The Tim Tebow magic finally wore off last Sunday when New England ended the Broncos' winning streak. But Denver still controls its own destiny for the postseason and Tebow's spark is one of the biggest reasons why--along with an improved defensive unit that features former Wildcat Wesley Woodyard as a key cog.
During a recent appearance on "The Leach Report" radio show, Woodyard talked about he's become such a Tebow fan.
"Playing against him in college, I hated playing against him because I knew somehow his teammates believed in him and now I know that and see why Florida had so much success, because he controlled so much as far as on the offense," Woodyard said. "He had people who believed in himself and he believes in himself. If its fourth-and-20, with Tim, he not only thinks he is going to get the first down but he thinks he is going to score and that rubs off on everybody."
That includes the defense.
"The energy our offense plays with spreads to the defense and vice versa. We see them make a big play or Tim goes out and runs someone over or gets a big gain, it gets everyone excited and keeps the defense fresh on the sidelines," he added.
Some think Tebow's All-America persona is too good to be true but Woodyard says the team knows Tebow is the real deal.
"It's his work ethic. Today, he went out an hour before everybody and was working on his passing most of the time. He is always trying to get better. That is what you need out of a quarterback," Woodyard said. "He is always trying to influence everyone to give it their all and do the extra."
And if anybody knows about leadership, it's Woodyard, who drew praise from UK coaches almost from the first he set foot on the campus when it came to setting the tone for the rest of the team. Woodyard said Tebow's leadership for now has been more by example than vocal.
He hasn't been quite as vocal as he was in his college years but he says what needs to be said outside of the field and on the field but he is a great leader as far as going out there and leaving it all on the field.
And Woodyard really enjoys playing for first-year Denver coach John Fox.
"He is a good coach as far as enthusiasm, passion and love for the game of football," Woodyard noted. "It's great to everybody. He is one of the guys who believes in smashmouth football and he bring that back for us. Tough, physical football."
One thing Woodyard never got to experience at UK was beating Tennessee. He wasn't able to watch his alma mater end that 26-year streak because the Broncos were traveling but he got the word at the airport from a teammate--who had played for the Vols.
And Woodyard was amazed to hear the story about how coverted wideout Matt Roark led the way.
"I tip my hat to him. I was able to speak with him when he came in as a freshman," Woodyard said, "and I told him 'you gotta look forward to doing big things' and who knew that he would have ended the Tennessee streak."
Current UK star Danny Trevathan is like Woodyard in that he's a linebacker with the knock that he is under-sized for the NFL. But Woodyard says that should not keep him from having a long pro career.
"I have seen Danny play and he is a great football player in my eyes. I think he will get a shot," said Woodyard, "and hopefully he gets drafted but if not, hopefully he get a shot undrafted and balls out. Anybody who leads the SEC in tackles in my opinion, they can play in the NFL."