Talkin' w/ Tebow

I had a chance to visit with Tim Tebow early Monday in an interview for the Florida Gators' website GatorZone.com. They have generously given me the okay to share excerpts of the conversation with you guys. At some point the entire interview will be posted on that site.

It's strange to think of Tim Tebow getting ready to enter his senior season. In some ways it‘s like he just got here and in other ways it seems like he's been here 10 years. Perhaps no Gator player has had a greater impact on and off the field during his career than the lefty from Jacksonville.

Tebow enters his final year with the Gators having run for 2,037 yards and 43 TD while passing for 6,390 and 67 TD. Amazingly he has thrown just 11 interceptions by being responsible for 110 TD. Unless he gets hurt he'll break the SEC record for TD responsibility and with seven rushing TD this year he'll become the first player in major college history to both run and pass for 50 or more TD in his career.

Here's is part of our conversation:

LV: Are you approaching things differently in this off-season than you did two years ago when the Gators were coming off a BCS Title Game win?

TT: I think a little bit. I think because we've gone through so much more now (as a group) our team is much more experienced. We have a lot wiser team and our chemistry is great so we are approaching things differently. Our coaches have more trust in us now so they can spend more time with everybody -- especially the strength coaches -- instead of focusing on the guys they didn't trust (two years ago). That makes a big difference in their ability to push us.

LV: Coach Meyer talks about you guys being "professionals". Is this a more "professional" group than it was two years ago when so many key players had moved on?

TT: Yeah, it's not even close. By far this team to this point in the year is the closest, most professional, most excited and most upbeat team that I have ever been a part of which is pretty special. Everybody on this team cares about each other, wants to get better and goes in there with a great attitude every day. You're usually going to have guys on your team who get down about things or get frustrated. This team has none of that.

LV: With so many guys back and so many others who sat out last year it looks like competition for playing time this year could be pretty intense. Is that the kind of thing that keeps guys from getting complacent?

TT: That's absolutely motivation for a lot of players. You want to be on the field and you want to be competing because that's what you do, you love to play. So yeah, that's a lot of motivation for a lot of guys.

LV: You worked with a new coach this spring in Scot Loeffler. What are you working on this summer to try and be a better quarterback in 2009?

TT: For me one of my focuses right now is on my fundamentals; not so much on my throwing motion but as far as my feet, putting my body in the best position to make throws the easiest. (I'm also working on) the fundamentals of my footwork in the pocket maneuvering. I haven't had to do that much since I've been at Florida.

LV: Have you been going out with your teammates doing some 7-on-7 and other things in the passing game?

TT: (Chuckling) We don't really don't' do too much 7-on-7 because we don't want to get guys hurt. We've very competitive and if we started doing that somebody would get bloodied up pretty bad. We try to stay away from that. We're really working on trying to get our rhythm and or timing together with the receivers and the running backs and tight ends. When we get that, we'll be ready for contact and two-a-days.

Again, for more of my visit with Tim Tebow check out GatorZone.com. If it's not there yet, it will be soon.


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