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September 3, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators fans hoping their team continues playing the Hurricanes on a regular basis after Saturday's game will likely be disappointed. On Monday, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley spoke to a group of reporters including a representative from the Associated Press and explained why it would be difficult to set up an annual (or at least occasional) game against Miami. "People don't want to hear this, but it's the fact of the matter. When you take a home game out of here, it costs you significant dollars," he said. "You can't do that every other year and try to run a sports program at the level we're trying to run it. I think everybody thinks that's not a big deal. Well, it's a big deal." UF was forced to save $700,000 just to help offset not having seven home games in 2013. Foley said a neutral site contest would be the best-case scenario as it would ensure the Gators get some money and keep the fans happen. He explained that Florida received a 12,500 ticket allotment for Saturday's game?but just 900 of those are lower bowl seats.
A stint in Canada - specifically in the CFL - may be the next step for former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow. However, as of press time, the Montreal Alouettes - the team that holds his CFL rights - have not contacted Tebow nor heard from him directly. General manager Jim Popp said Monday that he did not believe Tebow would be ready to settle on the CFL, but indicated that he may be interested if his office gets a call from Tebow's camp. There was also an indication Monday from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick that Tebow could be brought back to the roster at some point. "Certainly we've had a lot of players who've left here and come back here," he said. "It's already happened this year."
The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to have one of the top defenses in the NFL this season and a big reason why is former Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap. After signing a huge contract extension in the offseason, Dunlap entered training camp to high expectations but missed a significant amount of time after suffering a bad concussion. Since returning to practice last week, Dunlap is focused on the 2013 season and doing whatever he can to be ready for the Bengals and a leader for his teammates. "I missed the preseason so one of my things is get my conditioning up because those guys got the game reps I wasn't able to get so I am getting my conditioning up, doing extra running as a team," he said. "The D-line runs with me. We are all getting ready. We are getting ready for the [Chicago] Bears."
Overdone as the practice may be, the Hurricanes are planning to "White Out the Gators" on Saturday in Miami Gardens, FL, which includes distributing 6,000 white t-shirts (with graphics of a collar, orange tie and sun glasses styled to look like Al Golden) to students and fans. There are also some rumors that Miami may wear all white - at home - giving the Gators the opportunity to dress in their own home uniforms (blue jerseys). No matter how hard the Canes try, however, it will be difficult for Saturday's game to be a true home environment. Though all 77,000 seats are sold out for the game, a ton - perhaps even a majority - are to Florida fans. That should be no surprise, of course, especially considering the Gators have a larger alumni base in South Florida than even the Hurricanes.
Rookies and veterans, a total of 10 former Florida players were cut by NFL teams over the weekend though one has already found a new job. Defensive tackle Jaye Howard, drafted in the fourth round by the Seattle Seahawks last year and set to be coached by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn this season, was released by the team on Saturday only to find employment with the Kansas City Chiefs when he was picked up off the waiver wire on Sunday. A NFL source told me Monday that multiple teams actually put in waiver claims on Howard, meaning there was certainly interest from around the league.
South Florida radio was treated to a show featuring former Gators linebacker Channing Crowder as the mouthpiece two years ago. It has been so successful on the air from 1-3 p.m. that 560 WQAM, one of two primary sports stations in the market, has moved Crowder to drive time and offered him the 3-7 p.m. slot. A former Miami Dolphins player, Crowder is extremely critical of the team and makes for some entertaining radio. He also, of course, supports Florida on the air, which is actually a minor benefit for the Gators' recruiting efforts as the team has someone related to the program on the air at a prime period of the day as far as sports radio is concerned.