University of Florida

Florida Gators welcome Tim Tebow home for Kentucky game

In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo provided by ABC, ESPN and SEC Network Analyst Tim Tebow is shown in ABC’s Times Square New York studios. Tebow will join Good Morning America as a contributor starting Monday, Sept. 15, 2014.
In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo provided by ABC, ESPN and SEC Network Analyst Tim Tebow is shown in ABC’s Times Square New York studios. Tebow will join Good Morning America as a contributor starting Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. AP

Tim Tebow remains a beloved figure in Gainesville.

The former Heisman trophy winner was back in town as part of the “SEC Nation” pregame show, and Florida fans flocked in mass to watch the former Gators quarterback breakdown the UF-Kentucky matchup on Saturday morning.

Tebow, alongside host Joe Tessitore and analysts Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum, reported live from Florida’s Plaza of Americas from 10:00 a.m. until noon on the SEC Network.

“It’s good to be home,” Tebow said, later doing the Gator chomp to the delight of many.

Tebow predicted a runaway Gators victory, while also waxing “nostalgic” about his recollections of The Swamp (2006-09).

“I have a lot of great memories here, and I love the University of Florida,” Tebow said.

Tebow wasn’t the only former Florida quarterback in Gainesville, as Jesse Palmer called the game with Brent Musburger on the SEC Network.

MAYE, LANE BACK

Defensive back Marcus Maye returned from his hamstring injury, starting at nickel for the Gators. The redshirt sophomore was sidelined for UF’s opener against Eastern Michigan, but defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said Maye had a solid weak of practice and was ready reenter the lineup.

Redshirt freshman tailback Adam Lane also returned to action after missing the opener due to a family matter.

Meanwhile, starting left tackle D.J. Humphries missed the first of at least two games with a high ankle sprain/chipped bone.

The junior was injured during the second quarter in Florida’s win over EMU, and senior right tackle Chaz Green shifted to left tackle for just the second time in his career.

Redshirt freshman right tackle Roderick Johnson made his first career start, struggling for much of the first half.

THIS & THAT

▪ Former Gators defensive end Thaddeus Bullard — aka World Wide Entertainment wrestling star Titus O’Neil — served as Florida’s honorary “Mr. Two Bits. O’Neil, who played at UF from 1997-2000, ripped off his shirt during the pregame cheers.

▪ Four fourth-year players were captains against Kentucky: quarterback Jeff Driskel, tight end Clay Burton, linebacker Neiron Ball and wideout/kick returner Andre Debose.

▪ UF’s women’s athletics program was honored during the first quarter with the 2014 Capital One Cup trophy. Capital One presented Florida with a $200,000 check for student-athelte scholarships. The Gators became the first school to ever win the Capital One Cup in both men (2011, 2012) and women sports.

▪ Junior Matt Jones started at tailback for the second consecutive game.

▪ With senior tight end Jake McGee out for the season (broken leg), freshman tight end DeAndre Goolsby made his collegiate debut and play extensively.

▪ Chandler Parsons of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks watched the game from the sidelines. Parsons starred at Florida from 2007-11, winning the SEC Player of the Year as a senior.

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