Monday, September 21, 2009

Revising Expectations for Tebow, Florida

Today's Tebow Quote of the Day, from Tebow himself:

"If we win 23-13, we're going to take it and we're going to be happy about it."

This is really important, and it reflects Urban Meyer's key takeaway from the post-game: "3-0," with the implied message: Hey, it could be much worse -- we could be USC.

Great segue for my latest essay for Yahoo's Dr. Saturday, on the newly revised expectations for Tim Tebow and Florida football -- influenced in large part not just by Saturday's result, but last week's mass hysteria leading up to Saturday's result.

In short: Tebow's "greatest ever" legacy will have little-to-nothing to do with his individual stats and everything to do with the expectations surrounding the team's potential. It is a common refrain here since the summer: "Win a championship...or bust."

My only concern with the "Defense + Tebow" strategy for winning a championship is that when the team went to an offense of all-Tebow, all-the-time, they lost 4 games.

Now, the defense is vastly -- VASTLY -- superior to the 2007 defense. And there are plenty of other weapons for Tebow to rely on -- notably, Jeff Demps, Aaron Hernandez and Deonte Thompson. It is no coincidence all three were either out or not nearly 100 percent on Saturday, when the offense seemed to struggle against Monte Kiffin's schemes.

And so Tebow played the hero -- gritting the offense to the 23 points needed (more than enough) to beat the offensively challenged Vols. His stats were, possibly, the worst of any game since he became the team's starting QB in August 2007.

But that doesn't matter. All that matters is the W. And Tim Tebow's legacy will succeed ultimately -- or fall short -- based on him continuing to lead the team to Ws. Another 11 in a row, to be exact.

THAT is the only expectation, and it needs no management. It is known by everyone in the most black-and-white terms.

4 comments:

  1. Exactly! In 2007 there was almost no defense.. it was basically Tebow against the entire SEC. Last season it was Tebow with a mostly excellent defense.. but remember.. even last season the defense was sporadic. If the defense showed up against Ole Miss last season they likely win. I thought the defense wasn't that great against the Vols either. So as long as the defense shows up.. AND if Tebow's receivers develop throughout the season a little bit, they should be good.

    This game against the Vols seemed a lot like the Jets against the Patriots this weekend too. But in college football Tebow is so great he can carry the entire team to victory even with the defense entirely focused ons topping him.

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  2. Another thing I don't think people understand about Tebow is that if anything Tebow is UNDERRATED. I know that is hard to believe.. but it's true. People think it's the other way around. They believe Tebow is just lucky to be on the gators because they are so talented. But that is really not true. The biggest thing the gators have been missing since Tebow has been there is good between-the-tackles runningbacks. Some people believe this is because good runningbacks don't want to play on the Gators knowing that Tebow will be running the ball so much.. but who knows for sure why? It's just a guess. But Meyer has referenced this.. he has stated that the lack of between the tackles runners has prevented the Gators from playing Tebow under center more.

    To patch this whole at runningback Meyer has gotten little fast guys like Demps and Rainey to complement Tebow. On any other team these guys would not look so great.. It's Tebow's revolutionatry combination of skills -- finesse and power -- passing and running that takes so much pressure off his little runners allowing them to be so explosive. But as you can see in this last game when the defense wants to they can stop these guys. They essentially tried to take everyone else out of the game and dared Tebow to try to beat them by himself. Other teams have tried this too.. Ole Miss.. Alabama.. and Oklahoma. All tried the same thing. Ole Miss really got lucky with it I think. They managed to put a great game together and the Gators had a lot of turnovers too.

    The other part of it though is just that it is soooo hard to win consistently in college football. In football in general. I think the chaotic nature of football is what makes it so entertaining.. and why it is so difficult to win even when by all accounts you should win. Look at the Patriots in the Superbowl against the Giants when they lost and Tom Brady looked so bad. Look how Peyton Manning has struggled to win so much even though he sis such a great QB. Look at all th great players in college football who never won at all.. yet people act as if Tebow having one game with low stats means he isn't good enough. Meanwhile Sam Bradford who everyone said was the greatest thing since sliced bread struggled against a poor team and was eve injured. It's just bizarre the conclusions people leap to. Using this flawed logic we should assume that UCLA is as good as the Gators since they beat the Vols at home.. when the reality is the team that played the Gators was completely different than the one facing UCLA. This game was the vols superbowl.. the Gators already had their superbowl and every team that faces them will see the Gators as their superbowl and look to take Tebow out too...

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  3. I forgot the point I wanted to make most.. IF Tebow had a true between the tackles runner you would see Tebow run a completely different style. He would be able to run a much more finesse style. Because he doesn't have a real quality true between the tackles runner he has to fill that role himself and has no one to take pressure off him to allow him and his receivers space to run on the outside. This is why Tebow is so incredible. He is really filling the rol of the QB and runningback in one. In the pros I don't think Tebow will ever have as poor a runningback as he has on the Gators. And this is why I believe Tebow will explode in the pros. I think people will be shocked hoe different Tebow looks with a true runningback. As it is now the EVERYONE ELSE around Tebow looks great because Tebow draws so much attention to himself. This is why they look so bad at times too when they decide to shift that pressure off Tebow some.

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  4. The things I would have liked to see more of vs UT : Screens, inside shovel pass, quick slants.

    We seemed to content on running our fast guys right up the middle. Anyone else remember the old formation we used where we would line 2 WR up one behind the other at the edge of the field? Why aren't we doing this with Cooper blocking for brandon james for a screen? I'd take James vs a corner and a safety between him and the endzone any day. Hernandez blocking out the LB and Cooper blocking a corner and its james vs 2. Thats good odds.

    I don't know if it was because Hernandez was sick or what but we didn't use the inside shovel pass on the option once. Their guys were so set on hitting Tebow in the face that we have to let them overcommit and run right past em.

    Tebow doesn't have to have the ball to make the play, he just has to make every defender think he's gonna keep it.

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