SIX Tebow BITS: Meyer, Noah, Wuerffel, Brady

1 » Though he is now at Ohio State, former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer still obviously has an affinity for quarterback Tim Tebow. Speaking with The Gainesville Sun, Meyer explained how proud he was of what Tebow has been able to accomplish this year. “Isn’t it great?” he said. “He did it in high school, he did it in college and now he’s doing it in the NFL. What more do you want? The thing about Tim is he makes the people around him better. It’s the essence of football. It doesn’t matter what style of offense you run. It’s a team sport.” As to those non-believers? “They just don’t want to buy in,” Meyer said. “Even John Elway. It doesn’t matter if you brought him in if you’re Elway or the general manager. Who cares? Just enjoy it.”

2 » Crossing paths with Tebow during his time in Gainesville, FL, former Gators center Joakim Noah (now of the Chicago Bulls) also waxed poetic about the former Heisman Trophy winner. Just one day before Tebow faced the Chicago Bears, Noah was excited to show his Florida pride at practice. “Timothyyyy!” Noah said proudly, according to ESPNChicago.com. “We got to show Timothy a little love here. For all the haters out there, you know the guy is kicking ass. Making me very proud to be a Gator boy.” He added that, while he may not share the same belief system as Tebow, that does not make him any less of a supporter. “It’s a beautiful story,” he said. “He is who he is. There’s no lie about who he is. He’s comfortable. Me personally, I have completely different beliefs than him. But at the same time I respect the fact that he speaks his truth. He speaks his truth and he’s a warrior. He’s a winner. At the end of the day, his teammates respect that.” Noah went on to talk about the two being in a class together and how, being a “Gator boy” he “love[s] the Tebow talk.”

Read four more BITS about Tebow…after the break.
Continue Reading » SIX Tebow BITS: Meyer, Noah, Wuerffel, Brady

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Brantley, volleyball, Herring

1 » Writing for ESPN Insider, columnist Chris Sprow makes a case for why Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow will indeed be a successful NFL signal caller – whether or not that ends up happening in Mile High. In the piece, Sprow cites quotes from 1986 that were said about Steve Young but are just as applicable to Tebow and uses ESPN‘s advanced metric “QBR” to point out how effective he is each game.

Ultimately, Young struggled and was traded away from Tampa in frustration; he was viewed as a bust. He didn’t become a starter, then a star, for years. Perhaps Tebow also will be traded at some point, a wasted pick, a project for another coach. But there’s also good reason to think that Tebow can be a very good NFL quarterback because, in the same way Tampa once miscalculated on Young, there’s reason to think we haven’t done a good job of accurately deciphering what a quarterback like Tebow can do. […]

The bottom line is this: If you want to evaluate Tebow as a quarterback, you have to understand that what he lacks as a passer can be made up for by what he brings with his legs. This isn’t a new argument, but it now has additional context. […]

Orton is a much better passer but a statue in the pocket, costing the Broncos points with sacks — and Tebow’s 82.1 passer rating in 2010 would have been the best among rookies if it had stretched for 16 games. […] Tebow, were he to start in Week 1, would continue to be as raw a passer as you can find in the NFL. But this unrefined product is a lot better than some believe, and he might even be more valuable than Denver’s other option.

2 » ESPN also takes a look at Florida Gators redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley and in what ways he needs to improve under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis this season. Specifically, he points to Brantley’s first down completion percentage and touch with balls thrown more than 20 yards down the field. Brantley completed passes on first down with a 110.8 efficiency in 2010 (113th in the nation), 28 points lower than the FBS average (138.8). On deep balls, Brantley only completed 20.8 percent of his passes (5-of-24) including only two against Southeastern Conference opponents. It is also noted that 41.7 percent of Brantley’s deep passes were overthrown.

3 » A pair of Florida senior volleyball players, outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel and setter/right-side Kelly Murphy, were named to the 2011 Preseason All-SEC Team on Tuesday. The first volleyball players in league history to be named to the preseason All-SEC Team (2009-11, All-SEC First or Second Team (2009, 2010) and SEC All-Freshman Team (2008), the duo hopes to lead their team to another conference championship this season. The Gators are ranked No. 9 nationally in the preseason poll and begin competition at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Aug. 26 against Boston College.

4 » Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan has officially lost his fourth staffer this offseason. Following the departure of three assistants in the late spring, Donovan’s strength and conditioning coach Matt Herring has decided to leave the Gators to take the director of athletic performance job with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. With Florida for both national championships, Herring is excited about his new opportunity. “I really hadn’t thought about it until San Antonio came calling,’’ Herring told UF senior writer Scott Carter. “The main reason why we even considered it is one, it’s a great organization and we certainly follow them, and then the draw to get closer to family and see my little girl get a chance to get closer to her grandparents and foster those relationships. It was just a tremendous opportunity for us on a personal level. The University of Florida is a fantastic place to be and Coach Donovan and the administration certainly tried to encourage me to stay here, but at the end of the day, they can’t move Gainesville to Texas, and that was the biggest draw.’’

Extra BIT » Incoming freshman golfer J.D. Tomlinson has a unique opportunity next week as he will be competing to win a U.S. Amateur event at the age of 18. Only four former Gators have accomplished this feat thus far, but Tomlinson plans to give it a go before even taking a swing in an Orange & Blue polo shirt.

