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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 got bounced from the 2013 Women's College World Series over the weekend but not before being involved in the fourth-longest game in event history and longest game in program history. Florida and Nebraska fought for more than five hours on Saturday in a game that not only captured the attention of both fan bases but also the nation. The Gators triumphed 9-8 in the end but were visibly exhausted and punchless in their next game less than 13 hours later against Texas. Florida fell 3-0, being shutout for the first time all season while registering just one hit at an absurd 14 strikeouts in seven innings, ending its season. The Gators exceeded everyone's expectations in 2013. Predicted to finish seventh in the SEC during preseason, Florida went on to sweep the league's two championships and be ranked in the top-five of national polls for its final 62 games of the season. UF advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th-straight year and moved on to the WCWS for the fifth time in the last six years.
A story in the new ESPN The Magazine focused on Tim Tebow and his dwindling time in the NFL notes that a source in the player's camp privately admits the player's run in the league is coming to an end. Immediately after the story was published online, a member of Tebow's camp called the assertion "not true" with the player's father adding that you should not believe everything you hear. Furthermore, USA Today's Mike Garafolo passed on a notion from the camp, writing in his own words that "Tebow isn't ready to give up, retire or look to head to the Canadian Football League or Arena Football League." One way or another, Tebow playing in the NFL this season appears to be a long shot. A year off may be the best thing for the signal caller as hopefully the hype dies down and a franchise with some vision decides to give him an opportunity as a back-up in 2014.
The decision to move from ESPN to FOX Sports appears to have been a great one for sideline reporter Erin Andrews. Not only is she the host of FOX's college football studio show, she spent time last year working the sidelines of MLB and NFL games and has been able to increase her endorsements exponentially now that she is away from the more restrictive ESPN. Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch reported over the weekend that Andrews will add even more NFL sideline duties to her plate this season as she will likely be assigned to games with the new broadcasting duo of Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play) and John Lynch (color commentary). With the new FOX Sports One network launching in August, Andrews may see her responsibilities increase even further in the near future.
One Gators rookie who has yet to do anything with his new franchise is Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed, who is still recovering from injuries suffered during the 2012 season. According to Comcast SportsNet, Reed's thigh contusion led to him suffering a bone bruise in his knee, which has kept him out of every practice thus far. Reed said that team trainers are helping the muscles in his leg regain strength so he can be back on the field for training camp. With Fred Davis already on Washington's roster, Reed will be no better than the No. 2 pass-catching tight end this season. But with stud QB Robert Griffin III expected to be healthy by the start of the season, Reed could see some solid production as a rookie.
Radio host Mike Bianchi recently had former Florida QB Danny Wuerffel on, and the two spent some time discussing Tebow and what is going on with his NFL career. Wuerffel admitted that he understood what was happening to Tebow, but noted that he certainly did not agree with it. "He's just a hard-working, passionate, committed competitor. There's not a whole lot there not to like," he said. "There's just so much Tebowmania and all the things that surround him - whether it's his style of play, his faith and the other factors of who he is - that just creates a stir. … I do feel bad for him right now because it's a tough spot to be in."
Scouts present over the weekend at a NBA "pro day" camp held in Las Vegas, NV for players working out at Impact Basketball came away exceedingly impressed with Gators forward Erik Murphy, who shot lights out during the workout and looks to be the stretch-four that a number of teams may be coveting with their second-round picks. One NBA scout from the Western Conference guaranteed to the Providence Journal that Murphy is "going to get a good look" in the second round, while an Eastern Conference scout noted that he will "go somewhere in the second round" because "everybody wants one or two of these types of guys." Murphy told me he has three workouts scheduled this week: Monday at Detroit, Tuesday at Indiana and Friday at Cleveland.