SEC Legend Tim Tebow shares championship game keys for Georgia and LSU
ATLANTA — Tim Tebow identified a good start as key for Georgia in the league title game, while LSU needs to step up its physicality to pull off the upset.
The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (12-0, 8-0 SEC) play the No. 14 Bayou Bengals (9-3, 6-2) at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the SEC Championship Game.
“I think the style of play matters so much in this game,” Tebow said at the Georgia World Congress Center on Friday.
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Ground and pound
“If Georgia is able to get a lead, they can wear you down and play that physical ground and pound.”
Tebow said that’s what happened to the Tigers last week, when they suffered a 38-23 upset loss at Texas A&M.
Tebow said the Aggies have a “Top 15 roster,” but more importantly, they were physical enough to run the ball.
“If there’s one area we felt LSU needed to step up, it’s when someone goes right at them,” Tebow said. “That would be (LSU’s) biggest key to the game. If they can step up and match that (Georgia) physicality, or if they can get them into a game where it’s more spread.”
Tebow pointed out how the Tigers were effective in their win over Alabama playing against the Tide’s spread attack with Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young.
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Run Jayden Run
On offense, Tebow emphasized the importance of the health of LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, who suffered a sprained ankle last Saturday.
“The difference between (Daniels) at 75 percent or 95 percent, that’s a completely different offense,” Tebow said. “So many of their plays are made with -- not just him running — but by his elite speed. When a defensive end doesn’t crash, but just sits, and he’s able to out-run him because he’s one of the fastest guys on the field.
“If you don’t have that, now you are asking your offensive line to physically push around Georgia more. I haven’t seen anyone do that yet.”
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Ultimately, Tebow said, he expects Daniels to have to throw the ball effectively for LSU to pull off the upset as a 17 1/2-point underdog.
The Bulldogs are always multiple in their coverages, but Tebow expects more zone from Kirby Smart’s defense than match-man coverage.
Georgia used the same approach against Florida, a team that featured a dual-threat quarterback in Anthony Richardson.
“A quarterback who as the ability to run and make a play, sometimes the best thing is to run and not take a chance,” Tebow said. “But in a big game against a team that can chase you down, you have to step up and make those throws.
“I’ve seen (Daniels) make unbelievable throws at times … He’s got to let it rip.”
Stetson Bennett, meanwhile, need only run the offense.
“Stats don’t always tell the best story — it’s how do you manage that offense,” Tebow said. “In a few games you could see him maybe trying to create some big plays when he didn’t necessarily have to, but that’s the human element of someone that’s trying to go out there and let it rip.
“In some of the big games, he has stepped up and played some of his best football in the big moments, and isn’t that what you want in a quarterback.”
Tebow epitomized that as a player at Florida from 2006-2009, winning national championships his freshman and junior year and the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore.
Tebow looked to repeat as the Heisman winner as a junior in 2008, and to this day, he’s the only player to receive the most number of first-place votes in balloting without winning the award.
Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford won the 2008 Heisman, but Tebow beat Bradford and the Sooners about a month later in the BCS national championship game, with Tebow winning MVP honors.