Homecoming for Tebow

Growing up near Jacksonville, the Florida/Georgia game was a tradition for Tim Tebow and his family. Now, the sophomore quarterback will make his first start in the game he grew up watching.

"He told me, ‘I'm going back home to Duval.'" Urban Meyer said after Wednesday's practice. "I said, ‘what are you talking about?' He's really excited."

Tim Tebow leads the SEC in passing efficiency, completing 66.1 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns against only three interceptions. He heads into Saturday's game as one of the leaders for the Heisman Trophy.

"He said when he was a kid, he would go to his Pop Warner football games and then go to the Florida/Georgia game back when it was the Gator Bowl," Meyer said. "It's a special game for him."

"It is a huge game and growing up for me it was always a big deal," Tebow said. "I went to many games with my brothers and dad and we would watch them rain or shine. There have been a lot of great games and thankfully in the past, Florida has done pretty well."

Tebow's wide receivers have been banged up as of late, but Riley Cooper who suffered a broken finger over the weekend against Kentucky was back on the practice field on Wednesday. Cooper was running around a bit, but Meyer said it's still too early to say whether or not Cooper will be available on Saturday against the Bulldogs.

After Saturday's win in Lexington, Tebow has confidence in another target, though. Junior receiver Louis Murphy hauled in a 66-yard touchdown pass and ranks second on the Gators with 23 receptions. It's quite a turnaround for Murphy, who Meyer described as a train wreck when he was a freshman.

"He's changed everything from A to Z," Meyer said. "Academically, spiritually, the way he lives his life, he's a leader. He's made some great catches for us and it's not coincidence. I think players figure that out at some point. Trust with the coaching staff equates to production. I love Louis Murphy, and he's a special guy."

Meyer said someday he could see Murphy as an executive.

"He's got that kind of persona and that kind of presence," he said.

Nothing against the officials

There have been some questionable calls throughout Meyer's two-plus years tenure in the SEC, but overall, he said he hasn't had many issues with the league's officials.

"I know the SEC had a little bit of a bad rap a few years ago, but I've had no issues whatsoever," Meyer said. "There's been great communication. I think we have terrific league officials."

After his first year with the Gators, Meyer used to tell a story on his speaking circuit about his first experience with the Florida/Georgia game when an official questioned his decision to fake a punt. But he said other than the Outback Bowl later that season, he's never had a problem.

"The Outback Bowl was bad deal," Meyer said. "That was a major miss call and I saw it clearly. The guy said something back to me and that was a bad deal for about three quarters."

Meyer said he never worries about being penalized for anything he's ever said to an official. He remembers one incident, though, that sticks out in his mind.

"In 1986, I remember when I was at Ohio State and Bo Schembechler is on the hash mark throwing his headsets," Meyer said. "I was saying, ‘what are you doing?' He didn't get a flag though, but that was also Bo Schembechler."


  • Meyer said Wednesday was another good workout. Said Meyer, "I just think that guys are getting a little older. Joe Haden is a lot more experienced."
  • Carlton Medder didn't practice, but ran around a little bit. He left practice carrying two crutches.
  • Meyer expects Brandon Antwine to be dismissed from the hospital tomorrow. The sophomore defensive tackle has been bothered with a sore lower back for the last two weeks.
  • A few of the true freshmen defensive linemen have made strides in recent weeks. Said Meyer, "Trattou has made some strides. He had a sack on Saturday. And Duke Lemmens. Terron Sanders is most improved. John Brown is getting a little better."
  • If safety Major Wright can't play on Saturday because of a broken thumb, two are waiting in the wings. Said Meyer, "We have Kyle Jackson and Dorian Munroe, so we have able bodies. They just have to play their tales off on Saturday." … Jackson in a Jacksonville native.

    Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski

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