ATHENS, Ga. -- In order to practice good manners, we are often taught not to bring up politics or religion in polite conversation. The same can be said of mentioning Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow in a room full of Georgia fans. While the nation might be split between Tebow believers and Tebow critics, the Bulldogs' faithful tend to despise the ex-Florida Gator, regardless.
While many respect his Christian principles and values, more can never forgive his going 3-1 against the Bulldogs. And when Georgia's talented quarterback Matthew Stafford left early for the NFL, Tebow stayed in school to lead the Gators to an SEC East championship. He broke Herschel Walker's SEC career record for rushing touchdowns in a game against, fittingly enough, the Bulldogs.
"Tebow" is likely classified as a curse word in some parts of Georgia.
But what if the Bulldogs had their own Tebow -- a tall, bruising runner who can throw as well as hit like a linebacker?
They just might have that in quarterback Faton Bauta, who started classes Monday. The 6-foot-1, 222-pound standout has often been referred to as "Tim Tebow Jr." Bauta has played linebacker, safety, running back and tight end. DawgNation caught up with Bauta recently to ask him what he thought of the comparison.
"I don't know, I mean he is a great player," Bauta said. "We have similar styles. He is a professional quarterback, but personally I think I can throw the ball better than he can."
Bauta is an inch shorter and about 14 pounds lighter than Tebow. But he is also 6 years younger. Bauta says some of the comparisons are not fair, simply because Tebow has accomplished so much.
"I don't want to be compared to him because I am not at his level yet," Bauta said. "He has done great things in college and he is doing great things in the NFL right now. I'd like to be compared to him just so people would say that we both have this will to win -- no matter how you do it. If you win, you win; it doesn't matter if it is by an inch or a mile.
"That is the only way I like being compared to him. We have similar styles but I want to be better than he is. He is definitely a role model of mine, but one of those role models I want to be better than. Being compared to him is definitely a compliment, but is also kind of a motivation. I use it, I feed off of it."
Bauta watches a lot of professional games, but only the offensive series of the teams he follows. When it comes to quarterbacks he watches, Bauta doesn't focus on just the big signal-callers.
"Drew Brees," Bauta said. "He and Tom Brady are my favorites. I like Brees just because of his swagger. He is incredible on the field and has the respect of everybody, including his teammates. I like how he controls the field. Tom Brady is just so smooth; also Aaron Rodgers. He is calm, cool and collected all the time, no matter what the situation is. He is special. Those are the three guys I watch the most and try to emulate."
The new Georgia Bulldog added that he feels people can be stubborn, refusing to understand the difference between that swagger and being cocky.
"Those guys are confident," Bauta said. "They have to be because they have a whole team to carry. People don't understand that it's a quarterback's job to carry his team. You have all these people looking up to you and you can't let them down. If you react, they'll react, so you have to be sure you are always calm, know what you are doing and be professional."
Radi Nabulsi covers University of Georgia athletics for DawgNation. He can be reached at RadiNabulsiESPN@gmail.com.