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SEC Media Days report

by Bob Holt, Tom Murphy | July 25, 2009 at 3:04 a.m.

— Spurrier regrets mix-up

HOOVER, Ala. - The ol' ball coach 'fessed up.

South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier admitted Friday at SEC media days that he was the coach who left Florida quarterback Tim Tebow off his first-team All-SEC ballot.

Spurrier said his director of operations filled out his ballot and that he signed off on it with Ole Miss' Jevan Snead as the top quarterback.

"That's bad," Spurrier said.

"That's bad. It's my fault. I apologized to Tim Tebow. We screwed it up pretty badly. He should have been on that ballot.

"I messed it up. I take full blame for it."

Spurrier was the Heisman Trophy winner in 1966 as Florida's quarterback, and he led the Gators to the 1996 national championship during a 12-year run in which he was 122-27-1.

Spurrier said he lost sleep when the flap arose in Alabama about Tebow's absence from one coach's first-team ballot and he found out it was his.

Spurrier called SEC associate director Charles Bloom and asked to have his ballot changed to reflect a unanimous selection for Tebow as a first-teamer.

"Tim Tebow is not only the best quarterback in this league, he's the best quarterback in the country," Spurrier said.

Asked by a Florida columnist if he was concerned about a backlash from Gators fans, Spurrier continued his apology.

"I'm embarrassed about what happened," he said. "I apologize to Tim and Gator fans. ... It's given me an opportunity to voice my opinion of Tim and [former Florida quarterback] Danny Wuerrfel, who are two of the most sincere, Christian men."

Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin, who has already had dustups with Florida and South Carolina since being hired lastwinter, brought his All-SEC ballot to the podium to prove he had voted for Tebow.

To be fair, Tebow was not a unanimous first-team choice by the media either. He received 61 of 64 first-place votes, with Snead picking up two votes and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett receiving the other one.

"What's that say at quarterback?" Kiffin asked SEC communications director Chuck Dunlap. "Tim Tebow. And I voted for 11 Florida Gators, too, in case you're keeping track of that."Hogs on rise?

Arkansas is set to move up in the SEC West this season, according to the poll of media voters at SEC media days.

The Razorbacks were picked to finish fourth in the West on Friday, after being picked sixth last season, when they went 2-6 and tied for fourth - also last - with Auburn and Mississippi State.

Tailback Michael Smith and tight end D.J. Williams were first-team All-SEC picks for the Razorbacks, while defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard was a second-team pick.

Auburn offensive tackle Lee Ziemba, a junior from Rogers, was a second-team pick.

Alabama was picked to finish first in the West and had 33 first-place votes, followed by LSU and Ole Miss. The Rebels received 16 first-place votes and LSU 15.

Defending national champion Florida was a unanimous choice to win the SEC East and received 63 of 64 votes to win the overall championship, with one vote going to Ole Miss.

Slive stats

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive always lists the accomplishments of his league in his opening address, and there were clear-cut highlights.

Perhaps the most impressive statistic was that the SEC had five national champions, including Florida's football title, and six national runnersup, meaning the league had ateam finish in the top two in 11 of 20 sports it sponsors.

The SEC also sent 150 teams, or 75 percent of its programs, to NCAA championships.

It's Whammy

South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier asked a reporter to repeat his question twice when asked about the hiring of former Arkansas assistant Lorenzo Ward as his defensive coordinator this winter.

"Coach who?" Spurrier asked the second time.

"Lorenzo Ward. He's known by Whammy. ... He's a solid coach.

We sort of stole him from Arkansas a year ago." Cat in the hat

LSU offensive lineman Ciron Black was asked the biggest misconception the public has about Coach Les Miles.

"His hat's not too big," Black said, eliciting laughter from the media. "I mean, it might look big on TV, but it's not that big."

Keeping it zipped

A reporter made a hamfisted effort to provoke South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier into taking a dig at Tennessee's Lane Kiffin, but Spurrier wouldn't take the bait when asked if coaches should win some games first before making ripples with their quotes.

"When you're a 7-6 coach like I am, you don't have a lot to say," Spurrier said.

Preseason All-SEC

HOOVER, Ala. - Results of voting from SEC media days (first-place votes in parentheses): OVERALL CHAMPION TEAM VOTES 1. Florida ...................................................63 2. Ole Miss ..................................................1 EAST DIVISION TEAM POINTS 1. Florida (64) ...........................................64 2. Georgia ................................................133 3. South Carolina ....................................217 4. Tennessee ...........................................258 5. Vanderbilt ............................................317 6. Kentucky .............................................355 WEST DIVISION TEAM POINTS 1. Alabama (33) ......................................105 2. LSU (15) .............................................145 3. Ole Miss (16) ......................................149 4. Arkansas .................................245 5. Auburn ................................................309 6. Mississippi State .................................387 FIRST TEAM OFFENSE POS. PLAYER SCHOOL TE D.J. Williams ....................Arkansas OL Ciron Black ........................................ LSU OL Mike Johnson ............................Alabama OL John Jerry ..................................Ole Miss OL Mike Pouncey ............................... Florida C Maurice Pouncey ............................ Florida WR Julio Jones ...............................Alabama WR A.J. Green .................................. Georgia QB Tim Tebow .................................... Florida RB Charles Scott .................................... LSU RB Michael Smith ..................Arkansas DEFENSE POS. PLAYER ......................... SCHOOL DL Terrence Cody ............................Alabama DL Greg Hardy .................................Ole Miss DL Carlos Dunlap ............................... Florida DL Antonio Coleman .........................Auburn LB Brandon Spikes ............................ Florida LB Rolando McClain .......................Alabama LB Eric Norwood ...................South Carolina DB Eric Berry ................................ Tennessee DB Trevard Lindley ......................... Kentucky DB Joe Haden .................................... Florida DB Javier Arenas .............................Alabama SPECIAL TEAMS POS. PLAYER SCHOOL PK Leigh Tiffin .................................Alabama P Chas Henry ..................................... Florida RS Brandon James ............................ Florida SECOND TEAM OFFENSE POS. PLAYER SCHOOL TE Aaron Hernandez .......................... Florida OL Clint Boling ................................. Georgia OL Trinton Sturdivant ....................... Georgia OL Lee Ziemba ........................ Auburn OL Zipp Duncan ............................. Kentucky C Josh McNeil .............................. Tennessee WR Brandon LaFell ................................ LSU WR Dexter McCluster .....................Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead ..............................Ole Miss RB Mark Ingram .............................Alabama RB Anthony Dixon ............. Mississippi State DEFENSE POS. PLAYER SCHOOL DL Geno Atkins ................................ Georgia DL Malcolm Sheppard .............Arkansas DL Jermaine Cunningham ................. Florida DL Charles Alexande .............................. LSU LB Ronnie Curran ............................ Georgia LB Rico McCoy ............................ Tennessee LB Micah Johnson ......................... Kentucky LB Jamar Chaney .............. Mississippi State DB Ahmad Black ................................ Florida DB Chad Jones ....................................... LSU DB Myron Lewis ...........................Vanderbilt DB Major Wright ................................ Florida SPECIAL TEAMS POS. PLAYER SCHOOL PK Joshua Shene ............................Ole Miss P Clinton Durst ..................................Auburn RS Javier Arenas .............................Alabama NOTE Ziemba is from Rogers.

Sports, Pages 26 on 07/25/2009

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