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December 26, 2012
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.
Gators fans have certainly been well aware of the latest regarding Tim Tebow, in which a report from ESPNNewYork.com early in the week noted that he "opted out" of participating in the Wildcat package when he was passed over for the starting job after the team benched Mark Sanchez. Though Tebow has received some criticism for these alleged actions, notably from Merril Hoge, there are more than a few analysts and writers in his corner. Former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski vehemently defended Tebow, saying it would be "mind-boggling" to him if the story was true. New York Daily News columnist Tim Smith defended Tebow, assuming his actions were portrayed accurately. "Tim Tebow finally stood up for himself," Smith wrote. "Good for him. The nice guy showed he no longer wanted to be a part of the Jets' season-long ruse. ... [Sunday] should have been Tebow's game to win or lose."
A recent column by Pro Football Weekly, which gathered anonymous quotes from high-ranking NFL personnel, had two nuggets concerning former Gators playmakers that fans will find interesting. On wide receiver Percy Harvin: "[He] is a genetic freak. The guy doesn't have to work out or train - he's just a gifted athlete." On cornerback Janoris Jenkins: "[He] is immature and he'll always require some maintenance - you have to stay on him. But he's a playmaker. He's the most impressive rookie corner I've seen this year." The column also notes that "Charlie Weis is a name to keep an eye on. He had to go down to the college level to get a chance at a head job. ... He's a great offensive mind. He understands personnel. ? I could see him getting looks for a few [NFL head-coaching jobs]."
Though it is tough to say that one brother is outperforming the other considering their position, Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey is having a dominant sophomore season. Yet while brother and Pittsburgh Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey is having a slightly down year, he is the one likely to get Pro Bowl recognition Monday night, not Mike. NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes told the Palm Beach Post this week that both brothers are deserving of the honor. "It's all about winning," he said. "They're both young players, but [Maurkice] is with a team whose players get recognized because they win a lot. Mike isn't." Neither the Dolphins nor Steelers will be in the playoffs this year. It may take a season or two of top-notch play by Miami for Mike to get recognized but if he continues on this path it will be tough to deny his excellence.
On Friday, former Gators offensive lineman Lomas Brown was a guest on ESPN Radio and admitted to occasionally allowing his quarterbacks to take a hit as a way to send the message to them for one reason for another. "Just let the guy hit him," he said. "Just let the D-lineman get a shot at him. I'd make it look good. I had some actor in me." Brown then said he let former quarterback Scott Mitchell take a few shots back in the day. He even detailed one particular game in which he allowed Mitchell to take a major hit that eventually knocked him out of the game. Needless to say, Brown has been roundly criticized for these admissions and even received scorn from Mitchell himself, who called Brown "reprehensible" and his actions "beyond words" and "unacceptable."
Representatives of Minor League Baseball announced Friday that former Florida Billy Bullock, a member of the Atlanta Braves farm system, has been suspended 50 games after violating the league's drug prevention and treatment program for a second time. Bullock was caught using a "drug of abuse" and will now miss the majority of the 2013 season. He was originally a second-round pick by Minnesota in 2009 but was traded to Atlanta in 2011. He has struggled with his consistency in the minors despite throwing in the mid-90s and striking out a large number of batters. Now it will be interesting to see what the team does with him when he returns from suspension.
Some Gators fans remain angry at Steve Addazio for what they feel was an inept and uninspired offense that Florida ran under his watch. What is not talked about nearly enough is what he did for the Gators when Urban Meyer took his eight-month sabbatical as he kept together the nation's top recruiting class and gave UF an opportunity at possibly keeping Meyer long-term (we all know how that worked out). In a recent feature by the Boston Globe, Addazio (hired this month to lead Boston College) detailed the situation and how it made him a better coach. "It was chaotic when it happened," Addazio said. "My whole thing at that point was this is something I felt like I could do for the University of Florida, for the players, and for Urban. With all he had done for me, I just said I just want to get this all right so when he's ready to come back, I can give him back the program in great shape and not a situation where there was chaos." He continued, "Sometimes when people talk about interim head coaches, usually that term means for the bowl game or a week or two or three, but I ran the program for eight months. So that was, for me, a tremendous learning experience. So when I went to Temple, I had been a head coach, probably in the most pressurized spot in America, and that experience for me was invaluable." Click to read the Globe feature