By now, you've probably already read our attempt to
Tebow can be stopped. Today, you're going to learn how. It isn't easy, and it requires the kind of elite defensive personnel only a few teams possess, but it can be done. To understand how to stop the 235-pound southpaw, we must examine how he's been beaten before.
Tebow has suffered five losses as a starting quarterback, but we can throw out three of those defeats because the defense didn't truly stop him.
In a 28-24 loss at LSU on Oct. 6, 2007, Tebow looked like he might beat the eventual national champion Tigers single-handedly, but Florida's defense couldn't make a short-yardage stop in crunch time. In a 42-30 loss to Georgia three weeks later, Tebow was nursing a shoulder injury suffered a week earlier (the same injury he aggravated in 2008). On strict orders not to run, Tebow was a sitting duck and got creamed repeatedly. In the Capital One Bowl that season against Michigan, the Wolverines defense gave up 35 points. Fortunately for Michigan, Wolverines receivers toasted Florida's young secondary to the tune of 41 points.
The only two Tebow defeats that can provide a blueprint for beating The Chosen One are a 20-17 home loss to Auburn on Sept. 29, 2007 and last year's 31-30 loss to Ole Miss in The Swamp. In both cases, a dynamic defensive line set the tone.
Though he finished with only three tackles, Auburn defensive tackle
"We had to have patience in the play calling, which is what we did," Muschamp told
Forcing Tebow to become the Gators' lone rusher is critical, because even though he is in excellent shape, the human body can absorb only so much pounding. That could be tougher for opponents now because Florida coach
That brings us to Ole Miss. The Rebels won because they forced five Florida fumbles and recovered three, but they also won because they did what no team had done before: stuffed Tebow on a critical fourth-and-short. "We'll take that accolade," said Ole Miss defensive end
Ever since Tebow slammed through Tennessee's defense as a freshman to keep a game-winning drive alive, he has been almost automatic on fourth-and-short. So when the Gators needed a yard from the Ole Miss 32 to move closer to a potential game-winning field goal, Tebow got the call.
He'll get it again this season, and every Florida opponent should try to copy what Ole Miss did to defend that play. The Rebels knew Tebow could run left, up the middle or right, but they also knew he probably wouldn't go wide of the tight end. So the defensive linemen shot low, creating a pile from tackle to tackle. That forced Tebow to run more laterally than he would have liked to find a hole. Then three very important things happened.
2. Defensive tackle
3. Freshman cornerback
So that's how a team can stop Tebow's bread-and-butter play. But what about more pedestrian down-and-distance situations? To formulate a plan, we sought the advice of a defender who sees Tebow every day -- Florida linebacker
If Stamper were a defensive coordinator, he would order his defensive backs to stay close enough to Tebow's receivers to know what brand of gum they prefer. Remember, Tebow has thrown just 10 interceptions in two seasons, so any pass is likely to be accurate. Tebow doesn't have to throw balls up for grabs because of his scrambling ability. To stop that, Stamper would rush three and assign a spy to shadow Tebow and grab him if he runs.
Asked who might have the combination of speed and power, Stamper didn't hesitate. "Someone like a Dunlap," Stamper said, referring to
So there you have it. To truly contain Tebow, you'll need to force Meyer to make his star carry more than 15 times, spy him with a 290-pound former kick returner and use your future first-round defensive tackle to stuff him on fourth-and-one with the game on the line. This plan is completely foolproof. It can't fail.
Unless he throws