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January 4, 2009

Oklahoma's Franks not impressed with Tebow

RELATED: Meyer proud of former school Utah

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks was trying to stick up for his team's defense Sunday when he took an indirect swipe at Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

"You look at the three best quarterbacks in the country, [they] came from the Big 12," Franks said. "You look at the three best receivers, [they] came from the Big 12. The three best tight ends came from the Big 12. So we have faced some great offenses, and a lot of people don't understand that other conferences don't have what we face."

Does that mean Tebow the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and a third-place finisher in the balloting this year - isn't one of the three best quarterbacks in the country?

"Yeah, I think our quarterbacks are better," Franks said.

The second-team all-Big 12 selection naturally thought his own quarterback Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was better than Tebow. He also rated Tebow behind Texas' Colt McCoy and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell. Franks' team faces Tebow's Gators on Thursday in the BCS Championship Game at Miami.

Franks said it was tougher him to deal with the likes of McCoy and Harrell because they throw the ball so much more than Tebow.

"It's a lot harder to prepare for those guys," Franks said. "We're coming in and facing Tebow, and he wants to run the ball a lot more. He's predominantly a running quarterback. So to me it's going to be a lot easier for us to prepare to stop the run than having to face a quarterback that might throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game."

Tebow spoke to the media before Franks and therefore wasn't able to comment on the cornerback's remarks, but Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables offered a strong rebuttal.

"I don't think like Dom thinks," Venables said. "I think Tim's a great player. We don't sit and compare, but he's a much different animal than the other guys we've seen. He brings a physical presence, brings an emotional presence, brings the ability to execute in all the key situations. He doesn't flinch. That's what you love about him."

Harrell, McCoy and Bradford all threw for more yards than Tebow, who ranked behind nine Big 12 quarterbacks in passing yards per game. Bradford, Harrell and McCoy also were responsible for more touchdowns this season than Tebow.

But the conventional wisdom all along has been that the Big 12 quarterbacks benefited from the flaws in defenses across that league while Tebow was facing much stronger defenses in the Southeastern Conference.

The SEC has five of the nation's top 19 teams in total defense, while the Big 12 has no representatives among the top 49 teams in that category. Oklahoma ranks 58th in the nation in scoring defense, 63rd in total defense, 43rd in pass efficiency defense and 98th in passing yards allowed per game.

As he provided the Gators with plenty of bulletin-board material, Franks referred to the comments that Tebow reportedly made about the quality of Big 12 defenses.

During its broadcast of the SEC Championship Game, CBS play-by-play announcer Verne Lundquist discussed a conversation he had with Tebow regarding the quarterback's Heisman ballot. According to Lundquist's account, Tebow said he would consider voting for one of the Big 12 quarterbacks, then the quarterback smiled and said, "But I'd really like to throw against some of those defenses in the Big 12."

Tebow later told reporters he never said Big 12 defenses were inferior to those in the SEC. That hasn't stopped Franks from using that perceived slight as motivation.

"It's been great listening to all the comments they're making, so Jan. 8 we're going to see," Franks said. "Everybody said that our defense is suspect in the back end, so hopefully he'll throw me the ball a couple times and I'll get my hands on them."

Franks said he is looking forward to proving that Heisman voters made the right call by selecting his teammate instead of the Florida quarterback.

"With us being in Florida and playing against Florida, everybody is going to think Tebow should have won the Heisman," Franks said. "But the right person won the Heisman, and we're going to show everybody the reason why he won it."

RELATED: Meyer proud of former school Utah

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.



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