FOUR BITS: Tebow’s illness, Bress comparisons

1 » One story surrounding the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl was former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s lingering illness. Believed to be a strep throat early in the week, Tebow was actually suffering from a viral infection of his esophagus. Pam Tebow, Tim’s mother, said his sickness was “much worse than strep throat” and caused eating to be too painful for him throughout the week. Tebow met with a doctor all week and lost more than 10 pounds over the course of the week.

2 » While many sports writers have spent the last week criticizing Tebow, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel took a look at the situation from another angle. Former Purdue Boilermakers head coach Joe Tiller, who coached Drew Brees, Curtis Painter and Kyle Orton (among others), laughed at all of Tebow’s doubters. “I can remember NFL critics saying the same thing when Drew was a senior,” Tiller told Mandel. “‘He’s in that Purdue offense all the time. He lines up in the shotgun all the time, and our guys line up under center. It’s not like college football has a monopoly on the shotgun formation. Now that I’m out of coaching, I’ve watched more NFL football this year than I have the last 10 years combined. There’s hardly any team in the league that doesn’t have their quarterback in the shotgun anymore. […] The entire league is doing what Drew Brees was criticized for coming out of college. […] Actually, I think a guy coming out in the shotgun is better equipped than a guy coming out of center.”

3 » Fifty-one University of Florida student athletes were named to the 2009-10 Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll for the fall semester. Football led the way with 23 honorees, followed by soccer (18) and volleyball (10). Prominent names on the list include Tebow, sophomore RB Jeff Demps, junior punter Chas Henry, senior kicker Jonathan Phillips and junior kicker Caleb Sturgis.

4 » Florida track and field was responsible eight provisional-qualifying marks/times, three event wins and two NCAA automatic-qualifying marks/times during the Texas A&M Challenge in College Station, TX, on Saturday. The second half of the event was highlighted by thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili and jumper Shara Proctor, who earned the NCAA automatic-qualifying bids. For more information on the Gators’ performances over the weekend, click here (day one) or here (day two).

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2010 Senior Bowl uneventful for Tebow, Cooper

Coverage of practices for the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl this week focused squarely on former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow. However, as expected, the game itself was lackluster for both Tebow and wide receiver Riley Cooper.

The Miami Dolphins coaching staff including head coach Tony Sparano and quarterbacks coach David Lee coached Tebow up all week but only left him in the game for two series in the first half before benching him. They would allow him to re-enter for a few series with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Tebow went three-for-six for 23 yards passing along with one rush for three yards in his first appearance. His second time in the huddle, Tebow completed five-of-six for 27 yards with a seven-yard rush; however, he did fumble the ball on a nice strip by the North. Three of his four incompletions resulted from dropped receptions.

Cooper, on the other hand, saw action the entire first half but only registered two catches for 36 yards. His most impressive was on a 25-yard crossing route before halftime.

For all of the criticism surrounding Tebow this week, he was flawless from under center and made some “NFL throws” including a touch pass and cross-body screen passes.

“During the week I feel I got a lot better and worked on a lot of things,” Tebow said. “The stuff that people know I can do, I didn’t have to come out there and do that. I just came out here and worked on the things I needed to, and I enjoyed it. I feel like I improved every day. I came out here with a purpose, to get better, and I feel like I did that.”

The North team defeated the South 31-13. North QB Dan LeFevour led the way with 97 yards and two touchdowns (one rush) while WR Mardy Gilyard complied 102 yards and a TD on five receptions.

Next up for the duo (along and other former Gators) are preparation workouts and tests for the 2010 NFL Combine which will be held for six days from Feb. 27 to March 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. Players are put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance including head coaches, general managers and scouts look on and evaluate each of them. OGGOA will feature full coverage throughout the event.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, gym, swimming, baseball

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow does whatever he can to make his fans happy. Unfortunately, he had to prioritize his health on Friday and miss the Meet the Players event at the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl, even after fans waited hours to meet him. Tebow, who practiced all week while under the weather, was still “very sick” on Friday, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Speaking of Tebow, the Montreal Gazette reports that the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL hold the first option to his rights should he decide, for any reason, to head North and not play in the NFL. Tebow and wide receiver Riley Cooper will participate in the Senior Bowl on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will air live on NFL Network and OGGOA will have live coverage on Twitter.

