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Gainesville, FLTim Tebow has found all sorts of extra motivation at Florida.

Florida State and LSU defenders vowed to take him down. Georgia players rushed the field to celebrate an early touchdown. An Oklahoma cornerback said he would be the fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12.

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Tebow brushed aside their comments, then did the same to them.

Think Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has Tebow's attention?

“I don't like anyone talking about coach (Urban) Meyer,'' Tebow said Monday. “I try to not let it affect me, although I always have coach Meyer's back in anything because I know what type of person he is and I know what he believes in, I know what he stands for.

“But I don't think coach Meyer worried about it too much. I think we kind of dropped it or moved past it.''

Not quite.

Guard James Wilson said Sunday that Kiffin's comments were the talk of the team, and offensive tackle Matt Patchan called Kiffin a “bozo'' at the team's media day last month.

Tebow defended Meyer, too, although he was more politically correct going into Saturday's visit by the Vols.

“That's not going to add anything or detract anything from our rivalry, how intense the game is or how big of a game it will be for me,'' said Tebow, picked as the Southeastern Conference's offensive player of the week after accounting for five touchdowns against Troy.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made Florida -28.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 52% of bets for this game have been placed on Tennessee +28.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Tebow has played some of his best games with added motivation. He burned Florida State, LSU, Georgia and Oklahoma after players from those schools made incendiary remarks.

He insisted Monday that Kiffin's comments were different.

“I'm not going to harp on that and don't even really want to talk about it much because it's not a big deal,'' Tebow said. “It's just someone talking. It hasn't been a big deal to me and I'm not going to let it worry me.''

Tebow said the same thing before facing Florida State's Geno Hayes, LSU's Ricky Jean-Francois, Oklahoma's Dominique Franks and the Bulldogs.

Kiffin raised eyebrows in Gainesville at his introductory news conference in December. He vowed to end the program's four-game losing streak against Florida and sing “Rocky Top'' all night long.

The Gators blew the quote up and plastered it around the team's training facility during this summer. The signs have since been taken down.

Kiffin also drew Florida's ire the day after national signing day in February. He falsely accused Meyer of a recruiting violation. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley rushed to Meyer's defense and called for an apology. SEC commissioner Mike Slive reprimanded Kiffin, who then issued an apology.

Did the Gators forgive Kiffin?

They certainly didn't forget.

Meyer even hinted Monday that Kiffin's comments could be used later this week.

“We'll do whatever we've got to do to get 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds (motivated),'' Meyer said. “The good thing is I've got a mature team. Two years ago, you had to be careful. What you don't want things to do is become silly. The last time I checked, there's never been a coach to go put on a helmet and go step on a field, so that really has nothing to do with it.

“We've done a lot of things around here. The whole intent is to make sure that you gauge your team. What kind of team have you got? Do I really need to motivate Brandon Spikes to go hard against Tennessee? I think we'll be OK there. Same thing with our quarterback. I imagine he's fine. However, there's some other players that you might (need to motivate). That's what we're going to gauge here. We'll do what we have to do. If it's nothing, it's nothing. If it's something, we'll do what we have to do in our opinions.''

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Posted: 9/15/09 7:25PM ET

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