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March 21, 2007

Tebow the focus as Florida opens spring

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Just hours after winning the national championship, Florida coach Urban Meyer declared that this was now Tim Tebow's team.

But Tebow, who will be a sophomore in the fall, isn't taking anything for granted.

"It's a big honor, but you have to come out here and prove it every day," Tebow said after the Gators kicked off their spring practice Wednesday.

Teammates are already noticing a difference in the quarterback's demeanor.

"He's a lot more confident out here," senior receiver Andre Caldwell said. "He feels this is his team, and he's looked great out there. I know he's going to strive for excellence; that's just the type of person he is."

Tebow's role has changed dramatically. Last year, he was a backup who played mostly in short-yardage situations.

This year, he'll be responsible for the defending national champion offense. But Meyer said Tebow looks like the same team leader he remembers from the Gators' championship run.

"He's never been shy. It was Chris Leak's team, but Tebow was right there with him," Meyer said. "I didn't notice a big difference other than Chris Leak wasn't out here. Tebow doesn't back down from anybody."

Tebow will have one new deep threat to work with on offense. Caldwell is starting the spring at a new position as an outside receiver rather than in the slot.

"They're taking a little more advantage of my speed, putting me one on one with the cornerback and may the best man win," Caldwell said.

For more coverage of Florida, visit GatorBait.net.

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