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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 The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Left out of their respective team's last few games, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (suspension) and New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (ankle) each returned this week and provided a spark. Haden registered six solo tackles, an interception and three pass defenses, while Hernandez scored a touchdown and picked up 30 yards on six receptions. In other NFL news, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin had another outstanding week, hauling in 11 receptions for 133 yards. He is currently the NFL's pass catch leader with 49 receptions through six games.
It will be the second time in four years that ESPN College GameDay will feature the Gators three times in one season as the signature program will head to Gainesville, FL on Saturday for the Florida-South Carolina game. UF has been featured on the program a total of 35 times, most out of any team in the country, and has hosted the event on 12 occasions (second only to Ohio State). The Gators are 7-4 in Gainesville when GameDay is in attendance and won its last visit as Florida topped LSU in 2009. UF was also the visitor when College GameDay visited College Station, TX (Texas A&M) and Knoxville, TN (Tennessee) earlier this season.
Now a rookie in the NBA, Florida guard Brad Beal is already making an impact for the Washington Wizards in preseason action. However, some tweets he sent out last week during a St. Louis-Washington baseball game resulted in him receiving online threats. Beal, a St. Louis, MO native, tweeted "STL turnupppp !!!" when the Cardinals came from behind to take down the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS. Beal immediately received numerous threats and told The Washington Post that some of them were concerning. "I was hearing threats and everything, like, 'Watch your back,'" he told the paper on Saturday. "People were like, 'I'm not going to cheer for you.'" Beal also refused to apologize for rooting for his favorite team. "It was probably moreso the timing, but at the same time, it's my city," he said. "It's not going to affect the way I play. I got to do something to redeem myself, I guess."
Instead of continuing to sulk following the death of his grandmother, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah jumped right back on the court last week and played terrific in a preseason game even after missing three team practices. He is working his way back from yet another season-ending injury and is hoping to be a big source of energy and optimism for a team that disappointed in the postseason after losing two of its biggest stars. "It feels good to be back on the court," he told reporters after the game. "I had a really long week last week. It was hard losing my grandmother. She's the one who introduced me to the sport of basketball. She was the first basketball player in my family."
Now a member of the New York Jets, quarterback Tim Tebow has not had the best first season with the franchise. Barely used outside of some plays on special teams and lined up in the Wildcat formation, Tebow has gone from NFL sensation to complimentary player (even though he still receives all the hype of the former). Though New England seemed like an obvious landing spot for Tebow after his time with Denver came to a close, the Patriots did not have interested. With New York and New England going head-to-head this week, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised what Tebow brings to the table. "There isn't any question about [Tebow having value]," he said. "We saw him play last year, he quarterbacked that team to the playoffs. He's comfortable in addition to the quarterbacking things. He's a versatile, versatile guy."
Gators soccer and volleyball swept another weekend, going a combined 4-0 in home games. Soccer picked up a 2-1 victory on Friday against Missouri and a 4-1 win on Sunday against Mississippi State with senior midfielder Jo Dragotta registering three total goals in the two games. She was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts as Florida soccer improved to 14-3-1 and 9-1-0 in the SEC. Volleyball put together a pair of true sweeps, winning all six combined sets against Ole Miss and Auburn. Junior middle back Chloe Mann led the way in the first match with 24.0 points and 20 kills, while freshman outside hitter Ziva Recek stepped up in the latter contest with 18.5 points and 17 kills. UF is now 14-2 and 8-0 in SEC play.