What I like about Tim Tebow: His mobility allows him to not only run but also to "scramble to throw." Most of your big pass plays against great coverage teams come when a quarterback scrambles which allows receivers to break out of tight coverage. I can go all the way back to 1991 and the Shane Mathews touchdown to Harrison Houston versus FSU to illustrate an example of what I am talking about.
Tebow is much more athletic than Shane but he brings that element on every play. The defense must account for him three ways: first, with his arm and passing ability, second, with his scrambling and running ability, and third, his pocket awareness and ability to buy time to make big throws.
I also like Tebow's parents and feel they are the right balance for him to be successful. Finally I like his physical attributes which are far superior to any other recent highly recruited guys. Maybe Jamarcus Russell who had the size could match up with him but not Chris Leak, Brady Quinn, Kyle Wright or Ryan Perrilloux. He is built like an NFL quarterback and only time will tell if becomes one.
The pressure for Tebow: Certainly he will have great expectations and I am not doing anything to lower those. What I would like to see is an honest quarterback competition in the spring. I think Chris Leak deserves to start and is worthy of getting a shot to win a title. But the difference in being the starting quarterback at Florida and being mentioned with Gator greats Shane Mathews, Danny Wuerffel and Rex Grossman is championships. This is Chris's last chance and to be as good as he can be I think he needs to be pushed. Shane beat out four guys for the job and was pulled early in his career. Danny fought off numerous battles with Terry Dean even losing at the end of 1993. Rex played his best when coaches tried to force Brock Berlin on him during fall practice. I don't think Leak has ever had to win the job. I don't blame him for that and he deserves to be the starter, but I think Tebow can push him if the coaches allow it. If that happens the level of play goes up not only for your starter in Leak but for the backup Tim Tebow. Leak needs Tebow and the challenge to make himself the best he can be. I hope the coaches open the battle in the spring and allow Tim to challenge for the job. May the best man win and if it's Chris Leak maybe UF will be back in Atlanta.
Playing a freshman: Coaches from the "Old School" don't want to play freshmen at any position, but college football has changed. I think you have to coach them up and get them ready. Meyer said at one point this season that other teams are playing freshman at receiver so the Gators should be able to. I believe Meyer will change his view of playing freshman and play more of them this season, especially on offense. I think it's easy to say that quarterbacks cannot adjust as freshman but remember a lot of guys are coming in for spring practice. There is time to adjust to the speed of the game. Simplify things and let the player use his natural ability instead of thinking too much. Remember Chris Leak played real well as a starter as a freshman in the SEC. His lost to Ole Miss and FSU his freshman season but he also beat Georgia and national champion LSU, plus he had UF in position to beat Miami at the end of the game in the Orange Bowl. If he was ready to play then I think this kid (Tebow) will be every bit as ready this fall.
What do I think works best?: Play Tebow a series a half with scripted plays both run and pass. Don't be afraid to use him regardless of score and field position. This is somewhat like what Georgia did with D.J. Shockley and David Greene. I think coaches hesitate to put a specific plan for playing a young quarterback because of the flow of the game. If you tell both guys all week it's the third series then no matter what stick to it, the plan will work. Chris Leak and Tim Tebow are team first individuals and I don't think Leak would make any waves by losing snaps for a couple of series a game. I mean you are trying to develop a backup in case something happens and you are also looking to the future. What kid would not want his program to be good after he graduates?
Meyer needs to formulate a plan this summer and implement it with no precautions this fall. The benefits of this plan are as follows: (1) Tebow gives defenses a different look; (2) Your starter can watch from the sideline and see the defense for a series; (3) It can energize a slow starting offense; (4) It develops a quarterback for the future (see results on Shockley); (5) It keeps both quarterbacks on their toes each week and each practice; (6) It keeps both quarterbacks happy and (7) If an injury happens to either one you have one who has game experience and game preparation experience each and every week. Sounds like a good plan to me.
The last two weekends I spent time doing the FHSAA Football finals for Sun Sports. I have come up with my All Finals teams based on performance that day (not recruiting). I have also come up with guys to watch in each level this year and the years to come.
The All Ack High School Finals Football Team
QB: Tim Tebow, Nease, 4A-Sr. RB: Chris Rainey, Lakeland, 5A-Jr. RB: Emanuel Cook, Palm Beach Gardens, 6A-Sr. RB: Willie Floyd, Hollywood Chaminade, 2A-Sr. WR: Tanaras Jones, Pahokee, 2B-Sr. WR: Ryan Ellis, Nease, 4A-Sr. WR: Ash Parker, Port St. Joe, 1A-Sr. TE: Lex Peek, Trinity Catholic, 2B-Jr. OL: Daniel Wenger, St Thomas Aquinas, 5A-Sr. OL: Emeka Nwankwo, Hollywood Chaminade, 2A-Jr. OL: LaShawn Pouncy, Lakeland 5A-Jr OL: Travis Crowley, Nease, 4A-Sr. OL: Ed Ferguson, Hollywood Chaminade, 2A-Jr. Kicker: Caleb Sturgis St. Augustine, 3A-So. Athlete: Robert Love QB, Pahokee, 2B-Sr.