2 » No. 4 Florida gymnastics (3-1, 3-0 SEC) took down the No. 13 LSU Tigers (3-3, 1-2 SEC) in a 196.725-195.05 victory Friday during the Fourth Annual Gators Link to Pink meet. While raising awareness about breast cancer, Florida put up its season-best total and set or matched 11 collegiate-best marks. The Gators hop on the road for their next meet, taking on N.C. State Wolfpack and George Washington Colonials in a triangular meet on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Reynolds Coliseum.

3 » Florida basketball will face them on Sunday, but the Gators’ men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each took down the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday to conclude their 2009-10 dual meet schedules. On the road at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in Knoxville, TN, the No. 6 men (9-0, 4-0 SEC) took a 164-133 decision over the No. 11 Volunteers on the heels of eight individual event victories. The No. 7 women (10-2, 4-1 SEC) won nine of 16 individual events to claim victory over the No. 12 Lady Vols 170-130. Florida handed Tennessee’s men’s team its first loss in the two-year history of the building.

4 » The Gators baseball team held its first practice of the 2010 season Friday, and No. 7/9-ranked Florida is ready to defend its 2009 SEC East division title. Players and coaches hope to improve on last season’s 42-22 record, which brought them ever so close to a berth in the College World Series. For quotes from the team and some more information on baseball’s first practice, read Jim Harvin’s story in The Gainesville Sun.

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What exactly is wrong with Tim Tebow’s release?

Analysts, commentators and NFL Draft experts have been critical of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow‘s release for the last year, and the evaluations have been even tougher over the last week. But what is it exactly that is wrong with Tebow’s release? Fans have heard that it is “too low” and “too slow. ESPN‘s Todd McShay recently had this to say in his Tebow progress report: “[It] takes [him] entirely too long getting the ball out. It will be difficult to succeed in the NFL with the elongated, three-quarters delivery he has shown during his career at Florida.”

During the 2010 Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats, color man and former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick broke down Tebow’s throwing motion.

What is even more interesting is the fact that Tebow’s arm action did not always look like this. Back in high school, he kept the ball up near his shoulder and had a more “professional” follow-through. Take a look at his release over time. (h/t SmartFootball)

The positive? If he’s done it before, he can likely do it again.

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FOUR BITS: Former QB Tim Tebow’s NFL future

1 » While former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is dealing with strict evaluations from seemingly every direction, one person at the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl who is squarely in Tebow’s corner is Miami Dolphins and South team head coach Tony Sparano. “I thought it was outstanding, I really did,” Sparano said of Tebow’s work ethic. “In the meeting room he’s been super, spending extra time. He’s been great to coach. One of the nice things with him is, you’ve got somebody lining up in the wrong spot, he’s got it, he can get them lined up right. He sees somebody maybe not run the right route or in the wrong place, he’s got it. This whole thing has really slowed down for him. He has great command for what we’re trying to do.”

2 » Also on Tebow’s side, not surprisingly, is his high school coach at Nease, Craig Howard. “He’s the most scrutinized quarterback I’ve ever seen,” Howard told The Gainesville Sun’s John Patton. “It seems like so many people want to pick out what they find to be wrong with him. […] There is more to a quarterback than throwing motion and whether he plays primarily out of a shotgun or under center. […] He was the most dominant high school quarterback I have ever seen. […] When he was being recruited, multiple coaches told me he cannot play the way he did at Nease in the SEC. How right were they? It’s the same deal now. […] It’s the same thing I told Urban Meyer. You aren’t just getting a quarterback, you are getting a guy who will change your program. He will change you. He made me a better coach. I wanted to be a better coach because I didn’t want to let him down.”

