Look at Depth - QB

With the 2008 version of the Florida Gators getting ready to hit the practice field in less than a week, the anticipation of a title run couldn't be more fervent. With that said, here's a position-by-position look at the Gators as they prepare for Urban Meyer's fourth season in Gainesville.

This will be the easiest group to evaluate – the quarterbacks. Who starts under center is a no-brainer, but what happens after that might be in question.

Tim Tebow -- Tebow will try to post another spectacular season while improving on Florida's 9-4 mark from a year ago. There aren't too many things Tebow can improve on from last year, but one key area will be how he handles fourth quarter situations.

Against Georgia, the Gators trailed by 12 points with just less than four minutes remaining. Tebow was able to drive the Gators a good distance, needing two scores, but a fumble in the red zone ended Florida's chances. That was Tebow's most effective drive in a two-minute situation. At LSU, the Gators had 1:09 left and needed a touchdown, advancing the ball just 34 yards on seven plays. Then in the Capital One Bowl against Michigan, Florida had 2:21 left needing a touchdown and had a four-and-out.

Florida could have also pulled out a win against Auburn with a fourth quarter drive, but the offense had a three-and-out before handing the ball back to the Tigers who put together a game-winning drive ending with a field goal at the gun.

Florida's inability to pull out a game in the fourth quarter last season wasn't Tebow's fault, especially for a quarterback starting his first season. But with a year under his belt, there are several things that Tebow's experience should be able to help the Gators should they be faced with a similar situation. Managing the play clock, managing downs and yardage, managing the game clock and quickly recognizing defenses should all come easier to Tebow this season, which should help the timely effectiveness of Florida's offense.

Others to watch…

  • Cameron Newton - The true sophomore enters the season with the experience of last season under his belt, but a less than spectacular spring has left the door open for the back-up gig. With a great spring (or fall camp), Newton can clinch the role. After all, he's got game experience already under his belt, but a hungry redshirt freshman will be pushing him.

  • John Brantley - Having to watch last season from the sidelines, Brantley is looking to play a bigger role in the fall. He's a purer quarterback than Newton, but not quite the athlete that Newton is. One thing going for Brantley is that he has four full seasons still left in the Orange and Blue.

    Total scholarship players – 3

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


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