Do Not Count Tim Tebow Out Based on Practice, Wait Until the Fist Fight Starts
One thing I have learned over the years is that there are a lot of guys who look great in practice. Every year with the Bengals they would bring in guys that were freakish athletes for camp. Every year I found myself saying, "how am I going to beat THAT GUY out?" Then we put on the pads and started hitting. Amazing what happens to most of these freaks when their body is put in harms way. They usually don't run 4.3 anymore, and their vertical goes from 40 inches to 2. Guys that could bench press 400 pounds suddenly can no longer lift their arms above their head reaching for a ball. It happens every year.
The flip side of that is every year there are guys who are a joke in shorts but turn into animals when the pads go on. I am coaching the local high school team (I thought for sure the lockout was going to last longer) and it is amazing how much my opinion of the guys on our team has changed since we started hitting. Football is strange game. It tests your courage every day. You have to convince your brain how much you enjoy getting hit. No kidding. I really believed that the worst thing that I could do to a defense was take a big hit and pop right up. While I may not have been able to catch my breath or walk a straight line back to the huddle, I promised myself that I would never give those jerks the satisfaction of knowing that.
Which brings me to Tim Tebow. There is nothing about him that would lead you to believe he was worthy of being a first round pick unless you have met him and watched him in person. Almost every Gator that I know believes he is the single most competitive player in the history of the University of Florida. He would wrestle offensive linemen, kick everyone's tail in the weight room, and when the game was on the line, he would find a way to beat you. I went to the National Championship Game against Oklahoma and one of the Oklahoma players ran up to Tebow in pregame and just started screaming and pointing at him. Tebow barely reacted, but I turned to the guy next to me and said, "it is over, the Gators are a lock." Tebow proceeded to WILL the Gators to the Championship in a way that can't really be explained. Will Tim Tebow be a great NFL QB? I don't know. But I do know this, anybody who dismisses Tim Tebow because Kyle Orton throws the ball better in practice, had better wait until the fist fight starts. Then, and only then, will I start judging Tim Tebow's performance.