Seminoles Tired of Tebow Hype; FSU's Geno Hayes Promises the UF QB "Is Going Down This Week."

Article excerpt

Byline: BOB THOMAS

TALLAHASSEE - A year ago, Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews had a specific plan for defending Florida quarterback Tim Tebow when he spelled starter Chris Leak.

That plan ... deploying linebacker and NFL first-round pick Lawrence Timmons as a spy - worked flawlessly.

Andrews was asked Monday if he had a blueprint for defending the Heisman Trophy candidate Saturday in Gainesville.

"Yeah, but you get put into jail for it," Andrews said. "They don't let you do that."

Andrews' Seminoles face a significantly different challenge from a year ago, when they limited Tebow to 3 yards of total offense, though he was only on the field for eight plays, three of which were nullified by penalty.

Tebow's legs and passing arm are responsible for 72 percent of the Gators' offensive yardage a game, and the former Nease standout ran or threw for 46 of his team's 64 touchdowns.

With a career spanning six decades, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has seen all kinds of successful quarterbacks. When asked if he could recall any accounting for that much of a team's offense, Bowden said: "We've never seen it. I can't remember anybody."

Bowden likened Tebow's value to the Gators to the days of the single-wing, "triple-threat" back who could run, pass and punt.

"That way, the whole game would be in his hands," Bowden said, "but the statistics back in those days - a great [passing] day for a quarterback would be eight out of 10 for 100 yards. That would be a great day. At that time, it would be one guy getting all the yardage. As far as numbers are concerned, it ain't even close."

Like the rest of the nation, the Seminoles are keenly aware of Tebow's prodigious production and the hype that it has inspired.

"It's crazy," said FSU sophomore linebacker Dekoda Watson. "It's no disrespect to Tim Tebow or anything, but they say his name on every play even if it doesn't have anything to do with him. If you're making plays like that and have as much hype like that, you're doing something special. I respect that for him. ...

"Even [the announcers] say, 'That was a nice handoff by Tebow to the running back.' If you listen to the commentators on a Florida game, Tim Tebow's name will be in there, whether he's on the sideline, the defense is in, or what. It doesn't matter. That's respect."

Watson's teammate, junior linebacker Geno Hayes, won't allow his respect for the Gators quarterback to stand in the way of his mission Saturday.

"We're going in with that attitude that Tim Tebow is going to go down this week," said Hayes. "That's what we're going to say, Tim Tebow is going down this week. You all put that down, Tim Tebow is going down this week. That's the attitude."

Attitude alone, however, won't get it done. Stopping Tebow and his talented cast of teammates will require flawless execution of a sound strategy.

Through the years Andrews' defenses have enjoyed more than a few successful outings against the Gators, with special game plans. …