One of the knocks concerning Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's NFL potential involves his lack of time under center.
Gators coach Urban Meyer wants to make sure Tebow wouldn't get knocked around before taking him out of the shotgun formation.
"A lot of that would depend on the quality of our tailback," Meyer said at SEC media days. "To play an under-center offense, you better have a monster back there at tailback that can take the pounding involved in that style of offense. It's personnel based on your fullback, tailback and tight end, and we have not had that luxury."
For Meyer to put Tebow occasionally under center, redshirt freshman T.J. Pridemore (6-foot-1, 241) and junior tailback Emmanuel Moody (6-0, 210) will need productive preseason camps. Moody is much bigger than the speedy sophomore tandem of Jeff Demps (5-8, 185) and Chris Rainey (5-9, 180).
Demps averaged 7.8 yards a carry last season and didn't shy from running inside, but he had only 78 carries all year.
New coaches often employ different discipline tactics from their predecessors, and Auburn senior tight end Tommy Trott said Gene Chizik is no exception.
"One of the first things he did was come in and install what they call kindergarten rules," Trott said. "No hats in the building. Pull your pants up. No earrings. 'Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am.' It's things that most everybody should already know, but he installed them and is holding us to it."
Violating a rule, Trott added, results in visiting longtime strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall.
Praising a former foe
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and Kentucky's Rich Brooks guided heated rivals from 2003 to '06, when Petrino was at Louisville. His Cardinals defeated the Wildcats all four years by an average score of 40-19, but Brooks has strengthened Kentucky since and now seeks a third straight win in that series.
"I think you need to take your hat off to what Rich has done there," Petrino said. "When he first came in, Kentucky was on probation, and he didn't have the full amount of scholarships that you needed. I think he's done a great job with consistency in his recruiting and his coaching staff, and I think you have to take your hat off to their administration.
"They did a great job of understanding he had a very good plan and knew what he was doing, and they stuck behind him.
Strange seeing you here
Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead committed to Florida's 2006 signing class but switched to Texas after the Gators received a commitment from Tebow. Snead played for the Longhorns in '06 but couldn't beat out Colt McCoy, so he transferred to Ole Miss and sat out the '07 season.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior from Stephenville, Texas, now is being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate, so how strange would it be joining Tebow and McCoy at the Heisman ceremony?
"That would definitely be surreal," Snead said.
Maligned from the start
Georgia's defense was a statistical nightmare at times last season, allowing 38 or more points on five occasions for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs hope to improve drastically defensively this season, but it may not be reflected in the early numbers.
Not when the opening game is at Oklahoma State.
"This team averages over 500 yards and 40 points a game, so if we just by the grace of God hold them to 21 points or 24 points or somewhere in the 20s, and we hold them to between 350 to 450 total yards, we probably did a pretty good job," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "But if that's what your defensive stats say, then you're last in the league because everyone else is going to be playing this team or that team that gets 27 yards rushing and 106 yards passing and three points.
"If you can hold those guys to 30 points and 400 yards, then you've done a good job, but I don't know if everyone is going to see it that way."
No chance at Tebow
New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin visited Tebow when he was Southern Cal's national recruiter, but he knew early on his chances were slim.
"He had a Florida Gators mailbox right there as you pulled into his farm," Kiffin said. "I should have known we weren't getting him at that point."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...