TWO BITS: Driskel’s adjustments, Foley on Meyer

1 » As he finishes his junior baseball season and gets ready for his senior year of football at Hagerty High School, four-star 2011 Florida Gators quarterback commitment Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) knows the comparisons to Denver Broncos signal caller Tim Tebow will be coming sooner than later. “I’d love to continue the standards he set on the field and off the field,” Driskel told ESPN. “But at the same time, I have to make my own impact and be my own person.” Driskel is also aware that extra attention will be paid to him throughout the upcoming season due to his commitment to Florida. “Whenever you are linked to the football program at the University of Florida, all eyes are going to be on you,” he said. “I know there will be people that have never seen me play [who will] develop a new interest in us and how well we play this season.” Driskel is receiving plenty of praise and support from his coaches who realize that he will be a good fit with the Gators. “I had visited a few schools but every time I went to Florida it felt right,” Driskel admitted. “I wanted to be in the SEC because that’s where the best football in the country is played. Florida is competing for national titles every year and they run an offense suited around the quarterback. I love everything about that program.”

2 » Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley was in Jacksonville, FL, on Wednesday night, speaking to a bunch of fans at the Jax Beach Gator Club’s annual Gator Gathering. WJXX ABC 25 was on hand to cover the event, where Foley spoke about head coach Urban Meyer, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley and a number of other topics.

On Meyer: “He’s doing well. He’s really doing well. He’s worked very hard – worked on some things that will help him be a better coach in terms of obligation. Very excited about the upcoming year. I can see the energy back. I can see the color in his face back.”

On Brantley: “I think his a heck of a talent. I know what our coaches think about him. I know how hard he’s worked. I know how hard he’s worked this spring. Johnny Brantley is a quality kid, a quality quarterback. Does he have the same reps as Tim Tebow? No. Will there be a learning curve for him? Certainly, but I think he’s got a chance to be a big time player. We’re very excited about Johnny Brantley.”

On Florida-Georgia: “It’s a tradition that’s second-to-none, in my opinion, in college football. Probably similar to Texas-Oklahoma. It’s as good as football stadium in the country, and we do have a contract. There’s a few Is to be dotted a few Ts to be crossed. I think that thing will be signed before next fall, and keep it here for another seven years and that certainly excites us all in Gainesville.”

Photo Credit: ESPN

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Tebow’s mechanics “overplayed,” Trestman says

Montreal Alouettes head coach and recently Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow’s personal coach, Marc Trestman, once again defended the former Florida Gators star’s throwing motion and mechanics during a wide-ranging conference call with Canadian reporters Thursday.

“Basically all he’s doing is shortening his throwing motion and getting [the ball] out quicker,” Trestman said per the National Post. “I thought it was much, much overplayed and I think the perception of what it was and the reality of what it is was a lot different.”

Trestman went on to compare Tebow’s formerly elongated but since refined delivery to that of Anthony Calvillo, his team’s current starting quarterback.

“We have a quarterback who has a long delivery and he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks and will finish as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time north or south of the border so he does it with a motion very similar to what Tim Tebow used in college,” explained Trestman. “When you’re an accurate passer and you have the intangibles that go along with that you can figure it out and make it work and whether Tim changed his motion or not I believed he would figure it out and I don’t have any doubt that he’ll be very, very successful.”

Considering how closely Trestman worked with Tebow, his experience as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL and what he has done in the CFL, his opinion holds a lot of water.

However, some will certainly point out that comparing Tebow’s NFL future to the production of a career-long CFL quarterback is not necessarily something that Broncos fans want to hear. Perhaps that parallel should be examined a bit more before one jumps to any rash conclusions.

Calvillo is fourth in all-time professional passing yards (63,322) only behind Damon Allen (CFL – 72,381), Warren Moon (CFL/NFL – 70,553) and Brett Favre (NFL – 69,329) and directly ahead of names like Dan Marino, Doug Flutie, Danny McManus and Denver’s own John Elway. Additionally, Calvillo’s completion percentage (62.4) is higher than 22 of the other 24 signal callers on that list (Peyton Manning, Joe Montana).

