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Gators' Tebow fires back at Miami over field goal

SEC honor: Jermaine Cunningham, right, tackling Miami’s Robert Marve, was named SEC defensive lineman of the week.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

SEC honor: Jermaine Cunningham, right, tackling Miami’s Robert Marve, was named SEC defensive lineman of the week.

GAINESVILLE — Perception is a funny thing.

On Sunday, Miami coach Randy Shannon complained about Florida's decision to kick a field goal with 1:55 left and the Gators leading by 20 based upon the perception the Gators were running up the score.

"I'll just say this one statement: Sometimes, when you do things and people see what type of person that you really are, you turn a lot of people off," Shannon said.

The Gators had a different view.

"That's okay, but the only part that offended me was when he questioned Coach (Urban) Meyer," junior QB Tim Tebow said. "I have Coach Meyer's back on anything. To say something like that about Coach Meyer isn't true. He's one of the best coaches in the game, that's why I came to the University of Florida to play for Coach Meyer, play for the type of person he is. If you want to talk about him, you should talk about a lot of other coaches before Coach Meyer. You can talk about running the score up, I don't care. They are paid to stop us, and Coach (Dan) Mullen is paid to score. If they don't do that, oh well. But don't talk about Coach Meyer as a person and getting recruits, that's not necessary."

Senior OL Jason Watkins was surprised by Shannon's comments: "The way we coach down here, we play 60 minutes. You don't stop until it says 0:00 on the scoreboard. And we just play hard. That's any situation of any game, we had time on the clock and it was fourth down, you're in field goal situation, so you kick it. I really didn't understand it (the comments). I don't get the flak about it."

Meyer said the focus should be on the game.

"It was a great football game," Meyer said. "I've heard about the 25-year this (UM win streak, which was 23 years), field goal this, officials this. Why don't we talk about the players who played a great hard-nosed football game and quit measuring up and worrying about Florida. I learned a long time ago just coach your team and take care of yourself. We've got to move on."

There was a UF benefit in kicking that field goal. Entering the season, K Jonathan Phillips was 5-of-6 on extra points but had not attempted a field goal.

"I've never kicked a field goal in a game," he said. "We're going to Tennessee next week, so I really needed that rep. It was important. I'm just glad I got to kick."

As an interesting side note, last season in a 34-17 win over then-No. 20 Texas A&M, the Hurricanes kicked a 23-yard field goal with 2:07 left when they led 31-10.

UF-UT game time set: The Sept. 20 Florida-Tennessee game will be played at 3:30 in Knoxville (Ch. 10).

Cunningham honored: Junior DE Jermaine Cunningham was named the SEC defensive lineman of the week. He had nine total tackles (five solo), two for losses, against Miami. And he leads Florida in total tackles (11), tackles for a loss (3.5) and sacks (2.5). Florida held Miami to three points, the fewest the Gators have allowed the Hurricanes since an 18-0 win in 1960. Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno was offensive player of the week, and Vanderbilt LB Patrick Benoist was defensive player of the week.

INJURY UPDATE: Junior WR Carl Moore will miss three to four days of practice with a hip pointer suffered on a 28-yard reception Saturday. LB Dustin Doe will miss about a week with a groin injury, and OL Jim Tartt (shoulder) was upgraded to probable for the Tennessee game. Redshirt sophomore S Cody Wharton is out for the season with an ACL injury.

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

Gators' Tebow fires back at Miami over field goal 09/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 15, 2008 10:20am]

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