Terrific Tebow

By Adam Caparell - November 14, 2007

Tim Tebow's seven touchdown performance last week brought him back into the spotlight that is the ever changing 2007 Heisman Trophy race. Throwing for two scores, and rushing for five more in the Gators dismantling of South Carolina, Tebow continues to carry the Florida offense. And continue his chase for history.

No underclassman has ever won the Heisman in the 72-year history of the award so Tebow's sophomore standing doesn't bode well for his chances, but his eye-popping stats and performances, coupled with his unique athleticism, are keeping him among the top candidates - some have him as the front-runner - despite Florida's three losses.

"I think when you're unique or you get people interested in watching you because you're different I think that's a plus in the Heisman race," Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

Richt saw plenty of Tebow a few weeks back when his Bulldogs defeated one of their rivals in the 2007 version of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Tebow had his most pedestrian outing of the season, finishing with only three touchdowns and his second lowest rushing output of the season, but that performance did anything but lower Richt's regard for Tebow.

"He is different than anybody I have ever seen," Richt said. "When I compare him I try to compare him to guys who changed the game of football a little bit or guys who are so different that they stand apart. He stands apart like the Michael Vick did at Virginia Tech, like Vince Young did. Like Charlie Ward did with me at Florida State."

Ward, a dual threat QB, won the Heisman Trophy in 1993 when Richt was an assistant with the Seminoles. That year, as Ward led FSU to the national title, he scored a combined 31 touchdowns and amassed over 3,300 yards of total offense.

This year's top threat dual threat QB has 23 passing and 19 rushing touchdowns on the season and already has 3,250 total yards of offense. He's the second leading scorer in the country and ranks seventh in the nation in total offense.

"Some guys are just different from everybody else and you can't just play them like you would anybody else," Richt said. "He's not your conventional kind of guy. And people might say, 'Well, why don't more people run their quarterback and throw like they do?' Well there's not many guys like Tebow. And what makes him different from those guys I mentioned is that he's more of a power back than a guy who's trying to make people miss."

Tebow's physical running style is something rarely seen from a quarterback and it's why game-planning for him is so difficult. You're not just game planning for a guy who can throw for 300 yards with as much zip on his passes as anyone. But you're game-planning for a guy who can bowl over a linebacker and carry three or four defenders into the end zone on a keeper. Quarterbacks aren't supposed to do that.

"The biggest thing is you have to be careful that you don't get out-numbered in the run game," Richt said. "If he's the runner, if you sit there in a two-deep then they've got enough to block you and one. If you go with a one safety defense you at least have a defender for every blocker.

"The only way to out-number Florida in the running game when Tebow is running the ball is to take both safeties out of the deep middle and put them on the line of scrimmage, but then you're very vulnerable to a little quick screen to Percy Harvin, (Andre) Caldwell or whoever," Richt said. "You have major problems. You have to pick your shots as to who you're going to roll an extra defender into the run game, but you better do it or you're going to be in trouble."

Richt managed to escape unscathed as the Bulldogs won 42-30 over Tebow the final weekend of October. Others haven't been nearly as lucky facing what could be the first Heisman Trophy winning sophomore.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 04:32 PM on November 14, 2007
Comments (1)


You failed to mention that Tebow was playing with a bad shoulder in the Georgia game which might have made a big difference.

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