Tebow positive despite Senior Bowl struggles
Published: Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 6:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 6:46 p.m.
MOBILE, Ala - As everyone in Florida knows, Tim Tebow takes losses very hard. They devastate him, bring him to tears.
But he was smiling after this one.
Because this game wasn't about the final score, about winning or losing, for Tebow. It was about putting an exclamation point on one of the most important weeks of his football career. About making that big first step toward an NFL career.
Tebow was actually feeling good after the South's 31-13 loss to the North in the Senior Bowl on Saturday.
His numbers weren't impressive, he didn't wow anyone with his performance (like he did so often at Florida), but he came out of this one feeling positive about where he's at in his development - and where he's headed.
"During the week I feel I got a lot better and worked on a lot of things," Tebow said. "The stuff that people know I can do, I didn't have to come out there and do that. I just came out here and worked on the things I needed to, and I enjoyed it.
"I feel like I improved every day. I came out here with a purpose, to get better, and I feel like I did that. I feel I got better every day. I think I'm open to improving my fundamentals. I was out here working and improving every day. If you watch the way I play, you can see there are some things I need to work on."
Tebow started Saturday's game, but played only 23 plays on the day, with Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano alternating his three quarterbacks throughout the game.
Tebow threw only 12 passes, completing eight (none beyond 10 yards downfield) for 50 yards. He had four carries for four yards, was sacked once and fumbled twice, losing one late in the third quarter. He led the South to a field goal on the team's second possession.
"He did a pretty nice job," Sparano said. "In the beginning of the game he did a good job with some short passes that he was able to throw there."
When asked what it was like coaching Tebow all week, Sparano said, "Outstanding. It really has been tremendous coaching him up during the week. He's a smart guy, real fun to coach, a hard worker."
Tebow also was sick all week, including Saturday. It was reported earlier in the week that Tebow was suffering from strep throat, but his mother Pam said after the game that it was "much worse than strep throat."
Pam Tebow said her son has been battling a virus in his esophagus that made it too painful for him to eat for most of the week. He has been receiving care from a doctor since he's been in Mobile. Tebow was too sick to attend fan day on Friday.
Tebow seemed fine after the game, and said his illness did not affect his play.
Tebow said playing in a new offense with a new supporting cast was not a problem, either.
"It wasn't too bad out there. For the most part, the timing felt good," he said. "Most of the time, we got into a pretty good rhythm. The only thing that hurt us were a few negative plays and the fumbles. For the most part, it felt really good out there."
Coming into the week, NFL coaches and scouts expressed concern about his delivery and his throwing mechanics, and the fact he did not play under center at Florida.
Tebow struggled early in the week in those areas, but appeared much more comfortable in the final two practices.
Tebow said he will return to Nashville to continue his training in preparation for the NFL Combine, which begins Feb. 24 in Indianapolis.
"I'm going to be working on the fundamentals that I need to work on," he said. "I'm just trying to improve and get better as a football player."
Tebow said he already feels more comfortable under center and making his drops in the play-action passing game.
"I felt good with that and the NFL routes," he said. "We really do throw a lot of them at Florida, but we don't time them up the same way. I worked on that."
Even through he was sick (and scrutinized throughout the week), Tebow said he was happy with his decision to play in the Senior Bowl.
"Absolutely," he said. "It's the game of football, playing with a bunch of great players and coaches. I love it."
Wide receiver Riley Cooper, Tebow's teammate and roommate at Florida, concluded a positive by catching two passes for 37 yards Saturday. His 26-yard reception in the closing seconds of the first half set up a South touchdown.
"I think Riley did a great job all week," Tebow said. "He came out here and worked and got better. He was very consistent. He was one of the guys who was the most consistent every day."
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