12/3 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 Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators five-star forward commitment Chris Walker remains on pace to join the Florida basketball program in December, though his status is not exactly the same as ESPN's Andy Katz reported it on Monday night. Though Walker has not yet been cleared by the NCAA or UF at this time - that much is accurate - he is not currently taking another class. As reported by weeks ago, Walker has already achieved his necessary academic grade and is simply waiting to be cleared to join the program. The Gators expect to have him in practice on Dec. 14, and he could be available for their game against Memphis in the Jimmy V. Classic on Dec. 17. Walker has been spending the last few months working out in nearby Ocala, FL.
A damning statistic - make that two damning statistics - for Florida basketball under Donovan always leads to questions about his ability to lead the program. The Gators are now just 59-78 under his stewardship in games decided by five points or less and 1-13 overall in their last 14 road games against ranked opponents. Winning close games is tough in general, but Florida has lacked a dominant No. 1 option for most of Donovan's tenure, which is why that statistic makes a lot of sense. The recent struggles on the road against top 25 teams is undoubtedly more concerning, but it's a good thing UF plays neutral-site contests rather than road games when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. The Gators simply could not ask for a better coach than Donovan, flaws included. Florida has remained incredibly competitive this season and gone toe-to-toe with two top 15-ranked opponents in their respective home gyms despite bringing just six scholarship players into each of those games.
The 2013 season has been a breakout campaign for New York Giants safety Will Hill, who stole the show at the end of Sunday night's game by stripping and recovering a completed pass to Pierre Garcon that effectively ended the contest. A starter now in New York who served his second four-game suspension at the start of the season, Hill forced a fumble for a second-straight week and also registered a game-sealing interception on Oct. 27 at Philadelphia. It seems like everything has started to come around for Hill, though another off-field mistake would cost him an entire season. So he absolutely needs to keep his head above water in that regard.
On Sunday, Florida's basketball team apparently had technical problems with its normal American Airlines-chartered flight to Storrs, CT and had to board another plane out of Gainesville, FL. According to The Gainesville Sun, Delta decided to accommodate the Gators at the expense of a flight regularly scheduled for Atlanta, GA. Delta bumped 50 passengers off the flight so Florida could get to Connecticut as regularly scheduled, and the story is making national news on Tuesday. The school claims it was unaware of Delta's decision and that the company made the move on its own accord.
Rumors for the last two years had a number of MAC teams considering Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin for a head coaching position. Though Durkin is still believed by many to be a bright, up-and-coming coaching candidate, interest in him for a top job has cooled off over the last couple of months. One of the programs supposedly interested in him, Miami (OH), hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, according to Some of the other schools that appeared to be considering Durkin look to be keeping their head coaches for the time being.
Sun columnist Pat Dooley on Tuesday reported that Florida is likely two weeks away from hiring an offensive coordinator. A source close to the program told on Tuesday that timeline for an announcement is indeed accurate, though the Gators are hoping to lock down a commitment from a new coordinator by the end of the weekend. Florida has kept its list close to the vest despite all of the "hot boards" being released, and ITG has learned that one of the top candidates for the position is a name not being mentioned at this time.