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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TWO BITS: Tebow’s a lefty; Dunlap, Cooper notes

1 » In case you did not know after watching him for four seasons, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is left-handed. As if questions about his throwing motion and mechanics were not enough, ESPN decided to speak to some lefties who played in the NFL to see if it would have any impact on the Denver Broncos‘ first-round draft pick’s career. “Ultimately, whether Tim Tebow succeeds in the NFL or not, the fact that he is left-handed will have no bearing on it,” Brock Huard said. Obviously. However, it is interesting that only 12 lefties have started more than 50 NFL games behind center and there are just six currently in the league (only one – Arizona’s Matt Leinart – is currently a starter). “It’s just little things,” said Houston quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp (who worked with Steve Young In San Francisco). “But when it works, it can be an advantage. Defensive players are trained to play against right-handed quarterbacks. So, you can really make them uncomfortable.”

2 » Organized team activities (OTAs) are going on right now throughout the NFL, but information is hard to come by due to the fact that most are closed to the press. Here are two notes that OGGOA was able to uncover: (1) Defensive end Carlos Dunlap, a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, “could have had three straight sacks on contact” while working out Wednesday. (2) Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, like he did for much of his Florida career, “made some nice catches but also had some bad drops” while looking for passes from quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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FOUR BITS: Baseball tops UNF, Wilbekin signs

1 » Tuesday evening was all about freshman first baseman Austin Maddox. Going 4-4 with five RBI and a two-run home run, Maddox powered No. 4/5 Florida Gators baseball (38-12) to a 9-3 win over the North Florida Ospreys (29-23) at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Maddox’ 17th blast of the season set a new Florida freshman single-season record while also giving him the team lead in homers. Making his first start since having facial surgery, sophomore starter Tommy Toledo (3-1) collected the win in only two innings of work. Tuesday’s victory marked the Gators’ 12th in their last 13 games and fifth in a row. Tied atop the Southeastern Conference standings with South Carolina, Florida travels to Columbia, SC, on Thursday for a three-game series to determine the regular season champion. The Gators must win two of three games as they would otherwise lose the tiebreaker due to their greater number of canceled SEC games due to inclimate weather.

Four more BITS on Wilbekin, Tebow, Haden and Donovan…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Baseball tops UNF, Wilbekin signs

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TWO BITS: Tebow=Elway? Young=Horford/Noah?

1 » Columnist Woody Paige of The Denver Post has taken to calling former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow the Denver Broncos’ next John Elway. You know, the nine-time Pro Bowler who happens to be the best quarterback in the franchise’s history. Colleague Dave Krieger takes issue with Paige’s praise asking, “Seriously, can we just stop? […] Tebow is no Elway. And we will do him and everybody else a favor if we kick the habit of pretending he is.” Read the rest of what Krieger had to say in the Post. For a little more on Tebow’s progress, you can check out this video update from NFL Network.

2 » The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway put together a nice piece on incoming four-star 2010 power forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL). Sure to be a defensive-minded presence for the Gators next season, Young knows what it takes to make an impact. “You can always be selfish on defense,” Young said. “No one is going to complain if you are getting too many rebounds and keep running the floor and that’s primarily what I do. So I’m just going to come out there and play a big role and do whatever I can to help the team.” Even head coach Billy Donovan has taken to comparing him to two former Florida stars – the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford and Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah. “[Young] is a very physical, high-energy, likes-contact guy,” Donovan said. Check out the Sun’s article for more from Young and Donovan.

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Tebow participates in first OTA, reporters flock

With his first NFL minicamp in the rear view mirror, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow returned to Denver, CO, Monday for his first set of organized team activities (OTA) with the Denver Broncos at their Dove Valley facility.

There were “42 local and national media” at the Broncos’ first open OTA with a lot of attention paid to the four quarterbacks, according to Denver’s vice president of public relations Jim Saccomano. “Crazy interest in our OTAs which start today,” he wrote via his Twitter account. “Greatest interest I have seen since John Elway was a rookie.”

While some local columnists like The Denver Post’s Woody Paige continue to wax poetic about Tebow’s potential, others like ESPN’s resident gasbag Rick Reilly prefer to bash Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels for his decision to draft him.

Attention, hype and potential resent from teammates have never bothered Tebow, and he proved just that during a short media availability after his workout.

“That’s not something I can control much,” Tebow said. “I think something my [teammates] will know is how hard I’ll work, and my character and what I’m all about. So I don’t think that will bother them too much, to be honest. […] I’m just coming out here and playing football just like every other rookie. I’m just enjoying it and working hard.”

