The Sweep

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Sweep
Brent Venables knows his defense will have its hands full.
AP

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- On day two of media availability for Thursday's BCS Championship Game, Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks provided the kind of solid-gold bulletin-board material every reporter dreams about.

And he did it on the podium, in front of television cameras, for all to see.

Asked where he would rank Florida QB Tim Tebow compared with the slew of star signal-callers in the Big 12, Franks replied: "I'd say he'd probably be about the fourth-best quarterback in our conference ... [behind] Sam [Bradford], Graham [Harrell] and Colt [McCoy]."

But Franks wasn't done there.

"I really think with those three guys, it's a lot harder to prepare for those guys. We're coming in and facing Tebow, and he wants to run the ball a lot more. He's predominantly a running quarterback. So to me it's going to be a lot easier for us to prepare to stop the run than having to face a quarterback that might throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game."

Where do you begin?

For one, while Franks' opinion is perfectly justifiable -- keep it to yourself, dude. Dodge the question. Have you seen Tebow when he's angry? He's exactly the kind of player who takes perceived slights personally. Furthermore, Franks' comments came early enough in the week that they're now going to be brought up by reporters to nearly every single Florida player between now and game time, giving them a little extra juice, too.

As for the "predominantly a running quarterback" part ... what tape is this guy watching? Yes, Tebow runs more than most QBs, but the last I checked, he was also the nation's fourth-rated passer. (Though in Franks' defense, that is in fact place him lower than No. 1 Bradford and No. 3 McCoy.)  

And finally, wouldn't the fact that Tebow runs and passes make it fundamentally harder to prepare for than a guy who solely stands in the pocket? I suppose from a cornerback's perspective, perhaps it's easier that he won't have to cover a receiver downfield 50 times during the game, but it's not like he doesn't have a role in run support.

Asked later about Franks' assessment, OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables put it thusly: "[Franks] hasn't watched enough tape. I mean that."

Guess we know what he'll be doing for the next four days.

A few other nuggets:

Dan Mullen, Florida's offensive coordinator the past four years, has remained with the Gators despite accepting the Mississippi State head-coaching job, but Urban Meyer made it clear Sunday who his current offensive coordinator is. Mullen's replacement, offensive line coach Steve Addazio, represented Florida at its offensive press conference.

"Nothing has changed," Addazio insisted Sunday, and indeed, Mullen is still expected to call the plays Thursday night. "In terms of transition, there is no transition right now. We're doing exactly what we've done in the past."

• While Oklahoma's defense, like the rest of the Big 12's, doesn't exactly garner a lofty reputation, Venables trotted out some stats Sunday that show just how directly the defense has contributed to those FBS-record 702 points the Sooners have scored thanks to their 32 turnovers gained (ninth-best nationally).

"Our defense has scored or set up 154 points this year, [by giving] 40 yards or less field position for our offense," said Venables. "We take great pride in that."

• Reports have surfaced that former Michigan quarterbacks coach Scott Loeffler will be taking Mullen's spot on the staff following Thursday's game. While not specifically confirming said reports, Tebow sure seemed to know a lot about the guy when asked. "I think he did a good job coaching Chad Henne, and he recruited me out of high school, so we got to know each other very well then. He was actually the main reason I took a visit to the University of Michigan ... I think he'll be a good coach."

 

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