Without Tebow, What's Left For The Florida Gators?

Jay HendryCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators rushes upfield against the University of Arkansas Razorbacks October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

As I slumped into my chair following the kick from Sturgis' to put the Gators on top of the Razorbacks for good, I realized something.

Actually, I realized a few things, like the dive only works against some teams, Janoris Jenkins is human (Joe Haden is not though), and Riley Cooper has not turned into a top wide receiver. 

However, one thing in particular stuck out and is probably the most telling realization of this Gators team. Without Tebow, the 2009 Gators are probably a 3–3 team right now, and at the very best, a 5–1 team.

Following the Kentucky game, I felt that Brantley could step in and lead the team to victory even against LSU. Though, that game didn't do much to change my opinion on the matter, with the Gators dominating defensively and winning by 10 with the most conservative play calling Meyer has ever been a part of. 

Then, just this past weekend, Arkansas had to show up and crush all of my dreams. 

The officials may have made two very bad calls favoring the Gators and the defense may have flustered Ryan Mallett for most of the game, but the game was won thanks to Tim Tebow. 

In fact, in all three of the Gators' tight games, Tebow has done it all. 

He led the team in rushing attempts against Tennessee, LSU, and Arkansas, and he led them in rushing yards against Tennessee and Arkansas. 

Without Tebow, this team doesn't move the ball on third and fourth downs, doesn't get away with porous pass coverage, and isn't the BCS No. 1.

Without Tebow, Florida is just another mediocre SEC offense hiding behind a monster defense. 

Without Tebow, the Gators definitely don't drive the ball down in the final minutes of a game and kick a game winning field goal—a game where they turned the ball over four times.

Therein lies the problem. 

Much like 2007, the Gators need Tebow in order to win. 

While I doubt the 2008 team would have won it all without him, that squad had legitimate offensive weapons all over the field and would have at least put up a fight against all but the most talented opponents. 

However, this year, a Tebow–less offense is completely devoid of play-making ability. 

Any time the Gators needed a play, Tebow called his own number. While that has always been Tebow's style, I've never felt less confident in the other ten guys on the field. 

A few weeks ago, if you asked me if Demps or Rainey could convert a third down, I would have said "absolutely."  Now, I'd be happy with a "hopefully."

So, replace that sigh of relief with a thinking cap, Urban. You may have survived Arkansas, but nobody's scared of your team any more. That BCS No. 1 won't last with a loss. 

If you run Tebow like 2007, he's going to wear down and right now, the game–plan without Tebow looks pretty bad.


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