There's more than just a Pro Bowl featuring Vince Young(notes) at quarterback to watch during the interminable wait between Sunday's conference championships and the Super Bowl on February 7. Next week, the pre-draft hype kicks into a slightly higher gear as Senior Bowl practices get underway. The Senior Bowl game is next Saturday, but the practices are where the real action happens; NFL scouts and coaches watch most of the best of this year's senior draft class, and the decision-making process begins.
The most interesting story from a coverage perspective seems to be the further quarterbacking adventures of one Tim Tebow, he of the inspirational eyeblack and questionable passing mechanics. Tebow is acknowledged as one of the greatest college football players ever, and when you cast aside the saccharine hype created by his "followers", there's legitimacy to the claim. When he announced that he would participate in the Senior Bowl to prove the refinement of his skills, there were all-time record ticket sales. Tebow is currently working at D1 Sports Performance in Franklin, Tennessee, a facility co-owned by Peyton Manning(notes), and impressing the guys responsible for his development.
"I told him when he came in, this place is not for everybody,'' Kurt Hester of D1 told the Nashville Tennesseean. "We are that blue-collar facility, we work. And he has not skipped a beat. He is not a prima donna. He does not complain.''
Tebow's working to rid himself of a long, slow release that will get him killed in the NFL, and that's just the first step. He'll have to adjust to many more reads than he ever saw in Urban Meyer's offense (he can ask Alex Smith about that). Footwork and intermediate accuracy will be concerns at the next level, as will his ability to take snaps under center.
There are those who believe that Tebow's best shot in the NFL is either as an H-back, or in an option-heavy offense where he can read and run. Many NFL teams are using shotgun option more than in the past, led by the success of the Wildcat formations in Miami. And here's where Tebow could be in a very advantageous position this upcoming week -- he's on the South team, which will be coached by the Dolphins' staff. Included in that staff is quarterbacks coach David Lee, who brought the Wildcat to Miami after running it at Arkansas with Darren McFadden(notes) and Felix Jones(notes). As a result, Tebow could get many more looks in formats that fit his abilities than if he was practicing under a more traditionally-minded staff. Something to watch for.
After the jump, check out video of Lee putting the Wildcat on the whiteboard during his time at Arkansas.