The Kentucky Wildcats’ 27-16 win over SEC rival Florida last Saturday was a long time coming. It was their first win over the Gators since 1986.
That loss left a bad taste in the mouths of Florida fans, including the university’s most famous athlete, Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion Tim Tebow.
Tebow gave his former team a reality check during a guest spot on ESPN’s “First Take” on Friday.
“First time in 31 years, you can’t do that! You can’t do that,” Tebow told host Molly Qerim.
When Querim said he’s “supposed to be the inspirational one,” he responded, “Not always!”
“Listen, that was tough. 31 years! I wasn’t even born the last time Kentucky beat Florida. Are you kidding me?” Tebow said.
The former Heisman winner said the Gators need a “change in mindset” to turn things around.
“I was at practice Thursday before the Kentucky game and I spoke to the team, obviously that didn’t do a lot of good,” Tebow said. “There was a confidence, but in my opinion it wasn’t the right type of confidence. It was a confidence of ‘Hey, we’re Florida, we’re talented, we’ve got a lot of draft picks.’”
But he said it takes more than talent to win in the SEC.
“Listen, draft picks don’t win games. Great players win games, OK? There’s a difference between being a great player and being a talented player. Florida’s talented players need to be great players,” Tebow said.
“They’ve got a lot of really good athletes and first-round draft picks, but now they’ve got to coach those draft picks, they’ve got to make them great,” he said. “Not just great talented players, but great on the field. And I think (coach Dan) Mullen is going to be able to get that done.”
Florida struggled mightily last year, finishing 3-5 in the conference (4-7 overall). It was so bad, it led to the firing of coach Jim McElwain before the season was over. However, the Gators were still able to beat Kentucky last year, just barely, 28-27.
But the Wildcats had a good season in 2017 under coach Mark Stoops, finishing 4-4 in the toughest conference in college football (7-6 overall), ahead of Florida in the SEC’s East Division. And now they are off to a 2-0 start this year.
Kentucky finally beating Florida + Titanic music pic.twitter.com/miY1sKSBO9
— paco (@AllaireMatt) September 9, 2018
Florida hired Mullen, who coached Tebow as a Gators assistant, with the hopes of righting the ship. After a 53-6 trouncing of Charleston Southern in Week 1, the Gators took a big step back with the loss to Kentucky.
Despite the defeat, Tebow is confident Mullen has the Gators moving in the right direction.
“I think Dan Mullen’s going to get them there,” he said.
Florida (1-1) hosts 1-2 Colorado State on Saturday as it tries to get back on track.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats should have little trouble getting to 3-0 as they host Murray State.
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