- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tim Tebow is the big-time collegiate winner with the small-time future.

Or so it is argued.

He is the college football equivalent of college basketball’s Christian Laettner.

The comparison is perhaps unfair to Laettner. At least he appeared in one NBA All-Star Game.

Tebow is a halfback with an option pass impersonating a quarterback.

He could be the next Bobby Douglass, a capable enough rusher but limited passer with the Bears, unafraid to deliver a blow to a would-be tackler.

That, too, is Tebow, who is permanently stuck on fired up.

It makes for good television and announcer-dispensed superlatives galore.

He led top-ranked Florida past LSU 13-3 on Saturday night. It was the most impressive 13-point output ever, all things considered, starting with Tebow’s concussion two weeks previously.

His concussion was exhaustively detailed in the days and hours leading up to the kickoff, the suspense almost unbearable on whether he would play, although concussions are almost as common as bruises in football.

You might forget that Troy Aikman and Steve Young routinely sustained concussions and retained enough gray matter to become football analysts.

You might have thought Tebow was attempting to pull a Rocky Bleier, whose football career appeared finished after he sustained gunfire and grenade wounds to both legs in the Vietnam War in 1969.

Doctors were fairly confident Bleier could learn to walk again, just not run again, an elementary prerequisite to football.

Bleier eventually joined Franco Harris in the backfield of the Steelers and played a role in four Super Bowl championships.

No telling how ESPN would have detailed the truly improbable return of Bleier if the microscopic inspection of Tebow was an indication.

Not that the over-the-top coverage is the fault of Tebow.

He actually comes across as gracious, grounded, impervious to the hysteria about him.

Tebow inevitably means well, even if those around him do not know what they mean.

Tebow employed a scaled-down version of the playbook - no sense taking chances with his rearranged noggin - and it worked because of the stifling defense of the Gators.

You possibly missed that dimension of the story.

Victory was granted as Tebow’s because that was the predetermined storyline.

The Gators could have prevailed 2-0, and it somehow would have been a testament to Tebow’s leadership.

The safety would have come about because of his exhortations on the sidelines.

One of the game announcers made the stunning observation that Tebow can throw the ball, the implication being that he is not an all-run, no-throw signal-caller.

That was intended as a compliment, backhanded though it was.

Tebow might as well enjoy the college fun while it lasts, judging from the debate on his NFL chances.

It has been suggested he should surrender his quarterback aspirations and move to tight end once he completes his duties at Florida.

At least that was the opinion of Mel Kiper Jr., who does not pass along these evaluations until first speaking with every general manager, coach and equipment manager in the NFL.

The NFL personnel gurus have a tendency to overemphasize what is lacking in a collegian.

Tebow is not the most accurate passer. Nor does his right arm unleash lasers.

Yet Tebow could be one of those rare players who transcends the customary barometers because of his competitiveness and intuitive feel for the game.

There is more to football than a 40-yard sprint time.

There is Tebow’s quirky skill set looking to defy NFL convention.

They certainly love Tebow on the college level. They love his jump pass. They love his physicality. They love his fieriness, his drive, his determination.

And they love how he shook off the fog of his concussion and remembered enough plays to put up a scintillating 13 points against LSU.

They were the most compelling 13 points ever, manufactured as they were against the backdrop of a medical doubt that developed into a national obsession leading up to the game.

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