Tebow refreshed and ready
Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 12:22 a.m.
For many of his classmates, the ideal spring break getaway is a week on the beach or a trip to the ski slopes.
Tim Tebow's idea of a perfect spring break is at the opposite end of the spectrum - and the other side of the world.
Once again, the Florida quarterback used his spring break to make the long journey to the Philippines to do missionary work with his family.
"I went for the whole break," Tebow said Wednesday after the first day of spring practice. "I went into high schools, colleges and elementary schools and spoke, and went into the market place.
"I went to the orphanage (his family helped establish) and played with the kids. I also did some things outside of that, in the villages there. Just doing a lot of ministering whenever possible. There were a lot of great things (about it). It was a great trip. I love it. I had an opportunity to minister a lot of people, and that means a lot."
Tebow has been viewed as a celebrity in the Philippines for several years. This time he returned coming off the Gators' second national championship in three years.
In a country where kidnapping has become a serious problem, Tebow said he never felt in any danger.
"There are a lot of places here in Florida that are dangerous, too," he said. "There is risk anywhere.
"It was a great reception. They love Americans going over there. It was great to spend time with our friends and being at that orphanage where I have a serious relationship (with the children)."
Tebow said he returned to Gainesville after the break refreshed and ready to play some football.
Upon his return, he learned from UF coach Urban Meyer that the emotional promise he made after the loss to Ole Miss last season is now on a plaque at the entrance to the new football facility at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
He said he hasn't seen it yet.
"I guess it's cool," Tebow said. "It means a lot to some people, so I think that's cool. I guess it's nice that the university honored our team and what we accomplished and the hard work we put in (to win the national title)."
Tebow was so eager to get back to work Wednesday that he was the first player on the practice field for the Gators' first practice of the spring.
"It was fun," he said. "I've been looking forward to this day for a while. There's just a lot of joy out here. We love playing."
Tebow seems especially fired up about working with new quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who has a history of bringing out the best in quarterbacks.
Loeffler is working with Tebow on some new things.
"Every coach who comes in here adds a little bit of themselves. You'll see that in our offense," Tebow said. "I think he's already brought some stuff in, some new philosophies about things. We're mixing and matching.
"He's worked more so on (my) footwork and some of the drops, and the hitches off those drops, some of the things he's done in the past that have helped. I think he will really help me."
Tebow said Loeffler is not trying to alter his throwing motion.
"Not too much throwing mechanics, more footwork and body position," he said.
One thing new for Tebow is he will be working under center some this spring instead of lining up in the shotgun every play.
"We're working on some under-center packages," he said. "We're trying to implement a little of that into our game plan."
Tebow said he has no regrets about his decision to return for his senior season.
"I'm glad I'm here, I'm glad I'm at the University of Florida," he said. "I'm having a great time and I"m happy with the choice I made."
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