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.
Lost amongst the 12 former Gators listed on the 2013 Pro Bowl ballot are Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden and New England tight end Aaron Hernandez. Haden was left off the ballot due to his drug suspension, while Hernandez (though productive) has missed most of the first half of the season with an ankle injury. Florida players that did make it on the ballot include Minnesota's Percy Harvin (as a wide receiver and kick returner), Pittsburgh tackle Marcus Gilbert, Oakland guard Cooper Carlisle, centers Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh) and Mike Pouncey (Miami), Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Jacksonville DE Jeremy Mincey, New England linebacker Brandon Spikes, St. Louis CB Janoris Jenkins, Chicago safety Major Wright and Cincinnati S Reggie Nelson.
It was feared on Monday that new Washington guard Brad Beal may have seriously injured himself during practice when he fell down on the court and started grabbing at his lower leg. With point guard John Wall already on the shelf, losing Beal as well would have been a gut shot to Wizards' fans. Luckily for them, Beal simply rolled his ankle and is expected to be back in action soon. Through six preseason games, he is averaging 13.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and a block in 27.2 minutes while shooting .424 from the field, .316 from three and .864 from the line.
Not having played yet this season, Miami wide receiver Jabar Gaffney was picked up off the free agent wire three weeks ago but has been inactive for two of the three weeks (the Dolphins are coming off of a bye). Gaffney struggled through training camp with New England due to injury and was cut mostly for those reasons but is finally healthy again and signed with Miami to continue his career. Though he is a veteran, Gaffney has had some issues picking up the Dolphins' offense considering it was completely foreign to him upon signing. The team desperately needs him on the field and hopes that desire may be able to come to fruition this Sunday as Miami travels up north to take on the New York Jets.
In media voting conducted this week, Gators senior guard Kenny Boynton and junior center Patric Young were named to the preseason All-SEC first and second teams, respectively. Receiving a similar honor was senior forward Jennifer George on the women's side, who was placed on the first team and also received a vote for SEC Player of the Year. Florida men's basketball was picked by the media to finish second in the conference with 5-of-24 first-place votes, while the women's team was voted into the ninth overall spot.
Now seven weeks into the NFL season, Tim Tebow continues to be mostly a non-factor for the Jets and it is all the coaching staff's doing. Even if New York does not believe that Tebow can throw the ball with the necessary accuracy and chooses not to play him 15-20 snaps a game like was initially intended, the Jets are proving that they have absolutely no idea how to use Tebow on the football field. New York has a Wildcat package of plays for him and will use him on an occasional fake punt but has only had him attempt two passes all season and chooses not to use him on short-yardage plays or anywhere near the end zone, which were obviously his bread and butter in college. In fact, Tebow just this week took a rush all the way down inside the five but was pulled for Mark Sanchez despite the Jets having a first down and a prime opportunity to run the ball. Tebow joined New York thinking it would be his best opportunity to play and continue his career. Unfortunately for him, the exact opposite is currently occurring.
Gators soccer and volleyball completed another impressive weekend though it was not a perfect one. No. 11 Florida soccer fell 1-0 to Alabama on Friday, dropping its first match since Sept. 14. The Gators followed that up with a 4-0 smackdown of Vanderbilt on Sunday, improving their record to 13-4-1 and 10-2 in SEC play. No. 11 Gators volleyball was once again perfect but had to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday afternoon. Florida picked up a 3-0 sweep of Alabama on Friday only to travel to College Station, TX on Sunday and find itself down two sets. As has been standard for the Gators this season, UF rallied all the way back with consecutive 25-23 victories in the third and fourth set. Florida then dominated Texas A&M 15-6 in the fifth and final set to improve to 17-2 on the season and remain undefeated (11-0) in league action. Though soccer is just one game away from the beginning of the SEC Tournament, volleyball has 10 more regular season games remaining including nine against conference opponents.