College football: Tebow laughs off critique
By Mark Long
Associated PressMIAMI ó Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks walked into Dolphin Stadium alongside teammates Monday, took a seat in the stands and politely declined every interview request.
Franks probably wished he would have been as quiet the day before.
Franks stirred things up Sunday by saying Florida’s Tim Tebow would have been the fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12.
Tebow and top-ranked Florida responded Monday at media day for the Bowl Championship Series title game. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner laughed it off and hinted it could motivate him Thursday. His teammates weren’t as diplomatic.
“How could you say something like that when he won the Heisman as a sophomore?” said linebacker Brandon Spikes, who played at Crest High School near Shelby. “We really didn’t think too much of it. When you talk about Tim, he’s going try to come out and make you pay. It’s kind of like deja vu all over again. Last time a guy talked about him, he came out and put 50 on him.”
Spikes was referring to LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, who said the Tigers were going to try to knock Tebow out of their matchup earlier this season. Tebow brushed aside those comments, too, then accounted for three touchdowns in a 51-21 romp.
He had similar success last season after Florida State linebacker Geno Hayes said Tebow was “going down” in their annual rivalry. Tebow responded by throwing for 262 yards, running for 89 more and accounting for five scores in a 45-12 drubbing.
“I like it. It’s fun,” Tebow said of pregame banter. “It makes it more competitive, and I’ll enjoy it. You can say whatever you want. That’s fine. We still get to go play. That’s what I like I do.”
Franks raised eyebrows Sunday when he said Tebow ranks behind Oklahoma teammate and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell.
“I think our quarterbacks are better,” Franks said. “Just the way they conduct themselves and how they play on the field. I just think, playing against those guys, it’s a lot harder to prepare for those guys than it is for Tebow.”
Tebow first heard about the comments during a quarterbacks meeting. He chuckled at the time, then spent the better part of an hour doing the same Monday when asked repeatedly about the critique.
“Who knows? Maybe,” Tebow said. “That might have been a compliment. We’ll see.”
When the subject came up again, Tebow responded, “I’m thankful for being fourth. There’s a lot of good quarterbacks in the Big 12.”
Florida receiver Percy Harvin had a much different take.
“What people don’t realize is you never want to wake up a sleeping giant,” Harvin said. “Tebow, you kind of want to leave him alone because now you have to deal with him running even harder than he would have before. So good luck.”