Tebow's promise started roll

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow poses at Florida Field.

Rob C. Witzel/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 9:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 9:22 p.m.

The journey didn't begin with the first game against Hawaii.

It didn't begin with two-a-day practices.

It didn't begin with summer workouts.

It began in the locker room after the Mississippi game.

There, after a painful one-point loss, Tim Tebow made a decision.

"I didn't want to make any brash statements or anything just on emotion," Tebow said Monday. "That's why I waited and thought about it for an hour before I came out and addressed the media. I didn't try to say statements like we're going to win the rest of our games or we're going to go undefeated or anything like that. It was just that we were going to go out there and play with intensity, play with passion, character and love for the game. And that's something that we could control and something I could control. I can't control whether we win or lose, but I can control how we play."

Since that 31-30 loss sparked Tebow's impassioned and much-publicized speech, Florida has been on a roll to say the least. The Gators have won eight straight games by a combined score of 404-97.

"They were all over the media and everything. Everybody noticed them," Alabama safety Rashad Johnson said. "I think, you know, he meant what he said. He's doing a great job of leading his team, and he's not going to let anything come in the way of them trying to achieve their goals."

Tebow said he noticed that the Gators were a different team at practice the next day. The Gators had a team meeting that Sunday with Meyer and Tebow doing the talking.

"I knew the next day when we had a team meeting and some guys talked (at practice)," he said. "When we went out there and practiced I knew it was going to be a different team because I knew it hurt a lot of guys more than it hurts most people when you lose."

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