MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
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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 Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators in the NFL had a rather uneventful weekend though Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin was in the spotlight early on Sunday. Harvin, who played in just his second game of the entire season after a nagging injury kept him out most of the campaign, was being utilized heavily in the early going…until getting injured again. On his second reception of the afternoon, Harvin was hit in the helmet and sent to the back for concussion testing. Miraculously for Harvin, he was cleared and returned to the field. However, just a couple of plays after coming back, Harvin went up for a touchdown reception in the end zone but saw the ball sail over his outstretched hands; he landed awkwardly and hit his head on the ground. Harvin went to the back again but this time was diagnosed with a concussion and is now in the middle of the NFL's so-called concussion protocol. An independent doctor will need to clear him and ensure he has no lingering symptoms before he can return to the field. Seattle will host San Francisco next Sunday for the NFC Championship.
An honest and bothered Billy Donovan spoke at length for the first time about his frustrations surrounding the NCAA and its refusal to clear (or at least make a decision on) freshman forward Chris Walker in an expedient manner. If it was unclear in the past why the date of Walker's return has been up in the air and a subject of much confusion, Donovan's comments might provide some clarity. "I'm just hopeful and optimistic in the fact that they asked him to basically answer all their questions in an open and honest way, and I think he's done that to the very, very best of his ability," he said of Walker and the player's cooperation. "I think people look at different cases, situations in the NCAA, and a lot of times there's different rulings on situations where, 'How come this guy got penalized more than this guy got penalized? This guy got nothing; this guy got this.' I think a lot of times, those are the things where it's not just one standard. And the one theme has been, in my opinion, be truthful, be honest. And I think I can say at least from our school's perspective, they feel like Chris has done that and that's all we're asking for."
There are five former Gators currently in Gainesville, FL pursuing their degrees including safety Josh Evans, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Jelani Jenkins, safety Matt Elam and defensive end Jarvis Moss. But Moss, who dealt with his share of off-the-field trouble while in Gainesville, is already remembering what it was like to be a Florida football player in town. On Monday at 9:12 p.m., Moss was arrested and booked on charges of marijuana possession of less than 20 grams (a first-degree misdemeanor) and destruction of evidence (a third-degree felony) after he was pulled over for running a stop sign. According to the police report, Moss and his passenger allegedly began eating the marijuana that was present in the vehicle upon being pulled over by the officer. Additionally, the car had a "strong odor of 'fresh' cannabis."
On the topic of Evans, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said his team does not plan to address the free agent spot in this year's draft, meaning the soon-to-be second year player - a sixth-round draft choice himself - will likely be returning to the starting lineup next season. Evans started 11 of 15 games in 2013, registering 54 tackles on the season. He did not create an interception, forced fumble or pass defense in his rookie year, but the Jaguars are nevertheless hopeful that he will simply continue to improve and become more of a playmaker as his career progresses.
Rough timing - and immense success - doomed former Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's chances of landing a head coaching job this offseason. Seattle's well-respected assistant, one who was called a "top candidate" for the Tennessee job, missed out on the opportunity to even interview for the position as the Seahawks are currently in the midst of a playoff run and have a chance to advance to the Super Bowl next Sunday. Instead of waiting to interview Quinn, the Titans on Monday hired San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to be their new head coach. Quinn was getting plenty of buzz for head coaching role, and it may only be one more season before he gets one (especially if Seattle's defense keeps performing at this level).
Starting off their national title defense on Saturday, No. 1 Florida gymnastics pulled off an extremely slim - 0.025 - victory over No. 4 UCLA on the road in Los Angeles, CA. Junior All-American Kytra Hunter led the way for the Gators with a 39.375 in the all-around and a 9.925 on the floor exercise; she took both meet titles. She became just the 12th Florida gymnast to win 40 or more event titles during her career and has time to substantially increase that total. "It is a great starting point," said head coach Rhonda Faehn of the win. "I told the team afterward it is incredibly challenging to start your first meet on the road. I challenged them to compete their hearts out and to compete aggressively. And they did that. ... They know where we have to go from here."