Tebow Looking to Avoid Heisman Jinx

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Both Florida and Michigan continued getting ready for the Capital One Bowl with another day of practice Saturday in Orlando. The two teams seem to have avoided injury this week and have largely refrained from any controversy at the press conferences as well.

Florida's Tim Tebow continued to be the star attraction, with the impact of the upcoming coaching change at Michigan the primary storyline.

Neither head coach spoke Saturday, but Michigan's coordinators did address the media. Defensive coordinator Ron English denied an ESPN report that he had agreed to join the staff at Louisville after the season, although acknowledging the Cardinals had expressed interest in him. That only added to the questions about Michigan's level of preparation for Florida when almost all their coaches are also busy trying to line up new jobs.

Andre Caldwell remembered what it was like for Florida's players when they were in the same situation in 2004.

"That's a pretty difficult thing, knowing that your coach isn't going to be there with you next year and having to go through that," Caldwell said. "It makes you have a question mark in the back of your mind about what's going on with the program and what direction you're really heading in."

Michigan's players maintain the change isn't having a negative effect on them, although there has been a change in coach Lloyd Carr's demeanor at practice.

"He's not as uptight as he usually is," Wolverine safety Brandent Englemon said. "He's allowing us to talk a lot more and we're having a lot more intensity."

Tebow is still getting used to the scrutiny that comes with being the Heisman Trophy winner. Historically, Heisman winners have often done poorly in their ensuing bowl game. Troy Smith's performance in the BCS Championship game against Florida last year provided Tebow an up close and personal look at the way enjoying success too much can cause a humbling defeat.

Interestingly, Florida's two previous Heisman winners have avoided the supposed jinx. Steve Spurrier played well in Florida's Orange Bowl win against Georgia Tech after the 1966 season and Danny Wuerffel was brilliant in Florida's national title winning beatdown of FSU in the 1997 Sugar Bowl. Tebow's consulted with Wuerffel on how to handle the bowl game, but seems puzzled by the idea of the Heisman causing problems.

"A lot of people say, by winning the Heisman, how does it change you or how are you going to change to adapt with it?" Tebow said. "Plain and simple, you don't change. Maybe other people's perception is different about you, but your perception about you and how you do things isn't different at all."

Urban Meyer never worked at Michigan, but he does have a tie to their staff. Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord reflected on Meyer's younger days when they were together at Colorado State.

"As a receiver coach, Urban was a lot like a line coach - very hard and tough and demanding with his players," DeBord said. "You could see that at some point he would get his time as a head coach because he was so well organized. He had a great relationship with the players and his success hasn't surprised me at all."

Sunday will be the final full practices for each team. Florida's is scheduled to wrap up at 3:15.


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