SCOTT: Florida answering offseason questions

Two things were certain about Florida entering this season: The Gators would be both talented and young. The question, though, was which factor would matter more than the other.

The Gators took a big step toward answering that question last week when they unleashed a barrage of weapons against a Tennessee defense that isn't nearly as bad as it looked in a 59-20 loss.

 

For all he did last year in a part-time role as a true freshman, quarterback Tim Tebow had (and still has) a lot to prove as a full-time starter. If the Tennessee game is any indication, Tebow is on his way toward becoming the best quarterback in the SEC.

 

Ask yourself this question: What SEC quarterback would you trade for Tebow straight up right now? Outside of Kentucky's Andre Woodson, probably none. And if you were building for the future, you'd likely pick Tebow since Woodson will be in the NFL this time next year.

 

"He's crossing every bridge," Gators coach Urban Meyer said.

 

Tebow teamed with fellow sophomores Percy Harvin and Brandon James for 600 all-purpose yards as the Gators continued to evolve into the wide-open offense Meyer envisions. Even Tebow's interception could be blamed on an errant route by receiver Riley Cooper.

 

"He threw into the right spot," Meyer said.

 

Meyer refused to gush all over Tebow following the game, saying, "He's going to have a fine career here." Meyer knows full well there will be tougher tests ahead, especially the one the Gators and Tebow must face on Oct. 6 when they play at No. 2 LSU and a defense that will test them far more than Tennessee could.

 

It remains to be seen if Tebow can take the pounding that he will receive while he attempts to pound defenders with his relentless running style. Even if something doesn't rip, tear, or break, will the bruises add up over time and slow him down? He usually leads with his right shoulder, but what if he dips that left shoulder? Someone bigger and stronger, someone like LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, isn't going to give up any ground.

 

In the meantime, even fans of Florida rivals should take the time to enjoy an entertaining offense run by an electric athlete.

 

"This offense is fun," Harvin said. "Just throw it, catch it, and run."

 

---

 

Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sports writer, author and featured columnist in Tiger Rag. Reach him at rscottsec@yahoo.com.


Tiger Blitz Top Stories