Two more BITS on Tim Tebow (documentary, mock draft) after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Former QB Tim Tebow’s NFL future

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SIX BITS: All-Star, PARADE, Donovan, bobsled

1 » Former Florida Gators forward/center Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks has been named as a participant in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Though OGGOA is quite pleased with Horford’s accomplishment, we would be remiss if we did not speak out for fellow former Gators F/C David Lee. Lee, who has played with the New York Knicks his entire career, was snubbed by voters after averaging an impressive 19.4 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game thus far. To his credit, Horford is averaging 13.6 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game.

2 » The following commits to Florida’s 2010 recruiting class have been named PARADE All-Americans: five-star defensive end Ronald Powell, five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, five-star safety Matt Elam and four-star cornerback Joshua Shaw.

3 » One aside from the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl is that players from the Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide are playing together on the South team – and they’re having a good time doing it. “We’re getting along really well,” former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said. “They’re good guys. We’ve had fun, trash-talking back and forth and giving each other a hard time. It’s been a lot of fun. When we break down (after a play), they say, ‘Go Alabama.’ They’ve been trying to get me to say that, but I haven’t yet. It’s been fun.”

Three more BITS including a Florida Gators bobsledder after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: All-Star, PARADE, Donovan, bobsled

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Tebow better but can’t escape criticism on Day 3

Responding to questions about his health Wednesday, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow answered without hesitation. “Let’s just say I needed to see some doctors for a little bit,” he quipped. “I’m feeling a lot better now. But you don’t want to touch me, I’ve got strep throat.”

Though he is sick, Tebow has progressed each day he has practiced with the Miami Dolphins coaching staff in Mobile, AL, while preparing for the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl. Reports from the practices have Tebow getting more comfortable taking snaps from under center and showing increased fluidity in his drop-backs. He only lost one snap Wednesday and has been throwing a nice deep ball.

“I’ve been impressed with what he’s done,” Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, said of Tebow’s performance during South team practices. “He’s getting better and better. Has a real good handle of the offense right now, the package going into this ball game.”
“I think his fundamentals and mechanics are really good, really solid,” Sparano continued. “They do a great job of coaching them at Florida, without a doubt. I think he’s done some really good things and his delivery is fine. Our job is to help these kids as much as we possibly can during the course of the week, give them the tools in their tool box to go forward. Anyway we can help him fundamentally this week, we will.”

VIDEO: NFL Network’s scouting report of Tebow at the Senior Bowl

Everyone seems to have an opinion about Tebow and plenty of general managers, head coaches, college scouts and “experts” have said one thing or another about his future in the NFL after evaluating him over the last few days: […read all 13 after the jump!]
Continue Reading » Tebow better but can’t escape criticism on Day 3

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QB Tim Tebow has strep, was hospitalized

Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was hospitalized Monday night after the first day of practices for the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl, according to agent Jimmy Sexton. “He’s been sick for two days,” Sexton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch following practice Tuesday afternoon. “He had a 103 temperature.”

Reports throughout the day stated that Tebow has been suffering from strep throat since Saturday, and high fevers are commonly associated with that illness. Robby Tebow, Tim’s brother, told Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel that Tebow had a 103.5-degree fever Monday and barely got any sleep as he sweated throughout the night. He has been on IV for the last two days but has not missed a single Senior Bowl event.

Tebow struggled during Monday’s practice, by all accounts, with most of the criticism centered on his fumbling of snaps from under center. He also had some footwork issues and kept bringing the ball down to his waist when winding up to throw. However, Tebow appeared to rebound Tuesday by using his legs and making some nice deep passes, though two tosses late in practice were considered dropped interceptions and he had one fumbled snap during 11-on-11 drills.

Fowler also reported that Tebow has already sat down with representatives from the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings and had a more formal meeting with the entire coaching staff of the Carolina Panthers.

VIDEO: NFL Network’s interview with QB Tim Tebow after Day 2 of Senior Bowl.

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