Tebow Fits an NFL Fad; Pat White's New Role with Dolphins Could Be a Crystal Ball for UF's QB

By Dirocco, Michael | The Florida Times Union, April 29, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Tebow Fits an NFL Fad; Pat White's New Role with Dolphins Could Be a Crystal Ball for UF's QB


Dirocco, Michael, The Florida Times Union


Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

Tim Tebow spent his spring working on throwing mechanics, footwork and taking snaps under center.

For all that labor with new University of Florida quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, Tebow's 2010 NFL Draft stock might hinge more on what former West Virginia quarterback Pat White does as a rookie this season with the Miami Dolphins.

White played in the spread offense in college at West Virginia, and while the Dolphins drafted him to play receiver, there is little doubt that White will be used in the "Wildcat formation," which more NFL teams are experimenting with after the Dolphins used it successfully last season. That gives the formation something it hasn't had at the NFL level: a legitimate passing threat.

If White and the Dolphins have success with it in 2009, that obviously will help Tebow's stock in 2010, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said.

"He'll have value because you can move him around, and, like Pat White, [Tebow will be] that Wildcat quarterback who gives you more than that because they're not a running back playing in the Wildcat or a wide receiver playing in the Wildcat," Kiper said. "Pat White's a quarterback playing in the Wildcat. Tim Tebow will be a quarterback playing in the Wildcat."

White finished his career at West Virginia as the NCAA record-holder in rushing yards by a quarterback (4,480). He ran for 47 touchdowns and completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 6,051 yards, 56 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

Tebow has proven to be a better passer, completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 6,390 yards, 67 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Still, there are questions about his delivery and his ability to read defenses and to work under center.

Loeffler - who helped tutor Brian Griese, Chad Henne and Tom Brady at Michigan - was hired to help clean that up and prepare Tebow for the NFL, but Kiper believes Tebow's future is at H-back.

Tebow said he'd play there if he had to, but he wants a shot at playing quarterback.

"Obviously I'll do whatever I can to help that team, but my goal is to be a quarterback," he said. " ... I believe in myself and have confidence that hopefully one day I can play at the next level. That's been my goal. That's always been my goal since I was a little kid, to play in the NFL. That's something that I want to do someday."

As for where, that could get interesting. The Jaguars could be a possibility, especially considering that the team did not draft a quarterback this past weekend and Jaguars general manager Gene Smith's admitted fondness for University of Florida players.

"Certainly, we like Florida Gators," Smith said.

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