Tebow's ballet move a hit
By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published October 8, 2006
GAINESVILLE - The answer is yes. It was supposed to be that way. Sort of.
For everyone wondering whether Tim Tebow's first career touchdown pass was a planned play or a fluke, the answer is it was planned.
Tebow's jump-ball-looking 1-yard toss to tight end Tate Casey with 22 seconds remaining in the second quarter is in the Gators' playbook - with the exception of Casey stumbling backward and falling as he caught the ball.
The touchdown gave Florida a 14-7 lead and control at halftime.
"It's called the Pop pass," offensive coordinator Dan Mullen said. "It's a little Pop Warner play. We practiced it all week, but in practice the tight end got off the line a little quicker."
Tebow gave credit to the LSU defender for making the play tougher than expected.
"LeRon Landry is a great player, and he did a great job of getting on Tate and holding him up," Tebow said. "Tate made a move and got through him and when he did that I double-pumped and laid it out for Tate and he did a great job."
Casey said he and Tebow were fired up all week about using the play.
"It's funny, I wanted to tell my dad to look out for it, but I couldn't tell him about it," Casey said. "I just said when you're expecting the obvious, that's when you'll see it. Because everybody was expecting Tim to come in and run on that play.
Florida coach Urban Meyer said he used the play while at Utah against Air Force in a triple-overtime game.
WYNN OUT: Senior tailback DeShawn Wynn missed Saturday's game, still suffering from an injury to his right knee.
"They said he could have gone on the field, but we didn't feel like he would be 100 percent," Meyer said. "If you're not able to perform at 100 percent, it puts you at harm's way, so that's why we didn't play him. Hopefully we'll get him back soon."
HARVIN IS BACK: After participating in just one play over the past two games because of a high right ankle sprain, freshman receiver Percy Harvin returned to the lineup. He had one carry for 9 yards and two receptions for 18 yards. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Javier Estopinan injured his right knee with 9:24 remaining and did not return. Co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said he wasn't sure about the extent of the injury, but Estopinan was seen with his knee bandaged.
THOMAS' RETURN: Senior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas returned to the lineup after an appeals committee reinstated him from an indefinite suspension for failing a second drug test. Thomas came into the game after Estopinan's injury and finished with a team-leading eight tackles.
"It was good to have him back," Strong said. "When you get somebody that big back into the lineup, it was really good for us."
"It was like we won the national championship getting him back," cornerback Reggie Lewis said. "Having a big body in there like that, they thought they were going to be able to run all over us, but with Marcus back they had to change some things."
LSU was held to 90 yards on 25 carries.
ANOTHER FLAG?: Florida is the most penalized team in the SEC, entering the game with 45 for 304 yards (60.8 per game). On Saturday, the Gators didn't help their cause, finishing with 14 penalties for 102 yards.