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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 basketball opens the 2013-14 season with an exhibition game Friday evening against Florida Southern but will be without most of its players in the contest due to either suspension or injury. Head coach Billy Donovan on Thursday admitted that Florida may even start a walk-on in junior Jacob Kurtz along with sophomore DeVon Walker, who was originally going to sit out this entire year and take a redshirt. Walker transferred out of UF over the summer but quickly changed course and returned to the program. Suddenly, the Gators are counting on him to play a major role while others regain their health and earn their way back onto the court. Friday's exhibition contest will be available live for free on GatorVision.tv (you must sign up for an account) and is set to replay on Sun Sports on Saturday at 2 p.m. UF has won 22-straight exhibition games dating back to 2001.
Another player - make that two more players may be having their redshirt pulled, this time in football, as freshmen defensive lineman Joey Ivie and Jay-nard Bostwick will be playing in their first career game on Saturday against Georgia. Head coach Will Muschamp announced the moves during his weekly radio show on Thursday, noting that both players are expected to see action. Ivie would likely play on the end while Bostwick would help fill up the middle of the defensive line. Muschamp also noted that junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has been playing with a sprained wrist, which is one of the reasons he has not seen more time on offense this season.
The Miami Dolphins won their Thursday Night Football showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in exciting fashion with a couple of Gators playing prominent roles in the game. First was Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap, whose strip and forced fumble against (former Hurricanes) running back Lamar Miller saved a touchdown while being one of the most impressive plays of the NFL season. Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis inexplicably missed a 33-yard field goal early in the contest, but rebounded to nail a 36-yard attempt in the second quarter and tie the game 20-20 with 11 seconds left by drilling a 44-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. Sturgis looked like he might have a chance for a long game-winning field goal in overtime, but Miami decided to punt the ball away. It proved to be the right move as the home team won just three plays later on a walk-off safety.
Opening the 2013-14 NBA season on Tuesday, 12 former Florida players were spread across nine league teams with the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies each employing a pair of Gators on their respective roster. The Gators have a pair of rookies in the league with Bulls forward Erik Murphy and Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes, a 2009 draft choice who spent the first chunk of his career in Europe. Florida also has some old veterans in the NBA including Memphis F Mike Miller (14th season), Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (11th season) and San Antonio Spurs F Matt Bonner (10th season).
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is hoping to make a big-time name for himself in his sophomore campaign, and Houston Rockets F Chandler Parsons has been the subject of a lot of offseason hype. Bulls center Joakim Noah, Atlanta Hawks PF Al Horford and Warriors F/C David Lee are the favorites to earn All-Star nods, while Minnesota Timberwolves F Corey Brewer and Warriors C Marreese Speights are hoping to take a step forward in their respective careers.
Red Sox catcher David Ross helped Boston clinch the 2013 World Series this week as he brought home the first ring of his 12-year MLB career. Ross actually had a lot to do with the series victory as his game-winning RBI double in Game 5 fueled the Red Sox to a tough win on the road in St. Louis, MO, that brought the series back to Boston with the home team only needing to win one of two games. Though he only spent one year as a member of the Gators baseball team, Ross helped Florida advance to the 1998 College World Series. The Tallahassee, FL-native transferred to UF from Auburn that season. After Game 5, Ross was interviewed on the field by FOX Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews. As it turns out, Andrews was a sophomore at Florida during that 1998 CWS run.