In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Late Friday the Gators held their annual Friday Night Lights camp with some of the top talent from the state of Florida and the country in town to work out in front of UF's coaches. Two of the players in attendance were actually Gators legacies: four-star defensive back Marcell Harris (his father is safety Mike Harris who played on the 1996 championship team) and three-star linebacker Keith Kelsey Jr. (his dad is four-time letter-winning LB Keith Keith. With four-star running back Kelvin Taylor (son of former UF RB Fred Taylor) already in the fold for 2013, Florida could wind up with a very familiar class to depending how things shake out in the coming months.
In full promotional mode, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah made the rounds at ESPN on Thursday to hock a brand of coconut water. He gave mostly dry interviews to ESPN Radio and SportsCenter but said some interesting things on ESPN2's Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable, especially as it came to his time at Florida. "My last year at Florida was a blast. I had so much fun. We won a lot of basketball games and then at night we partied. And we did our homework too sometimes," he said with a laugh. "Let me tell you the truth. It's not really appropriate to talk about it on TV, but one day if you want we can grab a beer and I'll tell you all about it." LeBatard then pressed Noah about how much class he actually attended in his junior season. "My junior year? Let's talk about the percentage my freshman year," Noah said, smiling. "Freshman year I went to all my classes, I had to. Sophomore year when we started winning it started getting a little trickier, but I was still going. And then my junior year, it was a battle. It was a battle. They were waking me up at five o'clock in the morning and making me run. I was just telling the guys that what they were doing was just making me better. [...] Why are you doing this to me? I'm trying to tell these kids to go to school, man, and you're trying to get me to tell a percentage! I'm not giving you the answer to that. I'm not going to lie." Let's just say that's probably not the response UF was hoping for from Noah or any former player.
Now done with Summer League action, new Washington Wizards point guard Brad Beal was able to reflect on his play in the event and noted that he must improve his shooting efficiency and be more aggressive on the court, two things that he also struggled with early in his Gators career. "Honestly, I feel as though I'm open, coach is going to tell me to shoot it. It's times I was open and passed and coach got all on my head [telling me to shoot], so I mean, certain situations, I'm an unselfish player," Beal told the Washington Post. "I'd rather get somebody else going. I'll eventually get going myself. That's just my mentality. But it's really just staying focused and staying within the flow of the game, actually."
In Gainesville, FL speaking to members of the Titletown Gator Club, offensive coordinator Brent Pease outlined many of his concepts (which have already been discussed here on ITG) but also provided a tidbit about junior "running back" Trey Burton - he's going to be used plenty. "He's one of the best athletes on the team," Pease said, according to Florida's official website. "Sometimes, the ball has to be in his hands." It appears as if the Gators will continue shifting Burton around this season, lining him up behind the quarterback, at halfback and even at tight end. On a team in desperate need of playmakers, Pease obviously agrees with some of the coordinators that came before him - Burton can make things happen with the ball in his hands.
Now right in the middle of the 2012 London Olympics, 33 former Florida student athletes (37 if you include transfers and an incoming freshman) have begun putting on their respective countries' uniforms and competing for medals. The Gators have 10 track & field athletes, one basketball player, two soccer players, one tennis player and 19 swimmers who will be in action. Eleven will be representing the United States, six will compete for the host country of Great Britain and the other 16 will wear the flags of 14 different countries including: Australia, Barbados, Bosnia, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Jamaica, Poland, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain and Tunisia. The Orange & Blue News will provide Olympic updates at the beginning and end of the week, but daily threads will also be posted in Alligator Alley.
Gators swimmers Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Elisabeth Beisel are all going for the gold on the very first day of official Olympic competition as the finals of the men's 400 meter individual medley, women's 400 meter individual medley and men's 400 meter freestyle will all be held on Saturday from 2:30-3 p.m. (but will be aired delayed on NBC at 8 p.m.). Dwyer will go for another medial on Sunday as he competes in the men's 4x100 freestyle relay set to begin at 3:54 p.m. and air delayed on NBC at 7 p.m.