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December 16, 2011

The Silver Lining: 12/16 Orange & Blue News


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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.

Landing on a number of prestigious lists following the regular season, Gators redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis added another honor this week by being awarded a spot on the 2011 Associated Press All-American Team. Sturgis was placed on the second team, the same spot he was voted into on the Walter Camp All-American list this week. He was a unanimous All-SEC first-team pick by coaches and AP voters a few weeks ago and was the most consistent player on Florida this season, scoring 91 points on 21-of-25 field goals and 28-of-28 extra points. It is the second-straight year that a special teamer (punter Chas Henry) has been recognized nationally as the team's best player.

It may not have been the hard-hitting interview everyone has been waiting for, but Dan Patrick asked Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer some in-depth questions on Thursday. In addition to saying he had reservations about taking the OSU job, did not think he would have returned to coaching this soon and hopes this is his last job, Meyer opened up about the Gators and said he was surprised about the reaction he received from Florida fans. "Yeah, I was. I tried to say I didn't watch or didn't listen. I did. I heard some of it. Not from Jeremy or the president or the people that know that we put every ounce of everything we had or six years in there," he said. "There were fans that were upset when we beat Tennessee only by 10 points. I mean really upset. I tried not to let that bother me, but I would be lying to you if I didn't say it didn't bother me a little bit. I heard the word 'dishonest.' That couldn't be the furthest thing from the truth. Yeah, that's a shame."

Now afforded some extra time to work on the team's issues, Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan did plenty of work with the Gators' free throw shooting this week. In addition to putting them in pressure situations (hit a free throw or run suicides) during practice like he has been all year, Donovan has had his players throw up 50-100 free throws each after practice, according to junior guard Kenny Boynton. He believes his team is underachieving in that area because there are so many good shooters on the roster but is confident that - with a better focus - Florida will get better at the charity stripe.

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Instead of continuing his career in Europe, former Gators guard Lee Humphrey has returned to the United States and joined the Rio Grande Vipers of the NBA Development League. The Vipers are the minor league affiliate of the Houston Rockets, which drafted forward Chandler Parsons this year, and are just nine games into the young season. Humphrey is playing the second-most minutes per game on the team (29.1) but is averaging just 11.8 points and 3.1 assists per game while shooting under 40 percent from the field and beyond the arc.

Not playing for the third season in his four-year career with Florida, redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown is understandably frustrated. He played quite well as a starter in 2010 and was hoping to go into the 2011 season in the same role. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury before the season began and missed the entire year, something that was not expected at that time. The Orlando Sentinel spoke with Brown's high school coach Phil Ziglar, who said that coaches recently related to him that the knee injury was "pretty bad." "He seemed upbeat because he was very positive about Coach Muschamp and everything that was going on there," Ziglar told the paper about Brown. "But I could tell, he wants to play and I guess everything has been nothing but one road block in front of him altogether."

Gators seniors quarterback John Brantley, running back Chris Rainey, defensive tackle Jaye Howard, defensive end William Green, wide receiver Deonte Thompson, cornerback Moses Jenkins and punter David Lerner (along with seven other football players) will officially graduate from Florida during fall commencement. Running back Jeff Demps, a true senior, is expected to graduate in the spring.


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