FOUR BITS: Harvey, Bullard on NXT, Tebow

By Adam Silverstein
June 9, 2010

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Derrick Harvey has been underwhelming since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Having only compiled 5.5 sacks in his first two seasons in the league, he is taking the coaching staff’s belief in him to heart by shedding some weight and becoming a more athletic player. “I thought bigger was better,” Harvey told the Florida Times-Union. “Speed is better. You’ve got to be rushing all day, and you can’t be 280 [pounds] rushing in this heat. […] It’s all on me. I’ve got to perform.” General manager Gene Smith agrees. “I think a couple of things are evident out there,” he said. “He’s probably in the best shape of his life, and he’s lighter this year, so I think you’re seeing some quickness off the snap. And he has better bend coming off the corner. He has shown better flexibility, better quickness and has been better at getting to the quarterback than in any OTAs since he’s been here.

Three more BITS on Thaddeus Bullard’s debut on WWE NXT, 2010 baseball signees picked in the MLB Draft and Tim Tebow…after the break!

2 » As we mentioned last week, former Florida defensive end Thaddeus Bullard is beginning his career as a big-time professional wrestler with a stint on WWE NXT – a faux-reality show looking for the next breakout star for World Wrestling Entertainment. Though his name in the organization is “Titus O’Neil,” Bullard’s character is still being propped up by announcers as a guy who “once played professional football for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, he played for the University of Florida.” Making his way down the entrance ramp for the first time, Bullard provided a few requisite Gator Chomps (see video below) before losing his debut tag team match by pinfall. Later in the show, Bullard threatened his professional mentor (Zach Ryder), setting up a no-nonsense gimmick that should play out during the 12-week show.

3 » Five members of Gators baseball’s incoming 2010 recruiting class were selected in the 2010 MLB Draft over its first two days – a common occurrence for top prospects coming out of high school. Pitcher Karsten Whitson (taken No. 9 overall in the first round by the San Diego Padres) is not likely to stick with his Florida commitment and pitcher John Barbato (No. 184 overall in sixth round also by the Padres) may be lured away due to the contract offer. The other three – pitchers Robbie Aviles (No. 210 – Cleveland) and Daniel Gibson (No. 789 – Milwaukee), and third baseman Zack Powers (No. 837 – Pittsburgh) – will likely stick with their commitments.

4 » The June 14, 2010, issue of Sports Illustrated includes a feature story on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow by Peter King called “Tim Tebow: The Making Of A Quarterback.” You can check out the entire story by purchasing the issue or clicking here. Below is a short excerpt from the article:

In OTAs [Brady] Quinn often was by Tebow’s side, clarifying points. “I feel like Tim and I have a lot in common,” says Quinn, a first-round pick in 2007 who never got a firm grip on the starting job in Cleveland. “My attitude is, I’m here to win the job—we all feel that way—but I’m also here to help him. I’ve been in his shoes. You don’t get a lot of reps when you’re not the starter, but you’ve got to be out there taking mental reps, going through the play like you’re running it.”

Tebow has to adapt from Urban Meyer‘s spread offense at Florida, in which he operated almost as a Wildcat fullback-quarterback. He has to learn a new playbook and a more traditional pro-style offense. Even more taxing: He has to completely overhaul the way he throws the ball.

“Look at this,” [head coach Josh] McDaniels said in his office, cuing up digital video from a rookie minicamp less than four weeks earlier. A close-up camera had recorded throw after throw by Tebow on his first day as a Bronco, and on each one his torso rotated more than 90 degrees as he released the ball. “Spinning like a top,” McDaniels said. “Imagine you’re throwing darts and your body is spinning like this. You can’t have the control you want. How’s your release point going to stay the same?” McDaniels stopped the tape, then put on video from the previous day. Here was Tebow, a hand towel stuffed in his right armpit to force his right arm to stay tight to his rib cage as he threw. The motion was more compact, faster, and he appeared to have lost no velocity from the first day’s throws. “Now that looks like a quarterback,” McDaniels said.

Photo Credit: Scott Boehm/Getty Images

One Comment

  1. John Shanks says:

    Big year for Harvey and Nelson, all this talk about Tebow, and they’re both treading heavy on bust territory.

    Hoping for a breakout year from both, they’ve both got the athletic ability.

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