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April 7, 2011

The Silver Lining: Orange & Blue News

Florida Football & Recruiting: New staff expecting positional flexibility among players | Powell committed to UF, will take visits | Top wide out Dunkley suspended | Rivals250 Black visits Florida, again | Commitment No. 9 - Gators steal one from Miami | Williams is finding out he fits in | ITG Recruiting Roundtable | Go Inside the War Room - Recruiting Tidbits

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 to tweak the Florida Gators, new Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden decided to take a shot at Gainesville, FL when Sports Illustrated asked him this week if he is concerned about filling the often empty Sun Life Stadium for his team's games this year and beyond. "I know this - we have a better chance of filling our stadium than Gainesville has of putting an international city right outside its city limits," he said. While Golden's statement is theoretically correct, he is glossing over the fact that Gainesville has no designs on being an international city; its residents are thrilled to be the home of a world-class university and athletic program. Miami, on the other hand, is deeply concerned about filling its 75,000-seat stadium, which remains relatively empty nearly every Saturday when the Hurricanes play.

In between the airing of his first Jockey television commercial and the upcoming release of his memoir "Through My Eyes," Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is looking over his shoulder and hoping new team president John Elway believes in him enough not to draft some competition in the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft. However, Elway has shown signs of possessing a contrary mindset by working out nearly every available rookie signal caller. ESPN's John Clayton and SI's Tony Pauline both believe he does not have confidence in Tebow and plans to pick a quarterback early in the draft.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, former Gators defensive back Todd Johnson has decided to try his hand at coaching. With 30-year veteran John Sprague retiring in March, Johnson was named head coach of Riverview High School in Sarasota, FL on Wednesday. A graduate of the school, Johnson has been planning the move for a year and will try his hand at the amateur game after six seasons in the NFL.

Insinuating from the beginning that he would accept if invited, Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey confirmed on Monday that he will be in attendance at the NFL Draft on April 28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY. Pouncey is considered the top interior offensive lineman in the draft and will be selected in the latter half of the first round. He noted on his Twitter account Wednesday that he expects to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys even though he hopes to be reunited with his brother on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dallas would probably trade down in first round to draft him, while Pittsburgh would have to trade up in order to do so. The Miami Dolphins and New York Giants are two other teams that have expressed interest in and can fill a need by drafting Pouncey.

Not pleased with their draft stock and hoping to improve it this week, Gators forward Alex Tyus and center Vernon Macklin are currently participating in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a three-day event that helps scouts evaluate potential NBA talent. From Wednesday-Saturday, the duo will be playing in a number of games with the hope of showcasing skills and intangibles that may catch the eye of an evaluator and either get them selected in the second round of the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft or picked up as a free agent.

Gainesville will be filled with fans on Saturday for the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut, but a number of former players will also be in attendance to watch the spring game, speak to the team and simply have a good time. Fred Taylor plans to meet with the team on Friday, and head coach Will Muschamp said Tuesday that he hopes both Tim Tebow and Danny Wuerffel will as well before the weekend is over. Tebow and Wuerffel will both be honored at halftime of the game when the three Heisman Trophy statues are unveiled; Steve Spurrier is not expected to be in attendance and is expected to provide a video statement. Riley Cooper and David Nelson are also scheduled to sign autographs across the street from The Swamp after the game concludes.


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