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Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow says national title trumps Heisman Trophy

GAINESVILLE — Depending on which polls you're watching, Florida QB Tim Tebow is right in the mix for the 2009 Heisman Trophy or has nearly played his way out of the race.

Either way, Tebow said he couldn't possibly care less at this point.

His Gators are 10-0 and in three weeks play Alabama for the SEC championship and possibly a chance at a second straight national championship. So given a choice between a trip to New York for the Heisman or a trip to Pasadena for a shot at a national title, Tebow is hoping for the West Coast ticket.

"Winning a Heisman Trophy is very special, and it's a huge award, very prestigious, very humbling," Tebow said Monday. "But it compares zero to winning a national championship or winning an SEC championship. Because that's what you train for. That's what you battle for every day in practice, in the weight room all year around, with your teammates for the last four years, that's what you train for.

"You don't train for winning the Heisman Trophy. That's something that just comes from being blessed with a lot of guys on the team that helps me out and makes me look a lot better than I am. But winning a championship is what is truly special."

Haden honored: When DT Justin Trattou grabbed an interception on the first play of the fourth quarter against South Carolina on Saturday, CB Joe Haden said, he initially thought about having Trattou lateral the ball back to him.

Turns out, Haden didn't need the extra play to be recognized for his performance.

On Monday, Haden was named SEC defensive player of the week. In a 24-14 win over South Carolina, Haden had a team-high 11 tackles (10 solo), including a sack. He had an interception, two forced fumbles and a pass deflection as well. The interception was Haden's third this season and sealed the win in the fourth quarter. He is second on the squad with 55 total tackles. The SEC also honored Mississippi's Dexter McCluster of Largo.

Reforming Sturgis: Sophomore K Caleb Sturgis had his worst game of the season Saturday, going 1-for-4. He missed field-goal attempts of 52, 54 and 29 yards, but coach Urban Meyer said he hasn't lost confidence in Sturgis.

"We had a cutout made, and he came in (Sunday) and I watched it with him, and he's going to watch it (again)," Meyer said. "Every kick is looking different right now — and it's follow-through — and it's very fixable. And he's the guy to fix it. So we're just going to work hard; I'm going to let Jon Phillips have some opportunities this week in practice. It's very disappointing, not just for the game, but Caleb is better than that. He's pressing right now. We've just got to get through it."

Moody doubtful: Junior RB Emmanuel Moody's sprained right ankle may keep him out of Saturday's game against FIU. He was injured in the second half of the South Carolina game. DT Terron Sanders injured his ribs in the game, but Meyer said he is expected to be fine this week. "He may not practice much this week," Meyer said. "But we need him."

Avoiding the noise: To keep focused and avoid what they've coined "the noise" coming from outsiders, the UF coaches and players have taken varied approaches.

Meyer said he hasn't been on the Internet since September. Receivers coach Billy Gonzales said he only reads the paper on weekends. And S Will Hill said he avoids sports talk shows.

"I don't do the ESPN thing," Hill said. "I stick to my Cartoon Network. Everybody's a critic, and it's Florida this, Florida that. But you're not a Florida player, you're not a Florida coach, you're not part of the staff, so you don't know what's going on. And if I don't listen to it, it can't bother me."

Florida State kickoff set: CBS Sports (Ch. 10) said Monday that the Florida State at Florida game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow says national title trumps Heisman Trophy 11/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 16, 2009 8:22pm]

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