Florida Gators football notebook: Brandon Spikes, Tim Tebow vow fight complacency
When quarterback Tim Tebow and linebacker Brandon Spikes announced that they would stay at Florida for their senior seasons, the Gators became a favorite to win their third national title in four years.
That chance was part of what brought them back, and they have been talking about it throughout spring practice.
"We just talked about getting a three-peat," Spikes said.
"We have the whole defense back and you win championships with the defense. So we have a great chance of doing it."
Spikes' math is a little off, as he forgot about the 2007 season that ended with a Capital One Bowl loss instead of a championship.
But it's fitting that he considers that as a lost season -- an anomaly wedged between titles.
That year started much like the 2009 season will, with Florida coming off of a championship, but the 2007 team suffered. There weren't enough leaders, and there was a sense of entitlement throughout the squad.
Spikes and Tebow are determined to keep that from happening again.
"We know the standards are high because we're bringing everybody back on defense," Spikes said.
"People are expecting us to play well, but our thing is that we can't get complacent. We know we're good, but we have to keep working."
Winning another title wasn't the only thing that convinced Spikes to stay.
His brother, Breyon Middlebrooks, is serving a life sentence for a first-degree murder conviction. Using the money from a professional contract to hire a lawyer for an appeal always has been a priority for Spikes. But Middlebrooks took a load off of Spikes' shoulders when he was making his decision about whether to turn pro.
"I spoke with him when I was going through the process, and he just told me to follow my heart," Spikes said.
"He didn't want me to make any decisions on his behalf or on what he did in the past. I felt like coming back would benefit me more."
With their decisions behind them, Spikes and Tebow can get back to the task at hand at UF.
The key for Tebow is to keep a narrow focus on the Southeastern Conference. The national championship isn't his main goal, but it could happen with a strong showing in conference play.
"The SEC is our number one goal," Tebow said.
"It's our conference, and it's what we want to win. It's what we take the most pride in because we feel it's a great conference, one of the best in the country. If we win that, we think we deserve to be in a big game."
MIAMI PLAYER COMMITS
Coconut Grove Ransom Everglades High linebacker Gideon Ajagbe committed to Florida on Tuesday, giving UF its ninth oral commitment for the 2010 recruiting class.
Ajagbe, who is 6-2, 200 pounds, is the first linebacker to commit so far, and he would help shore up a position that will lose Spikes, Ryan Stamper and Dustin Doe after this season. Oral commitments are nonbinding until a letter of intent is signed on or after Feb. 3.