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September 7, 2012

The Silver Lining: 9/7 Orange & Blue News



FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: Five-star Tunsil has two on top | Five keys to victory | Texas A&M Breakdown | UF-TA&M - 10 Questions | Reed more complete player | Following the Future: Week 1 | Driskel named the starter | Notebook: UF preps for A&M | Easley returns to mixed results | Top JUCO has UF visit planned | Rivals250 lineman sets UF official visit

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 truly become full-fledged members of the SEC, Texas A&M fans across College Station, TX are going that extra mile to prove they are fully integrated. According to local television station KBTX, restaurant owners have ordered tons of alligator meat to be served on and before game day despite its relative high cost. Others are offering Florida fans in town discounts hoping to earn their business and welcome them on their first trip.

In a surprising move that leaves the softball team more talent-depleted than it was despite losing its best player and three players to transfer, catcher Brittany Schutte has decided to skip her final year with the team in order to move on and coach softball at the Oak Hill School in Gainesville, FL. Schutte, who broke her jaw early in the 2012 campaign and missed the vast majority of the season, returned to action at the end of the year but had plenty of rust. She apparently told head coach Tim Walton this month that she will not return to the team and, according to Oak Hill, "is shifting interest in her academic career with hopes of becoming an educator." A source to the team informed me that Schutte was given a medical release so she can continue attending UF on scholarship.

Not surprisingly peeved when bothered with an antagonistic question on the Big 12 teleconference this week, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer explained to the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi that it is ridiculous to say he left Florida for OSU and that he will not let the harsh feelings of a few fans ruin what he saw as an amazing experience with the Gators. "I didn't leave a school for another school," he said sharply. "I'm always going to be a Gator. I have great friends [there]. I will not let a few people try to hurt that down there. I love Florida, always will. I love Florida, have a great relationship with people there and look forward to always remaining friends with those people." Meyer ended the line of questioning after that and moved on. It remains interesting that Meyer fails to comprehend why fans of one school may be upset at him for leaving with their sympathies in hand and doing a career about-face less than 12 months later to coach a team he beat for a national title just four years earlier.

In an availability with the media this week, Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease was asked about the team's discipline issues. A portion of his reply was quite interesting, especially because it addressed something that has been a fundamental issue at Florida for the last few years - players being disciplined enough off the field to ensure that minor issues (tickets) do not become major problems (arrests). "You got to become more disciplined, and it's not just a football thing," he explained. "If you're going to become more disciplined in penalties, you got to become more disciplined on how you run your life - going to class on time, how you prepare, being here, paying your tickets, get your books in on time. That's how you got to become in life. You got to compartmentalize yourself and be disciplined." Interestingly enough it appears as if the Gators have indeed taken care of those off-the-field discipline issues this summer, so all that's really left is actually staying onsides before the ball is snapped.

Now underway beginning this weekend are the tennis and golf teams, which will be competing in major southern tournaments. Men's tennis will participate in the Southern Intercollegiate Championships from Sept. 7-10 in Atlanta, GA, while men's and women's golf will take on all comers in separate events in Kiawah Island, SC and Charleston, SC, respectively. Two other sports - cross country and swimming & diving - will also begin action this month though not for another few weeks.

Gators volleyball is also in action this weekend as they host the second-annual Active Ankle Challenge in Gainesville, FL. The No. 15-ranked ladies will take on Jacksonville on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before going into a double-header on Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette at noon and Georgia Tech at 7:30 p.m. Florida will take on a Meyer daughter for the second-straight week in the final game of the weekend. Nicki Meyer, a senior libero with the Yellow Jackets, is one of the best players on the team. She led Georgia Tech with 428 digs in 2011 and will be returning to Gainesville for the first time since her family moved out of town earlier this year.

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