FOUR BITS: Donovan, Chandler, Tebow, Trail

1 » For the second-straight year, Florida Gators head basketball coachBilly Donovan is participating in the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge, a charitable contest where coaches are vying to win money for an organization they choose to represent. Donovan, who is in the contest for the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation, could win $100,000 for the organization just as he did one year ago when Florida fans cast the most online votes for him and the foundation. The eight-week-long contest began Jan. 18 with a winner being announced March 9. There were only 14 participants in 2011 but that number has increased to 48 this year. For more information and to vote for Donovan and the foundation (which supports Shands Hospital at UF), go here and click on South Region. Former Gators assistant coach Anthony Grant (Alabama, The Sweet Home Fund) and head coach Lon Kruger (Oklahoma, Coaches vs. Cancer) are also participating though Grant is also in the South Region with Donovan.

2 » Former Florida wide receiver and 11-year NFL veteran Wes Chandler has agreed to be the WR coach at California, the school divulged Wednesday evening. Though it will be just his second stint on the college level (Central Florida, 1994-95), Chandler has coached receivers in NFL Europe (1995-1999), the NFL (2000-2008) and the UFL (2009). He was a first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC player with the Gators who made it to four Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams in his NFL career. Chandler was also inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a Gator Great in 1989 after catching 92 passes for 1,963 yards and 22 touchdowns in his four years at Florida. He was the team’s leading receiver for three-straight years from 1975-77.

3 » On ESPN’s Jim Rome Is Burning Wednesday, Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey was asked about quarterback Tim Tebow, the impact he had on the team this year and how good he can be in the future. “I think Tim has a lot to prove still,” Bailey said on the show. “He’s proven he can win some tough games. Now it’s just being consistent. One thing about him, he’s going to work at it, and I’m behind him 100 percent.” Bailey also said “the sky is the limit” for Tebow and believes that he will have plenty of time to improve his arm starting this offseason, Tebow’s first as the primary signal caller with the club.

4 » Another former Gators player has found a new home with defensive end Lynden Trail enrolling at Norfolk State this week. Trail, who transferred following the 2011 regular season, transferred for playing time reasons after failing to dress most games and not stepping on the field once this past year.

Extra BIT » You want Tebow pizza? You got it.

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TWO BITS: Bailey lauds Tebow; Pouncey waits

1 » Denver Broncos veteran Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey has been heaping the praise on rookie quarterback Tim Tebow and that trend continued Wednesday in an NFL.com report. Talking about Tebow’s star quality and magnetism, the former Georgia Bulldogs star placed the Florida Gators legend above even the most famous Florida State Seminole. “I’ve been on a team with some [high-profile] players, such as Deion [Sanders] and guys like that, but I’ve never seen nothing like this,” Bailey said. “It’s amazing. […] I’m kind of proud of him for the way he handles himself. He wants to be one of the guys. People are going to put him on that pedestal, but he handles both sides very well.”

Defensive end Justin Bannan is also impressed. “I’m kind of blown away,” Bannan said. “I’ve just never seen anything like it. It’s like a phenomenon. This city’s just become obsessed with Tebow. The guy has earned that right to get that kind of attention, because he’s probably going to go down as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — college player to play the game.”

2 » It should be no question that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie center/guard Maurkice Pouncey, the University of Florida and the NCAA all want the allegations surrounding the player to be settled – one way or another – as soon as possible. Nevertheless, according to the University Police Department, determining whether or not Pouncey accepted a $100,000 payment from the runner for a sports agent may take up to two more months to settle. “It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Capt. Jeff Holcomb told The Gainesville Sun. “It could be another month or two before it’s finally closed out. It’s a slow-going process.” The process has been underway since June.

Photo Credit: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

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TWO BITS: Tebowmania in Denver, Harvin’s injury

1 » Signing his rookie contract Thursday, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow got his first taste of practice with the Denver Broncos on Friday in front of some reporters. Things were different Sunday at the team’s first public training camp event, as 3,103 Broncos fans packed the Dove Valley facility (the most since it opened in 2003) to get a glimpse of the former Heisman Trophy winner (and the rest of the team). [Another 1,891 attended in the afternoon, setting both session records and a one-day total of 4,994.] The Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Center was “almost at full capacity with fans sitting shoulder-to-shoulder alongside the practice field.”

The Denver Post describes one notable moment: “During seven-on-seven drills, Tebow worked in the rotation to completed a 40-yard pass to Matthew Willis on a fly route. The crowd cheered and some stood to their feet, as if the season had already begun.” There were also chants of “Te-bow! Te-bow!” during portions of the practice. In fact, “Tebow received cheers for everything he did,” according to the Post. “For walking out of the locker room, handing the ball off or tossing a short screen pass. And especially for every time he tucked the ball under his arm and ran through the Broncos’ defense.”

Two Denver players – one a fellow Florida alum and another from Georgia – had their own thoughts on the festivities off the field.

“It’s darn near like Gainesville. It feels the same way,” former Gators defensive end/linebacker Jarvis Moss said. “I don’t know too many people who have fans like Tim. You can’t think of too many people who people just love like that.” Countering but still agreeing was a Bulldog. “You’ve got to think he’s the most marketable guy in the league right now so he’s definitely going to that attention. The only knock on him is he went to Florida,” cornerback Champ Bailey added.

Two BITS on Percy Harvin’s health and a fight started by Riley Cooper…
Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Tebowmania in Denver, Harvin’s injury

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Broncos’ Bailey impressed by Tebow’s dedication

Denver Broncos veteran cornerback Champ Bailey may not have the responsibility of choosing his team’s starting quarterback, but he knows plenty about signal callers after facing them in the NFL for 11 years and bringing in 46 interceptions while defending 107 passes. As a Broncos team leader and future Hall of Famer who has faced some of the best passers in the game, Bailey’s glowing impressions and early evaluations of former Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow hold a lot of water.

“See that?” Bailey asked while watching Tebow get in extra practice on his own a few fields away. “That’s Tebow. It’s long after practice and he’s still out there. That’s what he does. That’s not for show. He’s not just doing that because the media is here today. He does that every day.”

Bailey told ESPN that Tebow’s work ethic is unmatched and that, while his reputation precedes himself, he is already impressing teammates.

“We’re all interested in it,” Bailey said. “He has the team behind him. We heard so much about Tebow before he got here and he’s a big story. But everything he has shown shows that he can succeed. The guy just works at his job so much. […] I’m impressed. I like what I see so far.”

Tebow, who said upon being drafted by Denver that his first goal was to win over his teammates, was happy to hear what Bailey said about him afterward.

“That’s what I want ,” Tebow says. “It means so much that my teammates believe in me and know that I’m working hard. That’s why I’m here. […] It’s 24 hours football. I love it. This is how I’m going to spend my summer.”

He may be third on the depth chart at this point, but it is widely believed that Tebow will see the field plenty in 2010 – potentially as a third-down specialist or in a role similar to that which he played on Florida’s 2006 National Championship team.

Photo Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

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