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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 softball did not begin the 2013 Women's College World Series the way they had hoped, giving up a season-high nine runs to Tennessee in their opening game and falling into the loser's bracket with a 9-2 loss. Junior right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers was pulled from the game early in the first inning after being unable to find the strike zone, and it was all downhill from there. Now one game away from elimination, Florida will take on Nebraska on Saturday at noon. Should UF win, it will play a second elimination game that evening at 7 p.m. The Gators will have to win four-straight games in order to advance to the championship series.
After a short NFL career that included stops with three different teams, former Florida linebacker Bam Hardmon decided to get into coaching. He spent the 2012 season as outside linebackers/special teams coordinator with Charleston Southern but was hired this week to join Paul Petrino at Idaho as the team's new defensive line coach. Hardmon previously spent a few years at Illinois working under head coach Ron Zook, who gave him his first opportunity to coach. Zook coached Hardmon for the final two years of his college career at UF.
That New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes has been absent during the team's organized team activities is not a fact that has gone unnoticed both among local reporters and national media. Spikes, who claims his absence has nothing to do with the fact that he is in the final year of his rookie contract, is currently in Florida training with Bommarito Performance Systems, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Spikes "wants to prove that he can be a three-down linebacker for the Patriots and believes this is the best way to ensure he's in optimal shape," per Rapoport. Head coach Bill Belichick has not yet discussed Spikes's absence, but one can assume the team is well-aware that he is working out on his own. Whether or not that sits well with management, which has indicated to some that Spikes may be playing his final season in New England anyway, remains to be seen.
Once the Golden State Warriors were eliminated from the 2013 NBA Playoffs, surgery became priority No. 1 for power forward David Lee, who tore his right hip flexor during the first game of the playoffs and played sparingly during the rest of his team's run. According to the Associated Press, Lee had surgery on Thursday in Philadelphia, PA and will begin rehabilitation in approximately two weeks. No timetable has been set, but Lee obviously has the entire offseason to get healthy and return to his team. He will be entering the third year of his six-year, $80 million contract with the franchise.
Roughly a year ago, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden gave a urine sample that tested positive for Adderall, leading to an appeal and then a suspension that cost him four games during the 2012 season. Haden was playing well before the suspension but struggled a bit afterward. He is now ready to make amends for his mistakes and put together a great 2013 campaign for Cleveland. "I'm just trying to show just a new Joe," he told ESPNCleveland.com. "This is going to be my fourth year. … I feel with what I've been through - what I wanted to do last year and I had a setback - this year's going to be my year. I just want to bring the team with me." Haden has put up good numbers during his career - including six interceptions as a rookie in 2010 - but has not yet been recognized by the league for his ability. He is hoping all of that changes this season.
Steve Spurrier was honored Thursday with the state of Florida's "Great Floridian Award," which was presented to him in The Swamp by Governor Rick Scott. Spurrier was joined by Gators head coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley at the event and had some comments about each of them after the award ceremony was over. "Will and I, I hope, are good friends. I admire everything that he's done so far here. Obviously Jeremy was my athletic director here almost all of my 12 years, and we've remained friends ever since I left. And we'll continue to be friends," he said.