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December 29, 2005SANTA ANA, Calif. - Tim Tebow might be only 6-foot-3, but his shadow looms large at the practices for Saturday's Air 7 CaliFlorida Bowl.
The five-star quarterback from Florida is easily the most talked about quarterback at the event, but California prospects Michael Herrick and Garrett Green want to do everything they can to step out of Tebow's aura and prove they are also special signal-callers.
"That's what we're trying to do," Herrick, who is 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, said.
"We want to compete. As far as Tebow goes, we know he's really good. We're just going to come out, do our best and hopefully we'll show that California has some good quarterbacks, too."
Green, who is 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, said it he doesn't look at Saturday's 3 p.m. game at Cal-State Fullerton as a match-up between him and any other quarterbacks, especially Tebow. He'd like to play well and most importantly help his team win, but if he does prove he's a big time player then there is nothing wrong with that.
"We're not out here to prove anything, because we've all accomplished a lot already in our high school careers," Green said. "I'm looking to get the job done, keep this team rolling and hopefully get a win.
"But if either Michael or I do a good job and people are impressed then that's not such a bad thing either."
Herrick and Green will take different approaches in guiding the California offense.
Herrick from Valencia, Calif., is more of a pure pocket passer, proving that time after time in his high school career. After a stellar senior season, the nation's No. 16 pro-style passer became the all-time leading passer for yards in California high school history.
Green from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame is more of a true dual-threat quarterback. Ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 7 dual-threat quarterback, Green is just as comfortable running quarterback draws from the shotgun as he is throwing the corner route.
Both styles are different, and both quarterbacks hope they will be effective against Florida on Saturday.
"I think it adds a good bit of mystery of what's going to happen in the game," Green said.
"Both of us are capable of doing both things. Obviously I'm more of the mobile, and he's more of the pocket passer. But I think it adds a good element to our team, and it'll allow us to strike in different ways. It opens up a lot of possibilities. I'm hoping it makes it tough to defend us."
"Hopefully we'll bring two different dimensions to the game from the quarterbacks," he said. "Garrett can throw too, and I'll try to run as best as I can. He's a little better at it than me, though. I think it's going to work both ways, and we should be able to put some good points up."
Green and Herrick were also quick to admit that they're only as good as the rest of their team, but the good news is that both are blessed with an array of offensive weaponry that should keep Florida on its heels.
Running back Kenny Ashley has been a force in practice all week. C.J. Gable looks more and more like Reggie Bush with his ability to gobble up big yards both on the ground and through the air. And receivers Terrence Austin, Travon Patterson, Alterraun Verner and Rodney Glass are blessed with amazing speed. Then there's also one of the nation's best tight ends with NaDerris Ward.
"We've got some guys around us that will make some plays, and it's going to be fun," Herrick said.
"They're fast. You can throw it up and you think you've over-thrown it and they'll run under it. You'll never be able to over-throw them because they're so fast. They're all guys you can count on. We also have some big tight ends that will make us look good, too."
Just like they differ on the field with their playing styles, Herrick and Green have taken dramatically different approaches to the recruiting process.
Herrick ended it early when he committed to Ole Miss back in July and has stuck with that pledge ever since. He's still in the process of determining whether or not he will enroll at the semester with the Rebels, where he would get a shot at participating in spring practices in Oxford.
"There is still some discussion on whether or not I will graduate at the semester and get out there," Herrick said. "We'll see. I'm still waiting to see what my transcripts say and see if the certain classes fit. I really don't know what's going to happen."
Green has taken a wait-and-see type approach.
At one point, he had offers from programs like Duke, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, UNLV, Washington and many others. He's also been recently linked to Nebraska now that the Huskers are on the market again for quarterbacks.
"I'm not going to feel rushed or pressured," Green said. "I know people get frustrated because I've taken my time and doors have closed because of that. But I don't want to have any regrets or any doubts when I'm going into a school, and that's what I'm looking for. When I find the right school, I'll know it."
One school that people have totally overlooked in Green's recruitment is Harvard. Green said he took a visit out there in late December and there is a good possibility that he could not play Division I football at all.
"It was a cool experience, but different than what I expected," he said. "It was a blast. The guys are real down to earth. They're guys that are like what I'm more familiar with.
"I wouldn't be giving up a dream if I went there. I'd be setting myself up. It's just a different way to reach a different dream. If I'm meant to go on and play college football, then it's going to happen, but I have to prepare for life after football, too. It's a good situation that would set you up for the rest of your life."
But this week neither Green nor Herrick are worried about what's going to happen in the future. Their focus is on helping California win and proving to everybody that while it might be a somewhat down year in the Golden State for quarterbacks, there is enough talent to compete against anybody else in the nation.
Even Tim Tebow.