TWO BITS: Tebow’s new role; Meyer interviewed

1 » Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been called plenty of things in his four years at the University of Florida. From being called “Superman” to having thousands of Chuck Norris-like facts written about him, much of the focus has been on Tebow’s dominating presence both in the huddle and in life. On Saturday, as friend of OGGOA Dan Shanoff points out, Tebow morphed into another version of himselfTrent Dilfer. That’s right. Dilfer – the former Baltimore Ravens quarterback who was considered the quintessential “game manager” when leading his team to a Super Bowl.

2 » Head coach Urban Meyer spoke about Tebow, the impressive Gators defense, recruiting in South Florida, the success of wide receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy in the NFL and much more with Joe Rose on 560 WQAM. Click here to listen to the recorded interview.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow is tough; Meyer and recruits; airing it out; alcohol changes for Fla-Ga

1 » Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow has always been a tough person and even tougher football player. He has scored a touchdown on a broken leg (for Nease in high school), played with a fractured hand, run over players with a hyper-extended knee and played through seasons with injuries to his back and shoulder. But coming back from a concussion is not about being tough. It is about the brain – both protecting it and using it to make sure you do not return too soon.

2 » The worst part for a head coach about having their phone number leaked is not just changing the number but making sure everyone has the new one. This includes staff, players, parents and, perhaps most importantly, recruits. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that Urban Meyer is a recruiting powerhouse all his own and took care of that situation swiftly. “Oh, we e-mailed the recruits and all that, so it’s OK,” Meyer said on Monday. “We’re doing alright. We got a plan.”

3 » As referenced Monday in his press conference, Meyer seeks to improve the Gators’ passing attack. Even though, as one OGGOA reader pointed out, Florida’s appears to be ahead of pace in that area compared to 2008, it is not where Meyer wants it to be. “I think we’re pretty close,” Meyer said. “I like where we’re at.” For Tebow though, stats are not everything. “We’re 5-0 and very happy with that,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we score 13 points or 2 points, as long as we win the game.” It would still do the Gators good to improve in their aerial attack. “Hopefully we’ll keep progressing and getting that timing, getting that rhythm and getting that feel,” Tebow said.

4 » The event formerly but no longer officially referred to as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is doing even more to curb alcohol consumption. There will be fewer places to buy alcohol at the Jacksonville Landing and no longer will vendors be allowed to walk around the property selling shots. University of Florida President Bernie Machen has been adamant about making Florida-Georgia weekend safer, and the city of Jacksonville, FL, is willing to abide him in a new plan that was submitted on Friday.

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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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There are Strong issues in college football

Originally written Jan. 30, 2009; edited Oct. 12, 2009

Racism, bigotry, oppression, hate and lack of acceptance are great for the football program at the University of Florida.

Calm down and hold your horses before you pass judgment – let me explain. The Florida Gators do not advocate or support these absurd ideologies – you can now take a breath – but its opponents certainly do.

Otherwise, how can you explain the fact that a man like Charlie Strong has yet to be offered a head coaching job in NCAA Division-IA football? (Sorry, I do not recognize this new B.S. “FBS” designation.)

How can you explain that a man who has been defensive coordinator at one of the best and most talented football programs in the country for eight straight years, finding success under three different head coaches, has not advanced from said position?

Because he buttons the top button of his polo shirts? Please.

How can you explain that one of the best defensive minds in college football – a man who held the “best offense in NCAA history” in the 2008 Oklahoma Sooners to 14 points, did the same in 2006 to the Ohio State Buckeyes, whose defense only gave up more than 21 points in one game in all of 2008 and is now averaging only 6.4 points per game in 2009 – has not been recognized as such?

Because he graduated from the University of Central Arkansas? No way.

How can you explain that one of the best college recruiters (Rivals top 25) to come around the state of Florida (arguably the most talent-rich state in the union) cannot land a head coaching job at a university looking to dive into the aforementioned talent pool?

Because he lost his only game as head coach, the 2004 Peach Bowl (six years ago), by 17 points? Come on…

How can you explain that a man: with 27 years of collegiate coaching experience at major universities (Florida, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Southern Illinois, Texas A&M); who has coached in 19 bowl games (including 12 in January); who has coached under Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer; whose defenses at UF have (a) scored points off turnovers in 41 of 64 games , (b) intercepted 85 passes in five years, (c) ranked first in the SEC and second in the nation in rushing defense the past three seasons [all numbers prior to 2009 season]; and who will soon be the longest tenured defensive coordinator in school history, still has not been given a chance to do for another school what he has done so well at Florida?

Because he is an African-American man.

Because he has a Caucasian wife.

And because he refuses to apologize for either.

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TWO BITS: Meyer sought advice; East-West Shrine

1 » Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer sought the advice of his mentors and fellow coaches in making a decision regarding quarterback Tim Tebow. He spoke with current ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, former Ohio State Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce and two current coaches whose names he kept private. “I learned a lot these past two weeks,” Meyer said.

2 » Tebow, middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, wide receiver Riley Cooper, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and kick returner Brandon James have been invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL.

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URBAN MEYER to GameDay: “Do these rings count as part of my wardrobe?”

ESPN College GameDay Commercial with Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer:

Meyer plays bocce ball with the GameDay crew, and Kirk Herbstreit offers some unnecessary wardrobe advice.

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Grading the No. 1 Florida Gators game at LSU

Each week following the conclusion of a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will grade the team position-by-position on how it performed in that match-up. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the LSU Tigers in Death Valley.

QUARTERBACK: A
Tim Tebow was asked to tone it down and be a game manager, something that is not necessarily in his nature. Nevertheless, knowing the significance of the injury he came back from and the wishes of the coaching and medical staff, he did exactly that. An inexplicable interception late was Tebow’s only flaw on the night, and the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback made good throws when they were called.

RUNNING BACKS: A
No huge game-breaking runs from the Gators attack Saturday, but that is not something you can expect against the Tigers. Running back Jeff Demps was a madman, gaining 86 tough yards on 16 carries while Emmanuel Moody took some of the power rushing load off Tebow with six carries for 42 yards of his own. Moody showed up when he was needed the most, and that is what counts.

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SIX BITS: Wrapping up Florida at LSU

1 » While Florida Gators doctors were stressed about the eventual results of quarterback Tim Tebow‘s tests on Saturday, Tebow was more scared Friday afternoon while he was flying into the game. Tebow, a notoriously bad flier, often gets sick on flights – especially when there is a lot of turbulence. “I didn’t get sick, which was a great test for the doctors,” Tebow said. “Honestly, I think God kept me healthy on that plane ride, because most of the time I would probably have gotten sick on that plane ride, and that would have looked bad as far as me playing.”

2 » Saturday night’s game was not all about Tebow, as the Gators have another leader out there on the field. Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes finished with a team-high 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Spikes lined up all over the field, playing both middle and outside linebacker positions as well as at defensive end. “Spikes felt like he got called out earlier in the day on ESPN by (Kirk) Herbstreit. He felt like he got called out, so I guess he stepped up tonight,” senior linebacker Ryan Stamper said.

3 » While Florida made a name for themselves on the ground in Death Valley, the biggest play of the game was through the air when Tebow hooked up with wide receiver Riley Cooper for the game’s only touchdown. “Coop’s a playmaker and we gotta keep going to him,” tight end Aaron Hernandez said. “When we need to take a shot, Coop’s the one to go to.”

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