TAMPA. However unlikely—in what could someday be dubbed "the mini-promise," Christian Ponder spoke at length with the media today about the poor showing in Norman over the weekend. When asked for comment about the single worst personal performance of his career, a confident and contemplative Ponder responded with a bit of a reminiscent comment: "I'm using this game as motivation," noted the senior quarterback, who went on to add a very Tim Tebow-like clause, "and I'm never going to have another game like this again."
While the comment stirs a very profound echo of the 2008 (eventual National Champion) quarterback's postgame speech, Ponder's words were likely not meant to be a motivator to his team in the same regard as Tebow's famous lines were. They were probably not meant to stir the fans, or for that matter, even the media. Unlike his former rival's comments made back in 2008, Ponder stopped short of promising that the entire team would do a complete U-turn following the humbling loss to the Sooners. Many may remember the famous "promise" delivered by Tebow in which the repentant signal caller promised that he would work harder than any player in the country, and his team would do likewise.
Christian Ponder knows the stakes for his team are not quite at the same level, with the budding, young, and inexperienced program still learning how to gel on defense, and find its best complements on its returning offense.
To this point, the apparent goals FSU meant to achieve on the practice field did not pair up to the degree of difficulty they knew they would face on the field in the home of college football's current longest home-win streak.
So much can be made of the what's and the what-not's at this point, but the true test of the resolve of this young Seminole squad was summed up quite nicely. Ponder was not trying to echo a promise in the same curried fashion as his Heisman-winning predecessor from Gainesville—he was merely pointing out one of the facts that has been brought to our eyes and ears before the season began. There is no group of trustees or foundations or groups of voters that will be the deciding voice on what Christian Ponder can or will do in 2010. He is his own critic, and he is his own accountability force.
Whether he can hold true to his convictions and promises made just a few short hours ago or whether he falls just short of them will make no difference. The only award Ponder wants at the end of the season cannot be etched on concrete, glass, or metal.
Ponder's award will be to vindicate the lopsided loss he feels personally responsible for, whether it was his "cross" to bear or not.
In the minds of fans and voters alike, the only vote that Christian Ponder is worried about is the one he makes himself. With 10 more games to play, and an entire slate of ACC games in front of him. I'm sure he'll make good on his promise—whether we think he does or not.