HOOVER, Ala. — With nearly 1,000 members of the media seeking any sort of fresh angle, it was inevitable that a few odd questions would be asked at the SEC media days. But Thursday likely marked the first time at the event that a football player was asked about his virginity.
Such was the case for Florida senior quarterback Tim Tebow, who received this question:
"Tim, you (wear) your religion on your sleeve. … I just wonder, and I think a lot of people do, are you saving yourself for marriage?"
There was a moment of stunned silence among the gathering, then some nervous laughter after Tebow grinned.
"Yes, I am," Tebow said, smiling. Then Tebow looked at his suddenly tongue-tied inquisitors and said: "I think y'all are stunned right now. Y'all can't even ask a question. Look at this. The first time ever. Wow. I mean, I was ready for any question, but I don't think y'all were though."
Well, who was it? Tebow has been a big topic of conversation, partly because it was revealed he was not a unanimous selection for first-team All-SEC, voted on by the head coaches.
Through the first two days, each coach has been asked whether he voted for Tebow as first-team quarterback. Most have quickly said yes, though Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said: "I'm not crazy. I probably did, yeah."
Florida coach Urban Meyer opened his Q&A session by saying, "I'm here to clear up the mystery that I'm the guy who didn't vote for Tebow." Coaches could not vote for their own players.
Of coaches scheduled to speak today, Tennessee's Lane Kiffin has said he voted for Tebow. That leaves LSU's Les Miles, Auburn's Gene Chizik and — could it be? — South Carolina's Steve Spurrier.
Meyer annoyed: Speculation that Meyer will departure for Notre Dame after this season is starting to get on his nerves. "It's disturbing," he said. "I care about my family. I care about our football players, our staff and recruiting. If it affects that, then it bothers me."
Spikes bows out: Florida's Brandon Spikes originally was scheduled to attend media days, but he was replaced by fellow senior linebacker Ryan Stamper.
According to Meyer, Spikes became uncomfortable with the idea of attending once he learned how many members of the media would be in attendance.
"When he heard about this (interview) room, he heard about the whole deal, heard about all the cameras, he started squiggling his way out of that thing," Meyer said. "Then he used the old, 'Coach, I think Stamper, he's the captain, he should be there, not me.' … He's just shy, I guess."
USF kicker resting, won't need surgery
USF kicker Maikon Bonani was released Thursday from St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, five days after he injured his back in a 35-foot fall from the SkyRide while working at Busch Gardens.
Bonani, a sophomore from Lake Wales, will not need surgery on a cracked vertebra in his back, according to Lake Wales coach Rod Shafer. He will wear a back brace for six to eight weeks, leaving open the possibility of him returning to football this season.
RECRUITING: Chris Veron, a punter and first-team all-state kicker at Ocala Forest, accepted a scholarship offer Thursday and is the Bulls' sixth oral commitment toward the 2010 class. Veron (pronounced vuh-RONE) said he worked out for coaches at Alabama and had interest from Miami and Florida State, but USF was the first school to offer him a scholarship.
Illinois: Coach Ron Zook received a one-year extension, putting the former Gators coach under contract with Illinois through January 2014.
Boise State heads east: Boise State will play Virginia Tech on Oct. 2, 2010, at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Boise State will get $1.25 million.
Baseball: The NCAA baseball rules committee proposed an indefinite ban on composite-barrel bats after anecdotal evidence and research conducted during this year's Division I tournament indicated many bats didn't comply with NCAA standards. A formal vote could be taken next month. The beef is with the barrel, which softens over time, creating a high ball-exit speed.
Times staff writers Antonya English and Greg Auman and Times wires contributed to this report.