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August 15, 2014
8/15 Orange & Blue News
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 basketball will get plenty of national airtime this season with the SEC Network (or SEC Network+, its online streaming service) airing basically every game not picked up by ESPN or CBS. As of press time, Florida basketball has six games scheduled on ESPN/2 with two more likely as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. On Wednesday, ESPN announced four "Super Tuesday" games featuring UF, which also happen to be the first four SEC games announced for the Gators in 2014-15. Florida will host LSU on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. to open its Super Tuesday schedule. Its final three games will be road contests at Alabama (Jan. 27, 9 p.m.), Vanderbilt (Feb. 3, 9 p.m.) and Missouri (Feb. 24, 9 p.m.). ESPN also decided to pick up UF's road contest at Florida State on Dec. 30, which will tip at 7 p.m. and air on ESPN2. Of the seven currently-scheduled Gators basketball games, all are set for the evening with five set to tip-off at 9 p.m. or later.
Although there were no former Florida quarterbacks to start NFL training camp this year, Rex Grossman has found a home to continue his career when he reunited with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan on the Cleveland Browns this week. Grossman, who has not thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2011, will serve as Cleveland's third-string quarterback behind Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. Should he enter the season on the roster, it will mark the 22nd consecutive season that a former Gators signal caller will be employed at that position in the NFL.
The Biggest Loser, a competitive weight loss program aired on NBC, will feature a former Florida basketball player when it debuts on Sept. 11. Former Gators women's hoops star Vanessa Hayden, who is now up to 366 pounds, will join a number of other former athletes on the show including big names like Scott Mitchell and Damien Woody. The grand prize is set at $250,000.
On Monday, former Florida running back Earnest Graham continued his football career by starting his first season as the head coach of North Fort Meyers High School. "I never once thought about it," Graham told the Orlando Sentinel about coaching high school football. "I didn't think I would enjoy coaching, but I truly have. Every day you face something that you have experienced and you get a chance to teach … and learn again for yourself." Graham has not been involved with football since he retired from the NFL in 2011. He remains the second-leading rusher in Lee County history and is top-10 all-time both at Florida and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Responding to a question about the Gators' prospects for 2014 during a sneak peak at the new SEC Nation show set to air on SEC Network, former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow praised the addition of Kurt Roper and said he expects Jeff Driskel "to be a different player" this year. "He's going to play with confidence. He's going to lead that team, and they will have a bounce back season. But the schedule is a beast," he said. "Their offense is good enough to compete. Their defense makes them good enough to win. … No question. They'll be competing for [the SEC East]. … If their offense is good enough to score 20-25 points a game, their defense is good enough with that momentum to win them a lot of football games."