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September 28, 2012
Florida moves up for five-star after visit | Four-star making travel plans with Florida | Notebook: Defense prepared for LSU | Pease happy with Driskel, not so much with Debose | Through Four Games - comparing 2011 to 2012 | The Stock Report - Driskel soaring | Bye week superlatives
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.
Leaving school early to pursue his NBA dream, guard Brad Beal is already impressing Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman in practice. Unfortunately for the young player, his efforts may not get him the starting nod he has been hoping for when the season begins as he is currently behind Jordan Crawford for that role. "Obviously Jordan has been here, had got a little bit of an advantage right now," said Wittman, according to The Washington Post. "I always think guys that know what to expect have a little bit of an advantage moving in." Wittman nevertheless praised Beal for what he has seen so far out of him. "I've been impressed," he said. "He's a very confident kid, one that I don't think is going to be intimidated by being the third pick and now stepping in and being part of a nucleus of moving forward and trying to take that next step."
In his second honoring in three weeks, Gators jumper Will Claye, who took home a silver and bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics in the triple jump and long jump, respectively, will be honored with an official Proclamation from Gainesville, FL Mayor Craig Lowe on Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Gainesville City Hall. Claye, who was also honored alongside a number of other Florida Olympians at the Miami Dolphins-New York Jets game last Sunday, plans to continue competing in international events and - at 21 years of age - already has his eyes set on the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Now in her second year with the Gators, goalkeeper Taylor Burke earned national recognition recently as ESPNW wrote a feature about her being a two-sport star and one of the most athletic players at her position in the nation. Burke, who also competes as a jumper on UF's track & field team, should have an opportunity to one day compete in the Olympics though she is unsure which sport she will choose in the long run. In the feature story, Gators head soccer coach Becky Burleigh cautioned that Burke's ceiling can be limited until she decides to pick one sport or the other to train in year-round. "To balance the two sports and to not have that real, true offseason, that's a challenge," she said.
In a sudden turn of events, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has decided to remain in Gainesville to continue training Florida assistant director of strength and conditioning Matt DeLancey and learning under Gators swimming coach Gregg Troy rather than move to California as previously planned. His manager confirmed Lochte's decision to NBC Sport but did say that a move could be scheduled in the future depending how his schedule shakes out. Like Claye, Lochte has designs on competing in Rio but has a long way to go until then.
Now that Florida football fans have Saturday off considering the Gators are on a bye week, it may be a bit difficult determining which games you may want to watch to fill the void. Luckily you are covered right here with a small viewing guide that should be able to help you out on Saturday. Start your day off with a showdown of No. 9 West Virginia and No. 25 Baylor (on FX), a pair of undefeated teams squaring off in a game that could feature yet another offensive explosion by WVU. When 3:30 p.m. rolls around you have your choice of No. 5 Georgia vs. Tennessee (CBS) or No. 14 Ohio State (if you can stomach watching them) at No. 20 Michigan State (ABC). Despite the fact that they play Towson, No. 3 LSU (UF's opponent next week, obviously) will be featured at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Should that game look over inside of an hour, No. 12 Texas takes on Oklahoma State at 7:50 p.m. (FOX), No. 22 Nebraska faces Wisconsin at 8 p.m. (NBC), and No. 1 Alabama looks to thrash Ole Miss at 9 p.m. (ESPN).
Gators student-athletes will be competing all weekend long as six different sports are still up and running. Swimming & diving is participating in the All Florida Invitational in Gainesville, FL from Friday-Sunday, women's tennis continues to see action in the Riveria/ITA All-American Tournament in Los Angeles, CA, cross country takes part in the Saint Leo Invitational on Saturday, and men's golf begins the Olympia Fields/Illini Invitational on Sunday. No. 24 Florida soccer (6-3-1, 3-1 SEC) will host Ole Miss on Friday at 7 p.m. before turning around two days later and taking on Arkansas when they come to town on Sunday at 1 p.m. No. 13 Gators volleyball (9-2, 3-0 SEC), which keeps moving up the national rankings, will be on the road all weekend. Florida will square off with South Carolina on Friday at 7 p.m. and Mississippi State on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.