Tebow Ready for Big Rival

Gator quarterback Tim Tebow has posted rather modest numbers through the first two games of the season, but the reigning Heisman Trophy winner says he and the Gator offense are ready for the start of SEC play. Florida will begin its quest for a return to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta when the Gators visit Tennessee on Saturday.

The Vols are coming off a somewhat sloppy 35-3 win over UAB after opening its season with a stunning overtime loss at UCLA. That loss looks a lot worse after that same UCLA team was pummeled by Brigham Young 59-0.

Last season the Gators had a big game against the boys from Rocky Top, scoring the final 31 points of the game in a 59-20 win. It was Florida's third straight over Tennessee. While the Vols lead the overall series 19-18, the Gators are 16-6 in 22 meetings since 1976.

Tebow had a big game against the Vols last year, passing for 299 yards and two touchdowns while Percy Harvin gained 75 rushing and 120 receiving. Tebow shared some of his thoughts on the Gator offense and the Tennessee rivalry.

Assessing the offense against Miami...

"You look at the Miami game, watching film it wasn't like we were getting beaten off the blocks. It was just some missed assignments and different things like that. It was just a lot of little mistakes and that's something that we have to focus on."

Is the Tennessee game still as big as Georgia or FSU?

"I hope so. I think so. I think some of the buzz might have been taken away as far as the national media and the overall excitement. But I think the fans still have that rivalry. There's still that rivalry between the players. There's still that rivalry between the coaches. It's a huge game. I still think it's one of the biggest games of the year and I'm excited about it.

Do you have to "sell" it to the rest of the team?

"I don't think I have to sell anything to my teammates about how big this game is. They already know that; especially the ones who have been around for a while and know what a big rivalry this is."

Does the huge crowd and all the noise bother you?

"It doesn't bother me, per se, but it does complicate your communication. You're trying to communicate with your linemen and have them hear all of your calls and you really have to be thorough in yelling as loud as you can and making sure they hear you."

Last year the Gators whipped Tennessee, but it was the Vols in the SEC Championship Game at the end of the season. What did you and your team learn from that?

"I think it just shows the depth of the SEC and how you have to come to play every week. If you win one game, you know big deal you played well one game. It doesn't matter unless you do it every week."

Two years ago Tebow had his first big play as a Gator, picking up a crucial 4th-and-one conversion in helping the Gators to a 21-20 win. He may have to make another such play for the Gators to leave Rocky Top with a win.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel

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