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September 9, 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 and Volunteers fans will see their teams square off on CBS for the 17th time in the last 18 seasons - following a one-year break - as the Florida-Tennessee game on Sept. 21 has been scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff by the network. Starting in 1996, UF and UT faced each other on CBS every year from 1996-2001; the teams met at 3:30 p.m. from 2007-11. However, in 2012, CBS chose to air Alabama-Arkansas instead. The Crimson Tide smashed the Razorbacks 52-0 while the Gators and Vols played a much more competitive 37-20 game in Knoxville, TN, later that evening on ESPN. Florida has won eight-straight games against Tennessee heading into next Saturday's showdown.
Although more than two dozen former Gators were active for the first week of the 2013 NFL season, the best performance may very well have come from a kicker. Caleb Sturgis was 3-for-3 on field goals, 2-for-2 on extra points and boomed some kickoffs on Sunday as he helped the Miami Dolphins win their season opener for the first time since 2010. Sturgis made two field goals beyond 45 yards on Sunday and is now a perfect 12-for-12 on three-point tries dating back to the start of the preseason. While his former teammate, punter Chas Henry, has struggled to stick around in the league in two seasons, all indications are that Sturgis is poised to be a rookie sensation.
The news was not all positive for former Florida starts in the NFL over the weekend as Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey went down with a right leg injury early in the first quarter and left field on a stretcher. It was revealed after the game that Pouncey tore both his ACL and MCL and will have season-ending surgery to repair both ligaments. Arguably the top center in the league - though some believe his brother, Dolphins C Mike Pouncey, had a better year in 2012 - Maurkice was named Pittsburgh's Rookie of the Year in 2010 and is both a three-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro pick (2010-12). When the Steelers chose him with the 18th overall pick in 2010, Pouncey was the highest-drafted center since 1999.
On Monday, former Gators running back Jeff Demps is scheduled to report to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the first time. Demps, who was signed by the New England Patriots after being undrafted (due to his commitment to track), was traded by the team during the off-season. Though Tampa Bay understood that Demps was going to run track and that he would likely miss a good portion of training camp in the process, the Bucs agreed to bring him aboard and patiently await for his arrival. That patience began to wear thin for head coach Greg Schiano when Demps had still not reported on Aug. 20. Now joining Tampa Bay one full week into the regular season, Demps will likely need to prove a lot just to earn a roster spot. Since he has not played an NFL down, he could also be waived by the team and added to the practice squad if no other franchise claims him.
Raucous fans at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday began chanting "A-C-C" after Miami scored a game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter. And they had good reason to do so. Combining UM's victory over UF with Clemson's big win at home over Georgia in Week 1, the ACC has two signature wins over the SEC already this season. The conference is so amp'd up that it is now beginning to show the type of camaraderie that the SEC has for so many years. According to beat writer Greg Wallace, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney threw up the "U" symbol for Miami and said while exiting his post-game press conference: "How about the ACC? Spunkly little old league?" While the ACC certainly deserves credit for two big wins at the start of the 2013 campaign, there is still a lot of season left. If the top teams in the league continue to falter against lesser opponents, not much will have changed in regards to the college football landscape.
Surgery was required when Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee tore his hip flexor during the first game of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, but he stayed on the bench and even saw a couple of minutes of action before his team's season came to an end. Since undergoing surgery, Lee said he is completely healthy and suffered "no ill effects," according to a Tout post from writer Marcus Thompson. Lee has spent the off-season working on his conditioning - he's down five percent body fat - and expects to continue his roll in the league when the 2013-14 campaign begins.