Tebow Managing the Offense

After three games last season, the Gator offense was averaging more than 500 yards a game, and Tim Tebow was throwing for 286.7 yards a game. He had accounted for 13 touchdowns – three more touchdowns than what the entire Gator offense has accounted for through three games this season.

But Florida's star quarterback isn't concerned about the lack of offensive numbers through three games this season. The total offense is down close to 200 yards a game, and Tebow's throwing for 167.

He admits some things are different, but the more important thing is that they're accomplishing what they've set out to do and that's win games.

"We are concerned with controlling the clock, taking care of the ball and putting our defense in good position," Tebow said earlier this week. "It's something we've done pretty well so far."

Tebow said the offense's job goes beyond just scoring points. It's also to have productive possessions that ultimately help out the defense if they can't find the end zone.

"I don't think the opposing team has started a possession on our side of the field once this year," Tebow said. "Our goal is to get at least two first downs, and we've done that this year. It keeps from putting our defense in bad positions."

The Gator offense ran a very conservative game plan against the Vols on Saturday. Then again, they found themselves with a 10-point lead before Tennessee ran its fourth play from scrimmage, so there wasn't much need to show a lot of different plays. Tebow said they are not holding anything back.

"It's all there," Tebow said. "It's all in the game plan. We haven't used it quite as much as we have, but we really haven't needed to. Against Tennessee there were some plays that were working for us, and the way the game went, we didn't feel the need to open it up as much. I know people don't like that as much, and as a player you want to go out and make some plays but you have to be content with managing the game. We did a good job of not forcing things."

The game clock has also restricted the Gator offense. Florida is running 20 fewer plays this season and losing two possessions per half.

"It's taken at least 2-3 drives away from us," Tebow said. "It's kind of frustrating. I don't really like the new clock rules. We want to get more plays and we're only getting 50 something plays per game."

Even though the numbers aren't big, the Gator offense has been efficient. Against Tennessee, they only had to punt once and scored on 5-of-8 drives, and two of the drives were at the end of the game where they were trying to run out the clock. They struggled against Miami, punting on six consecutive possessions, but they ended the game scoring on 3-of-4 drives.

"I think we've been efficient with things," Tebow said. "We just haven't been as explosive as we were last year. Obviously, we would have liked to punch some of those in instead of settle for field goals, but we haven't turned the ball over and we've left the defense in good position."

The Gators are also the only team in the country not to turn the ball over yet this season.

"That's always been a huge priority for us at Florida," Tebow said. "If you turn the ball over no matter how good the offense is you're putting the defense in bad positions. Especially at a place like Neyland Stadium, if you make a mistake you can get hurt by it."

Tebow said he likes to score and make big plays, but managing the game like he's been doing this season is part of his development process.

"You like to run around and make big plays and score lots of touchdowns," he said. "We have to manage the game, and I think that's where I've improved a lot. It's running the offense and when I'm called upon to make those plays, I make them. If we can win ball games, I'm happy with that even if I'm not throwing the ball 50 times a game."

Even though the offense isn't very explosive right now, he thinks all the pieces are falling into place for a big season.

"If we are able to manage the game like we did against Tennessee and score some points like we did against Hawaii, I think that's a pretty good recipe," Tebow said. "We'll make those big plays in certain games, but I think we're pretty content with this."

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