able to create some momentum and a positive atmosphere. There’s a lot of work in front of him. Not that it can’t be done.”
Tebow was not a fan of how Tennessee’s coaching search transpired, in the sense of the revolt that went down after word leaked on Nov. 26 that Greg Schiano would be named coach.
“I just don’t think you can let the fans decide for you,” Tebow said. “When you really believe a coach is right for you, you better stick to your guns. There wasn’t a lot of conviction or belief, or at least they didn’t show it. That’s a tough place to be. It’s not a good place when you’re just being tossed by the wind, both sides. I think they had to have a little more conviction about their beliefs and stand for them. Ultimately, everything transpired the way it did, and they found a coach they like. So we’ll see what happens now.”
As for whether Pruitt will prove to be the right hire, Tebow suggested time will tell.
“The fans got what they think they wanted right now, but we don’t know,” Tebow said. “We don’t know until he wins the championship or they start booing him.”
Tebow’s interview was made possible by Allstate, which is sponsoring the refurbishment of a New Orleans youth center on New Year’s Eve. Fans across the country can learn more here. Alex Martin Smith contributed to this story.
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