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Tim Tebow not focused on "the haters" of the Florida Gators football team

GAINESVILLE — QB Tim Tebow has been on nearly every preseason magazine cover all summer, has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, and had a ''Sunday Night Conversation'' on ESPN.

And the season hasn't even started.

Tebow hasn't asked for the enormous amount of attention he's generating right now — or over the past three years for that matter. And if some people are starting to feel like there's too much Tebow all the time, don't expect Tebow to apologize.

"I just try to handle it the best I can, and be as nice as I can and (be) polite," Tebow said during Tuesday's media day when asked if he has become overexposed. "Just be myself, be genuine, and if people get upset with that or people say it's this or that and he just does it for the hype, well you know there's going to be haters just like everything, just like haters of the University of Florida. You have to deal with that."

Instead of focusing on the negative, Tebow said he prefers to think about the people whose lives he has touched in a positive way.

"There are so many more people that have been thankful, or are thankful that I visited their kid in the hospital, or visited in prison, or I did this or that, or that I had a positive message," Tebow said. "So I'm going to look at that more than I look at the haters. I'm going to appreciate the people and the little girl that I just saw named Gabby Hornsby from Jacksonville who is visually impaired and is going through cancer right now and who just gave me this bracelet. That's what I'm going to think about.

"Because really I don't care about the rest of them. I care about the people that I can help and make a difference in their life. There are going to be haters, but you know what? I don't really care."

CELEBRITIES ON PARADE: As the season draws closer, expect celebrity motivational speakers to start pouring in for the football program. Former Notre Dame coach and current ESPN studio analyst Lou Holtz addressed the team Monday. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy will address the team this month and Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan will also be a speaker. Donovan, who is close friends with coach Urban Meyer, lends a different perspective because he coached back-to-back champions at UF.

"At some point (Donovan) will address our team, but the word repeat will never come up," Meyer said. "It's all just about maintaining that edge. That's the way he coaches and that's the way we're coaching. …

"We're very careful with who we allow to speak to our team."

A STUNNING ARRIVAL: Former St. Petersburg Catholic standout Jon Halapio knew his transition into college wouldn't be easy, but he has quickly discovered it's a lot more difficult than he expected. "This was probably the most intense, fast thing I've ever had to do in football," Halapio said. "Nothing I could do could prepare me for the first day of practice. (Monday) was so hot and the intensity, the speed was so great. Everything was so fast. I'm just not used to it." Meyer said he has no doubt the offensive lineman is going to be "a great player," but it's going to take some time.

POUNCEYS AMONG ELITE: Junior OLs Mike and Maurkice Pouncey are among the 40-member Outland Trophy watch list announced on Tuesday. The award honors the nation's best interior lineman on either side of the ball.

Tim Tebow not focused on "the haters" of the Florida Gators football team 08/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 1:04am]

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