Sugar Bowl notebook
December, 30, 2009
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
NEW ORLEANS -- Some news and notes from Wednesday of Allstate Sugar Bowl week:
- You might be sick of hearing about Tim Tebow. But Cincinnati is looking forward to being on the same field as the most famous player in college football.
"I'm very excited to match up against him," linebacker JK Schaffer said. "I'm a true sophomore, so I used to watch him play when I was in high school."
Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike plays the same position and wears the same No. 15 as Tebow. He has expressed great admiration for the Florida star this week.
"With what he's done for college football, the way he's changed the game, it's an honor to be on the field with him," Pike said. "He's won national championships and the Heisman Trophy, but more than that it's what he does off the field. It's the way he's involved and gives back to everyone else. That's something special.
"He's a guy you watch and you're like, 'Wow, look at what he does.' And then all of a sudden you're playing against him."
Pike said he was looking forward to meeting Tebow but so far hasn't gotten the chance this week.
It's one thing to respect Tebow, but the Bearcats have to find a way to stop him. How are they preparing for Tebow's unique combination of size and speed?
Cincinnati interim coach Jeff Quinn said he's used five different players to simulate the Gators quarterback in practice, with Chazz Anderson taking the most scout reps.
- Teams almost always say they have been practicing well before a big game. It's like the way every horse trainer swears his colt is in top shape the week before the Kentucky Derby.
Still, several Bearcats players insisted that Tuesday's workout at the New Orleans Saints indoor facility was one of their best practices in a long time.
"After that practice, I was like, 'Oh, man, we're ready,'" receiver Mardy Gilyard said. "'We can play right now if we wanted to.'"
On Wednesday, Cincinnati practiced inside the Superdome for the first time.
"There's a new level of excitement when you get in here and see the venue and the Allstate Sugar Bowl logo on the field," Pike said. "And guys really responded."
- Cincinnati has tried to keep it under wraps all week, but the Bearcats are expected to have a new look on Friday night: white uniforms with white helmets, replacing their signature black hats.
Quinn pleaded ignorance when asked about it after practice. Not that the fashion statement will mean much.
"White, black, purple, pink -- give me anything," defensive lineman Alex Daniels said. "Give me the old leather helmets with the little strap. I just want to play football."