WATCH Tim Tebow: ‘Disappointing’ Georgia better take shots early on Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Tim Tebow says Georgia football better take its shots early against Florida, or it could be too late.
Tebow has praised Jake Fromm throughout the career of the Georgia quarterback, but he has been openly critical where the Bulldogs’ offensive philosophy is concerned this season.
Tebow explained why during an SEC Nation interview Friday afternoon outside of TIAA Bank Field.
“Georgia hasn’t been that efficient, effective or probably what we thought they would be offensively,” Tebow said. “Fans would say Georgia has been a little disappointing for them, (but) everything is still right in front of them for them to win the East and compete for the SEC and National Championship.
“If it can click and come together, than you still have a very dangerous team.”
The No. 8-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) play the No. 6-ranked Gators (7-1, 4-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday (TV: CBS).
Tebow believes Georgia will need to open things up considerably to be effective against the Florida defense.
“I would be aggressive early, I would take my shots,” Tebow said. “Look at the way Florida is keeping people off balance offensively, what LSU is doing with Joe Brady, what is happening with the RPO at Alabama, those offenses, for most of the defenses, you can literally see them on their heels, trying to figure it out not knowing, is it run, is it pass, is it play action, are we going to have a zone read?
“There’s so many options you’re throwing at them, and then when you get to Georgia, it’s not the same options, it’s not the same keep them on their heels. Look at the South Carolina game.”
The Bulldogs dropped a 20-17 overtime decision to the Gamecocks on Oct. 12 at Sanford Stadium, triggering doubt and skepticism of the team’s legitimacy as a championship contender.
Tebow said he thinks the offensive struggles are a byproduct of UGA first-year coordinator James Coley growing familiar with Fromm, and Fromm settling in with a modified offense and play caller.
“I think if I’m Georgia, I take shots early, (and) when I get them in quarters, I’m taking a shot at my post, when I get them in man coverage, I’m taking a shot if (Lawrence) Cager is playing,” Tebow said.
Cager missed the Kentucky game on Oct. 19 on account of bruised ribs, but he’s expected to play against the Gators.
Tebow suggests Georgia open up its formation more to free up the SEC’s leading rusher, D’Andre Swift.
“I’m being able to start out in empty (formation) and motioning D’Andre (Swift) back in, and being able to continue to use my weapons in a way that can keep the defense off balance, ” Tebow said. “That gives D’Andre, who still could be the best running back in the country, the ability to be the best and not have a defense key on him.”
Tebow also shared his keys for Florida on offense and defense.
“(Florida) has done a really good job with receivers and running backs, being able to make a lot of big plays after contact, breaking tackles, and I think that will be another big key to the game,” Tebow said. “I think that’s what won the game against Auburn, to be able to break the long 80-yard run through broken tackles.
“Being able to beat man coverage will be another key in this game.”
Defensively, Tebow said, it’s all about Florida’s ability to get to Jake Fromm.
“You don’t have to necessarily win to where you get sacks or forced fumbles, but just to be able to move him off his spot, take his eyes off the coverage, just slow down his rhythm a little bit,” Tebow said. “Last year, Jake was on fire on third down, that’s where they got a bunch of their touchdowns, especially starting the game.”
Tebow said the Georgia defense has an opportunity to stake claim to greatness on Saturday.
“I think they’ve had a good season, they haven’t been tested by necessarily that many good offenses, yet,” Tebow said. “They’ve come up in some big moments, against a good Notre Dame team when they had to stop them.
“I think it’s a good defense, I think they can show if they’re great or not, which some of the Georgia defenses of the past really showed up in big moments … so it will be a big test to see if they will and they can.”