Tebow was listed as the fourth quarterback on the team’s depth chart behind starter Kyle Orton and back-ups Brady Quinn and Tom Brandstater. He threw less than a dozen total passes Monday and even took some time to toss the ball back-and-forth with former Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno.

Photo Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

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Tebow reportedly turns down seven-figure deals

His respective endorsement deals with EA Sports and Nike have garnered plenty of publicity and earned him some good money, but the additional opportunities former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has turned down since joining the Denver Broncos are likely much more lucrative.

According to The Commercial Appeal, Tebow has “declined some seven-figure per year deals because he thought they would interfere with his football preparation,” opting to concentrate on working out before his first NFL training camp.

“I’m trying to work hard and not get my mind cluttered with all that,” Tebow said while working out in Memphis, TN. “When it gets to the point when something needs to be presented to me, I see it. Right now, it’s all ball for me.”

Tebow’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, realizes his client’s appeal and thinks there will be plenty of opportunities for him coming in both the near and distant future.

“Within the next five years, Tim clearly has a chance to be one of the most endorsable athletes on the planet,” Sexton told the paper this week. “I had one CEO of a major Fortune 500 company tell me, ‘You know what, Jimmy? For a corporation to put a face on their brand, this guy is the real deal. He’s the one guy who’s not going to be a scandal two or three years from now.’”

These mysterious “seven-figure per year” opportunities make his $300,000 Nike contract appear paltry by comparison. But being a NFL quarterback has never been all about money for Tebow.

“You have to decide what you have to be proud about, and being a football player doesn’t make you any more special than anyone else,” Tebow said. “Football gives me a platform and with that platform comes a responsibility and obligation to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Tebow has been working out in Memphis in preparation for Broncos training camp.

Photo Credit: Associated Press, (original) Donald Miralle/Getty Images

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FOUR BITS: Peterson, Orton vs. Tebow, FSU wins

1 » Former Florida Gators linebacker Mike Peterson – now a veteran with the Atlanta Falcons, has taken on the roll of mentor with the team’s first-round choice in the 2010 NFL Draft, Sean Weatherspoon. Now 34, Peterson had a solid 2009-10 season (140 tackles) and hopes to continue to help both on the field and in the locker room. “I understand the business,” he said. “I want to help the team out. That’s what I’m all about. I didn’t come here to try and play 2,000 plays. I came here to try to win the Super Bowl. Whatever my role will be, I’m ready for it.”

2 » The Denver Post is apparently the “Kyle Orton needs to get out of here on way or another” angle now that former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has joined the Denver Broncos. Columnist Woody Paige insists the team needs to pull the trigger on a trade involving Orton because he is “not a short-term fix or a long-range fit for the Broncos,” noting that he is “an average quarterback who couldn’t start for 21 other teams in the league.” Better to see what they have in former Notre Dame star Brady Quinn and first-round pick Tebow, Page believes. Paper-mate mark Kiszla takes a similar angle on the topic, noting that Orton needs to get himself out of Denver as fast as possible. “[He] would have rocks for brains to start another game as quarterback of the Broncos,” Kiszla wrote. “He would be playing the fool for Denver coach Josh McDaniels. If Orton owns a penny’s worth of common sense, he has already quietly, politely and firmly asked for a trade to grant his freedom.”

3 » EA SportsNCAA Football 11, which will feature Tebow as its cover athlete, is undergoing more changes than just deciding to use one former player on its cover instead of many. According to Jon Robinson of ESPN, the gaming company has decided to further embed ESPN branding into the game, letting each contest play like it is a live network broadcast. Read more about some of the game’s brand new features.

4 » Speaking of ESPN, the worldwide leader has decided to create a bracket system in order to devise which college program has been the best pipeline for the NFL over the last 30 years. Not surprisingly, No. 13-seed Florida lost its opening-round match-up. Unfortunately for some fans, it was to the No. 4-seed Florida State Seminoles. Though writer Matt Williamson noted that the recent influx of Gators gives the team a chance to claim the title in the future, the past’s top five notable players (Derrick Brooks, Deion Sanders, Walter Jones, Rohn Stark, LeRoy Butler VS. Emmitt Smith, Lomas Brown, Cris Collinsworth, Wilber Marshall, Neal Anderson) allows FSU to earn the edge. Check out the entire head-to-head match-up at the link above including summaries by Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabach.

Photo Credit: Jon Robinson/ESPN

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