Sooner Defenders Downgrade Tebow

The debate in college football has raged all year about why the offenses in the Big 12 have put up such electrifying numbers this season. Apparently Oklahoma's defensive players have concluded it's because the offenses are so much greater than anyone else's in football that it's not even close.

At Sunday morning's press briefings, some of them made clear Florida is included among those who don't measure up.

Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks made it clear he isn't all that impressed with Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, saying last year's Heisman winner would be at the most fourth best in the Big 12 behind Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford as well as Texas's Colt McCoy and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech.

"I really think with those three guys, it's a lot harder to prepare for those guys," Franks said. "Coming in and facing Tebow, he wants to run the ball a lot more. He's predominantly a running quarterback."

"To me, it's going to be a lot easier for us to prepare to be able to stop the run than having to face a quarterback that might throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game."

Tebow averages just under 12 rushing attempts per game, a figure which includes sacks credited as carries. He's thrown a little less than 21 times per game, frequently being lifted early due to Florida being so far ahead of their opponents this year.

When Franks's low opinion of Tebow compared to Big 12 quarterbacks was mentioned to him, senior safety Nic Harris felt his teammate was off base in his assessment. Tebow wouldn't be the fourth best quarterback in the Big 12, he'd actually be the seventh best.

Asked to name the half dozen Big 12 quarterbacks better than Tebow, Harris replied, "Let's see... we've got Reesing (Todd, from Kansas), we've got Harrell (Graham, of Texas Tech), we've got Sam (Bradford, OU's QB)... I mean, any guys in the Big 12, the quarterbacks are great... I wouldn't think that he's probably one of the top guys in the Big 12."

What elevates those quarterbacks above Tebow in Harris's mind?

"The offenses and the numbers they've put up. I mean, you can look at stats."

The stats show Florida scored 45.2 points per game, more than anyone in the Big 12 except for Oklahoma and third best in the nation. They also show Okahoma allowed 24.5 points per game while the Gators allowed only 12.8 each outing.

Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables tried to be diplomatic about the situation when Franks's comments downgrading Tebow were pointed out to him.

"I think Tim is a great player," Venables said. "All the accolades, the attention, the Heisman is all well deserved. He's a much different animal from the other guys we've seen."

Venables might want to convince his players of that before Thursday.

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