Gator Notes from the NFL Combine

Tim Tebow remains the biggest name in football even at a combine where he doesn't plan on throwing the ball. While Tebow will draw a ton of attention at the NFL combine this weekend, nine other Gators are hoping to get noticed in a good way as well. Here are some small snippets of some of the Gators that are preparing for a job playing the game that they love.

He is dominating the headlines on all the main sports networks and any NFL team should take note of that despite his throwing motion or what they may think he needs corrected. The bottom line is people will stop what they are doing to watch Tim Tebow. He is a marketer's dream and the NFL can push him so much more than Florida ever could with the NCAA limits on publicizing student athletes.

As Tim Yotter (Viking Update, on the network) wrote, "When Packers coach Mike McCarthy was answering a question about Tim Tebow, an NFL staffer came over the loudspeaker to announce that 'some guy named Tebow' would be speaking at a different podium. No first name, no position or school affiliation was needed. The NFL already knows his drawing power."

John Crist (Bear Report on added his two cents in the ongoing madhouse that is the public, or in this case the media, dealing with one of the most well known names in football (college or pro) history.

"While so many of the prospects at the Scouting Combine are uncomfortable in this setting, fidgeting and mumbling and looking like they'd rather be anywhere else in the world, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow addresses the media like a politician running for office -- think Bill Clinton, only a virgin. Before the first question is fired, one member of the press has the gall to ask for a quick autograph, the ultimate taboo in this line of work. He should have had his credential yanked right then and there..."

Hello franchises, is that the smell of money in the air?

The big talk of course is the planned change in Tebow's motion, when in all seriousness, Tebow is really talking about a change in the way he holds the ball before throwing it, not his actual throwing motion. Tebow said as much on Friday to a packed house of media.

"The former Heisman Trophy winner is going to do all of the drills in Indianapolis except throw, choosing to do that at his Pro Day in Gainesville on Mar. 17," Crist noted. "He was adamant that he's only going to alter his windup, not necessarily his release point or follow-through, so the changes he's working on to get rid of the football quicker are subtle."

Gator receiver Riley Cooper is another receiver helping put to rest the myth that the Gators use some unorthodox route tree in their system. Cooper came to the combine as prepared as any receiver as Crist pointed out in another excerpt.

"Florida coach Urban Meyer features somewhat of an unconventional offense, but receiver Riley Cooper says the Gators run the entire route tree and he won't be asked to do anything he hasn't done before during workouts," Crist noted on Friday. "Cooper ran his share of option routes and had to adjust patterns on the fly based on the coverage he was facing, which he believes prepared him well for the next level."

Crist also noted Cooper's confidence in his abilities in other football areas.

"While he will never be a return man because he's a mid-4.5 runner, he was on the kickoff team for two years in college and practically patted himself on the back at the podium for his ability as a gunner: 'I'm pretty good.'," Crist wrote.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez has decided to forego the workouts at the combine because of a back ailment according to's NFL Analyst Chris Steuber.

"...he's waiting to perform at his Pro Day on March 17th," Steuber said of Hernandez. "Measuring in at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Hernandez said the reason for him not working out in Indianapolis is because he tweaked his back a couple of weeks ago and he wants to make sure he's 100-percent for his workout."

According to Steuber, Hernandez could go during the first day of the draft.

"Hernandez has many interviews scheduled for this evening, but met with the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams last night," he wrote. "Hernandez is receiving first round consideration."

Center Maurkice Pouncey is being touted by most as the second best interior offensive lineman in the draft. Pouncey left school a year early as a junior and without his twin brother Michael who will stay behind to play center for the Gators in 2010.

Maurkice knows things will not be quite the same as it has been ever since the two started playing side by side in little league football.

"It's going to be different, but we're grown men now," Maurkice Pouncey said. "He was someone that I could always talk to and he would support me in any situation."

Michael was advised that he would be drafted later than his brother and because of that, the two decided it was a positive for him to stay behind and mature another year in college.

"I just told him that I thought it was best for him to go back [to Florida] and take over at center," Maurkice said. "We sat down and he told me the same thing, that he thought it was best for him to go back."

According to Steuber, Pouncey is another Gator that has a real chance to go in the first round of April's draft.

"Maurkice measured in this morning at 6-foot-4, 304 pounds, and there's plenty of buzz about him being drafted in the first round," Steuber wrote.

Stay tuned as we follow the experts' opinions and hear more scuttlebutt through the combine weekend.

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