Tebow, Murphy shine in Florida's spring game Print
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Saturday, 14 April 2007 11:51
NCAAF Headline News

 GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Tim Tebow played like everyone expected. Louis Murphy played like no one expected.
Tebow completed 17 of 27 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns, ran eight times for 41 yards and led the Blue team to a 27-21 victory over Orange in Florida's spring game Saturday.
Tebow showed leadership, poise and plenty of passing skills - giving the defending national champions hope as they try to rebuild following the loss of 15 starters.
``He's ready to go,'' coach Urban Meyer said. ``Tim Tebow is ready to go play quarterback at Florida.''
Murphy, meanwhile, appears ready to play receiver.
He was the biggest surprise of the spring game. A 6-foot-2 junior who had two catches for 42 yards in his first two seasons, Murphy caught eight passes for 129 yards and a touchdown for the Blue squad.
Meyer named Murphy a starter for next season, giving Tebow a receiving corps that includes Andre Caldwell, Percy Harvin and Jarred Fayson.
``For a year and a half here, (Murphy) was just a guy that ate up a scholarship,'' Meyer said. ``He was not serious about his profession, and his profession is football. He was not serious about it at all.''
But now?
``He might be the best fundamental receiver we have right now,'' Meyer said. ``He did a lot of good things and has really improved his game. He's taking it very serious right now.''
Murphy's turnaround started in January when he moved in with Caldwell, who returned for his senior season.
``Rooming with him, just seeing his approach to the game ... it became more reality and I just wanted to take it more serious and approach it at a different angle,'' Murphy said.
Murphy caught all eight of his passes in the first half. He caught three passes on the Blue team's second scoring drive, including two on third down. He also ran for 3 yards on a fourth-and-1 play. He later had three long receptions, catching passes of 24, 26 and 41 yards.
His highlight, though, was a 9-yard touchdown catch from Tebow that made it 21-0 early in the second quarter.
``I think his improvement has just been tremendous,'' Tebow said. ``Coming from the first day of spring you come out there and you start throwing him some passes and you're kind of like, 'Man this guy's for real now.' He's really turned it on. He became a very good receiver this spring.
``He was my go-to guy today and pretty much all spring. ... He's very trustworthy now and I think he's going to have a good season.''
The Gators feel the same about Tebow, who has emerged as the team leader. He managed the spring game to perfection, mixing runs and passes and showing a willingness to take whatever the defense gave him.
Tebow led the Blue team to touchdowns on four of the first five possessions. The other drive ended following four goal-line plays - three of them were dropped TD passes.
``I think I've improved tremendously,'' said Tebow, who played much of the spring with a sore left throwing shoulder. ``I'm a different player now then when I came to the University of Florida.''
There were other standout performances for the Blue team. Chevon Walker ran 14 times for 74 yards and a touchdown. Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham had three sacks. And defensive lineman Lawrence Marsh had a sack and another tackle for a loss.
Cam Newton was 20-of-30 passing for 275 yards and a touchdown for the Orange team. But the freshman also was sacked four times and fumbled four snaps. Fayson caught five passes for 75 yards, and David Nelson had eight receptions for 90 yards.
``We just had an interesting team meeting, talking about, 'Are we talented enough to compete for the SEC,''' Meyer said. ``I have to say we are. Playmakers on offense aren't hard to find right now. If we get a defensive line that competes ... I think we'll be just fine this year.''
 

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