Stumping for Heisman

After Tim Tebow's performance against the South Carolina Gamecocks, it's a foregone conclusion that he'll be in New York City as one of the finalists for the Heisman trophy. But he would rather see Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson there instead.

The logic makes sense. If Woodson puts up huge numbers in the next two weeks and can lead the Wildcats to wins over Georgia and Tennessee, Florida returns to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. It's a trade that Tim Tebow said after Saturday's game he would be more than willing to make.

Humble as can be after his 120 yards of rushing and 304 yards of passing he put up against South Carolina, Tebow said his numbers, if there good enough to win a Heisman, reflect a total team effort.

"That's an honor anytime you're named with that award," Tebow said. "I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just focused on winning our next two games and hopefully getting a shot at the SEC Championship. Anytime you are mentioned for an individual award, it reflects back to the team and how well they did. I think it's an honor for our team and how hard everyone has worked."

Tebow wrapped up his first full season as a starter in the SEC by throwing up 59 points in his SEC debut against Tennessee and 51 against South Carolina on the road. Unfortunately, the Gators stumbled three times along the way, which is the primary thing Tebow focused on while reflecting on the season. Had the Gators been able to win one of those games, they'd already be packing their bags for Atlanta.

"We're huge Kentucky fans," Tebow said. "We had opportunities to win some games, but we didn't do that. We're stuck in a position where we're praying and waiting and rooting for Kentucky. Hopefully, Andre Woodson has some great performances and goes and wins the Heisman for us. That's what I'm looking for."

Tebow shattered all sorts of records on Saturday, but maybe the most impressive was his responsibility for seven touchdowns – five rushing and two passing. Steve Spurrier didn't even realize how many times Tebow found the end zone.

"We're just trying to win the game," Tebow said. "Having coach Spurrier on the other sideline makes you want to score a lot of points. We were just trying to get as far ahead as we could."

Despite some razing from his teammates about his stat sheet stuffing on Saturday, they appreciate their sophomore quarterback and what he can do between the lines.

"He should win the Heisman and if he continues to play like that, there's no reason why he shouldn't win it," said Andre Caldwell who was on the receiving end of 148 of Tebow's passing yards plus a touchdown.

One of the main keys for Tebow was his health. Although he received a cortisone shot for the third straight game for a sore right shoulder, this was the best he's felt since before the injury against Kentucky.

"He was back in his comfort level with his ability to scramble and stay alive in the pocket, and that's when he's at his best," offensive coordinator Dan Mullen said. "We've tried to protect him in the last few weeks. We came in tonight and asked him if he felt good and he said he felt great. I'm ready to carry it whatever you need me to carry it, and we gave it to him."

Gave it to him, they did. Tebow carried 26 times, which was one carry less than his career high set against Ole Miss. After that game, the coaching staff was criticized for their overuse of Tebow, but on Saturday, the SEC was on the line.

"That was our last SEC game," Mullen said. "It was an all or nothing game for us and he knew he was going to carry the load for us. When Percy Harvin wasn't out there, he wanted to carry the load. He was asking to carry it even more than he was. We just monitor it by game and what the situations are. If we're in the fourth quarter and we want to run out the clock, there's no one we'd rather give it to."

Now, Tebow finds himself next to names in the record books like Herschel Walker and Danny Wuerffel.

"That's pretty cool," Tebow said. "Walker was an unbelievable player. I was a little young for him, but I've seen highlights of him play. Anytime you're named in a category with a name like that it's an honor."

Tebow may soon see his name next to even more great players should he win college football's most coveted individual award. And instead of seeing his name with Wuerffel's in the record books, he could see it next to Weurffel's name on the façade of The Swamp.

"He is an unbelievable team player and a high character kid," Mullen said. "There's no one else the University of Florida would rather have represent them than Tim Tebow because of the type of person he is. Whatever award he should win, I'm sure they would be happy to have that type of kid represent their award. We still have a bunch of games left though."

Questions or comments? Contact's Chris Chmielenski

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