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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TWO BITS: Tebow’s mom, Andrews’ video

1 » Just before Mother’s Day, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos spoke with the Denver Post about his mother, Pam Tebow, and how much she has meant to him throughout his entire life. “For 25 years, she’s pretty much put her life on hold for me and my siblings,” Tebow said. “She’s invested in our lives – we were her No. 1 priority, and nothing else really mattered. Now, she’s getting to do a lot of things she loves to do too with the speaking and the writing and the traveling. She loves it, though I still don’t think she loves it as much as she loved raising all her kids.” For much, much more, check out the Post’s story here.

2 » Shout out to Deadspin for this one. “Ten years ago, Darrin Henson was the Tom Emanski of instructional dance videos. He had one enthusiastic pupil, though,” and her name was Erin Andrews. The former Gators dazzler and current ESPN sideline reporter appears at the 0:45 mark of this pretty damn funny video.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow has “it,” Lewis, TPC, lacrosse

1 » Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels continued his praise of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow to the Denver Post Thursday, citing that his first-round pick has the “it” factor. “There are people with a great deal of God-given ability who are fun to watch, and it’s really interesting to see what kind of seasons they’ll put together,” McDaniels said. “Then there are guys who will say they won’t fail, our team’s not going to fail, and they have a ‘I’m not going to let you down’ attitude. And that’s what you notice with Tim.”

The coach also said Tebow has a good chance to get on the field early – not years down the line like all the NFL Draft experts and other scouts project. “To me, (his football IQ) gives him an advantage, an opportunity to play earlier than other people have played,” he continued. “Everybody keeps talking about it will be two, three years before he can play, and I think they don’t know this guy. His mental capacity, and the way he works, and the fact that he’s on such a fast pace, will give him the chance to compete apples-to-apples. It’s all going to be about his production and performance. There are a lot of rookies who can’t run plays because they can’t figure it out yet. That’s not going to be the case with Tim. He’ll be able to do the things [veterans] do. […] You know what Tim doesn’t know about our playbook? Only what we haven’t told him yet.”

2 » Baltimore Ravens veteran linebacker Ray Lewis spoke out about Tebow’s progression into the NFL to ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on Thursday. Needless to say, the future Hall of Famer champion feels Tebow has received much more help than other players have coming into the league. “The thing I was more shocked by, is you see all the people who were willing to help him,” Lewis said. “I don’t know many people who were willing to help other athletes like that. Jon Gruden loved him to death. You see all these people who took out their personal time to really work with him and make this big issue, big issue, big issue. I don’t know why he was any different than anyone else. Every young child has that dream, that same dream that Tebow had. So I don’t know why he was bigger […] than any of the other guys. He went to a big program, and, yes, he might be a favorable person, but nobody else in the league, definitely not veteran players, see themselves differently than any other player.”

3 » Four former Gators golfers are currently competing in The PLAYERS Championship in Ponta Vedra Beach, FL, each hoping to take home a PGA Tour title. After a full day of action, Camilo Villegas and Brian Gay (-2) were tied for 47th with Mark Calcavecchia (+1) and Chris Couch (+2) bringing up the rear in the 100s. Each player will tee off for their second round from 1-2 p.m. on Friday.

4 » Florida lacrosse (10-7) stunned the crowd watching the quarterfinals of the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament in Columbus, OH, Thursday night by rocking the No. 20 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (10-7) 14-3. Freshman goalie Cara Canington made a school-record 14 saves on 15 shots as classmates midfielder Kitty Cullen and attacker Ashley Bruns led the way with six and three goals, respectively. The ladies will advance to face No. 11 Vanderbilt at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the semifinals. The Gators lost to the Commodores 12-7 in Gainesville, FL, earlier in the season.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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