Kamis, 08 Januari 2009

Notebook: Tebow's decision

Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:56 p.m.

MIAMI GARDENS — Should he stay or should he go?

That is a question Florida junior quarterback Tim Tebow will have to answer in the next few weeks in regards to whether his immediate future will be in the NFL or back with the Gators.

Prior to Thursday's BCS title game between top-ranked Oklahoma and No. 2 UF at Dolphin Stadium, two former prominent Gator signal-callers chimed in with their thoughts.

Tebow's childhood favorite player Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy winner, hopes to see No. 15 in orange and blue next season.

"Yeah, I think he should come back," Wuerffel said. "I'm a Florida Gator. We definitely want him to come back. He, like a lot of guys, has a tough decision to make and I don't know how (the BCS title game) will play in or not to that, but I know a good question a lot of folks ask is do I think he has the chance to play in the NFL. I think if he gets in the right place with the right coach that can utilize his talents, he can be very effective."

Wuerffel was honored as one of 10 Heisman winners before the game, along with Boston College's Doug Flutie (1984), BYU's Ty Detmer (1990), Michigan's Desmond Howard (1991), Miami's Gino Torretta (1992), Houston's Andre Ware (1989), Navy's Joe Bellino (1960), USC's Marcus Allen (1981), Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett (1976) and Oklahoma's Billy Sims (1978).

Also voicing his thoughts was the starter on UF's 2006 BCS champs, Chris Leak, who visited with the team last week and spoke with Tebow.

"It would be hard for him to leave, I believe," Leak said of his one-time backup. "He is the same Tim, but he's matured into a more complete player.

"He does love Florida. I think it would be hard for him to pass up (his senior year). I know that.''

PRESIDENTIAL PICK: President-elect Barack Obama is a big sports fan, and prior to November's election he called for a college football playoff.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Obama predicted a Gator victory against Oklahoma, especially if receiver/running back Percy Harvin is healthy enough to be a factor. Obama also reiterated his support for a playoff.

"I think Utah has a pretty good claim," Obama said. "They're undefeated. I think USC, which had a great Rose Bowl, beat Penn State pretty badly. They've got a pretty good claim to being No. 1. Florida and Oklahoma, I think, both have a claim. Texas, at this point, has got to feel like 'well, we did OK, too.'

"I think ... I think a football playoff system makes sense. I’ve spoken about this quite a bit, and I think if you look at knowledgeable sports fans, they agree with me."

POP TARTT: As good as the 2008 season was for the Gator football team, it was pretty tough on left guard Jim Tartt.

A shoulder injury has limited him to a few plays here and there, but the senior from Tallahassee has battled through the pain as best he can and hoped to contribute Thursday night against Oklahoma.

"He went from the seventh grade when he started playing and always had success along the way, and all of a sudden you get to your senior year ... but Jim will be fine,'' his father, also named Jim, said after Tuesday's practice at Florida Atlantic University.

The 6-foot-3, 313-pound Tartt still has professional aspirations, but, according to his father, understands that may not be possible, especially if the shoulder pain and hand numbness that have plagued him continues.

"Jim probably had, and I think the coaches would stay that, probably a career in the NFL (if he hadn't gotten hurt)," Tartt's father said. "It's just a situation where we're going to sit down with the doctors and talk about it and see what can be done. ... The main thing is, you want to get it fixed if you can, just for everyday life.''

QUOTABLE: "It's special any time you play in a championship. It was special in 2006 and this is special for these guys.'' — former Gator quarterback Chris Leak

"It's been a whirlwind to think we're at the national championship game and everything that has happened before. It's just very exciting.'' — Martha Bradford, mother of OU quarterback/2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam. She added the last thing she told him before the game was that she loved him.

"I think that reflects the quality of the Southeastern Conference.'' — SEC Commissioner Mike Slive before the game when asked about the possibility of the SEC (with a Florida win) having four BCS championships in his seven years on the job.

EXTRA POINTS: Receiver Carl Moore did not dress for the game. He has a hamstring injury. Injured tight end Cornelius Ingram (preseason ACL tear) also didn't dress, but was a Gator captain. ... Sophomore Justin Williams has been moved from safety back to his original position at UF, wide receiver. ... Gator basketball coach Billy Donovan was scheduled to attend the game with former Gator power forward/center Al Horford, now a second-year Atlanta Hawk. ... Oklahoma was shut out in the first quarter for the first time all season. Florida was held scoreless in the first in Week One against Hawaii, as well as against the Sooners. ... Multi-time Olympic swimming medalist Dara Torres, a former Gator, was among the Florida fans in attendance. ... Tebow had two interceptions in UF's first 13 games and two in the first half Thursday. ... After making a nice cut to gain a few extra yards in the second quarter, Gator running back Chris Rainey was tackled awkwardly near the UF sideline and was writhing in pain after the play. He was carted off the field with a reported ankle sprain.