Defense: (I couldn't help it I picked 12 guys)
DL: Tremaine Turner, Palm Beach Gardens, 6A-Sr. DL: John Brown, Lakeland, 5A-Jr. DL: Gene Atkins, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5A-Sr. DL: John Jones Jr. Sarasota Booker, 3A-Jr. LB: Vincent Cheves, Pahokee, 2B-Sr. LB: Rashad Coleman, Lakeland, 5A-Sr. LB: Mannie Wellington, Nease, 4A-Sr. LB: Rudell Small, Trinity Catholic 2B-Jr. DB: Ricky Gary, Pahokee, 2B-Sr. DB: Jacques Rickerson, St Augustine, 3A-Sr. DB: Ahmad Black, Lakeland, 5A-Jr. DB: Glen Stanley, Trinity Catholic, 2B-Jr. Punter: Zach Ugarte, Trinity Catholic, 2B-Sr. Returner: Brandon James, St.Augustine, 3A-Sr. Returner: Onterrio McCalleb,Ft. Meade, 1A-So.
Here is a list of players I did not mention to watch. I feel they could play Division I.
Sam Young, OL, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5A Sam Shields, WR, Sarasota Booker, 3A Lance Tillison, WR, Seffner Armwood, 4A Brad McCllelan, QB, Deerfield Beach, 6A Brandon Bell, WR, Deerfield Beach, 6A Marcus Lind, OL, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5A Quentin Hancock, WR, St Augustine, 3A Kirkston Edwards, DB, Palm Beach Gardens, 6A Mike Blanc, OL/DL, Deerfield Beach, 6A Carlos Everett, WR, South Sumter, 2A Matt Grier, WR, Lakeland, 5A
John Brantley III, QB, Trinity Catholic, 2B Deion Lecorn, WR, Trinity Catholic, 2B Ryan Goldman, OL, Hollywood Chaminade, 2A Jamar Taylor, RB, Lakeland, 5A Art Evans, WR, Evangel Christian, 1B Major Wright, DB, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5A James Pouncey, OL, Lakeland, 5A Rai-Shawn Wilson, RB, St Augustine, 3A Jordan Hammond, TE, Lakeland, 5A Justin Hickman, QB, Seffner Armwood, 4A
Finally some highlights from the two weeks that you can see on Sun Sports: Onterrio McCalleb, Ft. Meade, broke the state record for return yards in a game and became the first person to return two kickoffs for touchdowns. He kept his team in the game and is only a sophomore … Robert "Rah-Rah" Love, Pahokee, set the single game record for pass with over 500 yard in the game with Trinity Catholic. His team showed a lot of heart coming back from a 30-7 deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. His receivers each set individual records including Tanaras Jones.
Hollywood Chaminade's offensive line is made up of juniors and put the only running clock on an opponent with the win over South Sumter. It was the most impressive win of the finals … Dedrick Dodge, former FSU defensive back, brings a state title to Polk County with Evangel Christian's win over Graceville. The Graceville team got a pre game speech from former Gator and Graceville legend Neal Anderson.
Former Gator Kerwin Bell brought Ocala its first state title since the 70's and he looked a lot like Spurrier in doing so. He kept trying to throw versus the blitz and allowed Pahokee to get back into the game. But Kerwin (unlike Spurrier in 1994 vs FSU) went to the ground game and got a game winning touchdown run. Bell's team showed a lot of guts against the defending champs in Pahokee ... St. Augustine and Jacques Rickerson used two trick plays to open a big lead and coast over Sarasota Booker. You will be very impressed with Rickerson's coverage skills. Shields caught a late TD over him but it was only when the game was out of reach.
Seffner Armwood and junior quarterback Justin Hickman made the Class 4A game a memorable one. A questionable play call on the hook and ladder with Nease allowed the Hawks back in the game … Lakeland's skill guys are the difference in the matchup with St. Thomas. This national title game had everything but the Dreadnaughts dominated because their skill position players outplayed the Raiders. Many thought the 6A game would be a dud but the first half was very exciting. I was very impressed with Gardens and its running back Emanuel Cook. He wants an offer from Miami but could end up at South Carolina. Bubba Spurrier was in to see him the day before the game.
Enjoy the FHSAA Football Finals during Christmas. Go to Sunsportstv.com for air times.
If there is one thing Tim Tebow could improve on what would it be?: Fumbles, because he ran so much in his career that he did have a higher number of fumbles. He had a late fumble that allowed Armwood to get a shot to tie in the game. I was told that he does not throw interceptions but had been prone to fumble in his career. St Augustine was his nemesis in high school, frustrating the Nease offense with great speed and coaching. The Yellow Jackets were the Oklahoma to Chris Simms and the Florida to Peyton Manning for Tebow in his career. Meyer preaches ball security so you would expect this to improve at UF.