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Tebow adds more supporters, lofty comparisons

Arguing whether or not Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL has seemingly become a national pastime with fans, league executives, former players, current players and analysts all having an opinion on his future without even seeing the former Florida Gators star step into a professional huddle.

Supporters and doubters alike realize that Tebow has some work to do in order to be a polished NFL quarterback. Nevertheless, what some term as “flaws,” others believe are characteristics that make Tebow unique and will allow him to succeed at the next level – perhaps even beyond his most ardent fans’ expectations.

ESPN spoke with a few former NFL signal callers known for their mobility – most prominently Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton and Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh – and asked them to evaluate Tebow’s ability to succeed in the pros.

Tarkenton: “I know that Tim Tebow is not the prototypical quarterback. I wasn’t either. Neither was Roger Staubach, even Bob Griese wasn’t. I had my own style of play and did OK. The only thing that will hurt him is coaches. Most coaches don’t understand quarterbacks. Don’t try to coach him into what he’s going to be. That would be a disaster. […] Peyton Manning can’t do what Tim Tebow does, and vice versa. […] The quarterback position is about playmaking, it’s about leadership. It’s a complex position you can’t test for.”

Read what else was said about Tebow and his future…after the break!
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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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SIX BITS: Tennis, Tebow’s defense, Cunningham’s future, Mullen’s job, Johnson’s start, Moyer

1 » The No. 3 Florida Gators women’s tennis team was honored extensively by the Southeastern Conference on Wednesday, taking home the top three available annual awards. Freshman Lauren Embree won SEC Player of the Year, freshman Allie Will took home SEC Freshman of the Year honors and Roland Thornqvist was named SEC Coach of the Year. Also representing the team were seniors Marrit Boonstra and Anastasia Revzina, who were named to the All-SEC First Team and Second Team, respectively. Embree and Will also earned All-SEC First Team honors and placement on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Florida was undefeated (11-0) during the regular season, won the 2010 SEC Tournament and will compete in the 2010 NCAA Team Championship beginning May 14.

2 » When it comes to former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s future with the Denver Broncos, you will find no stronger advocate or staunch defender than Denver Post columnist Woody Paige. As someone who suggested the team select Tebow from the get-go, Paige has gone on the offensive against a number of his readers who continue to question head coach Josh McDaniels’ decision, comparing Tebow to the likes of John Elway and San Francisco’s Steve Young.

Check out four more BITS on Cunningham, Mullen and Florida baseball…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tennis, Tebow’s defense, Cunningham’s future, Mullen’s job, Johnson’s start, Moyer

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Could Tebow be the steal of the 2010 NFL Draft?

For all of the NFL Draft experts discounting former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow‘s chances of succeeding at his chosen position in the professional ranks, a plethora of former and current players, coaches and talent evaluators are suddenly making their voices heard and saying otherwise.

Early Friday, OGGOA told you what Kurt Hester, director of training for D1 Sports Training, had to say about Tebow’s progression since graduating. He has also been praised recently by former and current head coaches Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and Bill Belichick and former NFL QBs Jim Kelly and Steve Young, among others.

Now Tebow is receiving rave reviews from NFL talent evaluator Ken Herock, who has prepared more than 40 quarterbacks in his career for the NFL Combine. His company, Pro Prep, simulates the interview process conducted by coaches, general managers and scouts; Tebow, not surprisingly, came away with flying colors.

“He’s by far the best [prospect] with whom I’ve ever worked,” Herock told ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli in an unsolicited phone conversation. “He walks into a room and he just energizes it. Whatever ‘it’ is, he’s definitely got ‘it.’ And even for a guy like me, who’s done this for so long, you almost get goosebumps.”

“His release might be a little low at this point, but a lot of people talked about Philip Rivers’ delivery too before he was drafted, and look at what he’s done. I’ve heard all the supposed [negatives]. But I watched [Tebow] on the field and his velocity is good enough, and so is his accuracy. As far as his learning, you don’t have to tell him anything twice. And he’s a student of the game. I recommended that he watch some tapes of Steve Young, and he said, ‘Oh, I’ve already done that.’ He wants to be good. He wants to succeed. And he will succeed.”

“I’ve seen him on TV and heard all the stuff about him, and you think to yourself, ‘It’s too good to be all be true.’ But there is nothing phony about him at all,” Herock raved. “He’s about as genuine as you can get. If there was one word I would use to describe him, it would be ‘winner.’ People will have to convince me he’s not a quarterback and that he won’t succeed.”

Tebow, who continues to be seemingly underrated by experts like Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay, could very well end up being the steal of the 2010 NFL Draft – even if he turns out to be a first-round pick. Which scouts, general managers, coaches and owners become enamored with him enough to take the perceived risk of selecting him on the first day still remains to be seen.

OGGOA will be offering live coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Photo Credits: David Bergman/Sports Illustrated, Associated Press

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Monday press conference – Gators vs. Razorbacks

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer and senior quarterback Tim Tebow (along with other players and coaches) speak with the media every Monday afternoon. Here are some notes from their press conferences. More information and quotes will come later.

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