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September 12, 2012
The Silver Lining: 9/12 Orange & Blue News
FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: UF-A&M Breakdown - A tale of two halves | Florida defense looking to expose Bray | Coveted 2014 corner still interested in Florida | 2014 commit Valentine plans return trip to Florida | Impact Analysis: Injuries pile up | Pease Notebook: Line a team strength | Driskel wants to play smarter | Florida bitten by injury bug | Following the Future: Week 2 (free) | Scenes from Saturday (85 free photos from UF-A&M game) | Post game uncensored sound off (free)
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.
Looking ahead to his next game, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was asked during a press conference this week how he felt about his team's conditioning against Florida. "It wasn't our team flopping around on the field in the second half," he quipped. Houston Chronicle beat writer Brent Zwerneman then asked Sumlin if the Gators were "flopping around" due to conditioning or another reason to which he simply replies, "You were there." Florida did have a number of players go down in the second half with injuries and 10 total were tended to on the field throughout the course of the game. Though the Gators did have some serious injuries, many of these instances were simply cramps (or perhaps nothing at all as some have accused UF of going to the ground to slow down A&M's offense).
In training camp this season Philadelphia Eagles punter Chas Henry, who was immediately signed as an undrafted free agent by the team in 2011, was greeted by another punter in camp - two-time Pro Bowler Mat McBriar. Henry told Comcast SportsNet this week that seeing McBriar in uniform gave him a sense of impending doom. "When they brought him in, I saw the writing on the wall," he said. "He's a two-time Pro Bowler. I figured, 'OK, that's it for me here.'" Instead it was Henry who beat McBriar out for the starting job; he also credits him for not only being a good teammate but also someone who pushed him to become a better punter. Henry set the Eagles team record for punting average on Sunday. He booted three punts over 60 yards and finished with a 55.0 yard-per-punt average on the day.
Not every former Florida player had a good day on Sunday. In fact, two Gators - Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson and Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert - went down with injuries during their respective games. Nelson's injury ended his season as he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. He is in good spirits and hoping to make a full recovery though it was a tough time for him to get injured considering it is his contract year. Gilbert, on the other hand, "only" hyperextended his knee; he is expected to return to the field this weekend after sitting out for much of the game on Sunday.
In an release sent out on Monday, the F Club officially announced the nine-member class it will induct into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame on April 5, 2013. The most notable names in the class are quarterback Rex Grossman (football), defender Heather Mitts (soccer), offensive tackle Mike Pearson (football) and pitcher Josh Fogg (baseball). Joining them are Jeff Davis (wrestling), Riko Higashio (women's golf), Chrissy Van Fleet (gymnastics), Larry Morris (football) and Ernestine Russell-Weaver (gymnastics). The first seven listed above will be inducted as Gator Greats while Morris will be a Distinguished Letterwinner and Russell-Weaver an Honorary Letterwinner.
Not one, not two, but three different former members of Florida's secondary caught interceptions during NFL action on Sunday. Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Ahmad Black and St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins both registered their first career picks while Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden not only made an interception but returned it 50 yards down the field before being tackled. Haden will not have the opportunity to pick off any more passes over the next four weeks as his suspension for violating the league's banned substances policy became official starting this past Monday.
Gators athletics had a very successful weekend overall with the good news also carrying over into Tuesday. Then-No. 15 volleyball (6-2) combined for three wins in the Florida-hosted Active Ankle Challenge over the weekend, and No. 24 soccer (3-2-1) came from behind twice to defeat New Mexico 3-2 on Sunday. Also finding success recently was the pairing of juniors Mike Alford and Florent Diep, who won the men's doubles title at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships. The No. 9 Gators women's golf team capped the great five-day stretch with a victory in the Cougar Classic and sophomore Camila Hedberg winning the overall tournament.