Let's start with this: I am thrilled to have the Tebow post-concussion stuff behind us. We can finally concentrate on the next opponent, the rest of the season, etc.
What I found most interesting about the game on Saturday night was Tebow's tentativeness -- with good reason, mind you.
But the net result was that he was a different quarterback. Out was "Tebow Smash"; in was Tebow as... game manager?
My Yahoo column today about Tebow dives right into this modified version of Tebow. They didn't take the wraps off -- they put the wraps on.
And that's not a bad thing -- and I'm not just talking about the attempt to keep him healthy.
"Game manager" QBs get a bad rap, despite the success of archetypes like Trent Dilfer for the Ravens (2000), Craig Krenzel for Ohio State (2002) and even Chris Leak in 2006.
The common thread: They were all championship-winning QBs, although they had to subordinate their individual skills to their team's core strengths.
In Florida's case in 2009, that's the defense. That's the special teams. That's the running backs. That's Aaron Hernandez. Tebow is a strength, too -- just not the exclusive one.
And so we see the Tebow we got in Baton Rouge -- limited, safe passes (for the most part). Limited, safe runs (for the most part). And, ultimately, success.
Tebow was what I had predicted John Brantley would be if he had started: Good enough.
To his credit -- and probably the only way he would have gotten in or stayed in the game -- Tebow modified his game to match the opponent and his teammates' strengths.
If that makes him Trent Dilfer 2.0, so be it. Tebow still has the potential to pop off the 9-yard scramble, the 2-yard surge or the wobbly toss to a streaking WR off a play-action to himself.
I noted this in the column: Tebow in 2006 was a phenom. Tebow in 2007 was an individually brilliant stat-stuffer. Tebow in 2008 was a champion and a Ferrari driver.
The only thing left for Tebow to accomplish in college was to modify himself into the "game manager" who simply wins games. And, in Tebow's case, wins titles.
Will Arkansas' defense allow for "Tebow to be Tebow" in a way that LSU's defense -- and the proximity to the concussion -- didn't? Probably.
But there was nothing on Saturday night to indicate that if Tebow DOES play more within himself -- more "smart" (his words) -- the Gators can't keep rolling along.