FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING:
5-star defensive end Jonathan Bullard Monday afternoon update | Pre-camp positional previews: The backfield | Current player first hand observations | 2014 DT commits to Florida | UF offer shakes up things for four-star Bailey | FNL: Walker has an idea | FNL: Jones chasing two dreams | Post FNL Recruiting Tidbits | Current player observations and notes | FNL Notebook: Receiver surprises | FNL - Five things we learned | Gators add commitment No. 19 | Impact Analysis: Five-star picks Florida | 10 Pre-Camp Predictions | Impact Analysis - Leonard transferring (free) | Linebacker no longer on UF's commitment list | Four-star impressed with UF visit, names a final four | Gillislee sets lofty goals | Breakout Candidates: #1 Loucheiz Purifoy | UF commit solid, but taking visits | Breakdown of Florida prospects at The Opening III (free) | Ranking UF's Opening prospects 1-to-15
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.
Later reported to just be 3-5 members of the crowd giving him grief, media reports over the weekend had New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow being heckled during team practice after struggling during the first day. A video of Tebow running shirtless through the rain later went viral as the media circus around him continues to spin out of control. He has, however, received tons of support from his new teammates over the last few weeks. Veteran linebacker Bart Scott even spoke out on his behalf. "[It's] his humility. How can you ever not accept somebody who has humility, works hard, who's a great teammate? I knew Tebow well before he came here. He showed me the respect to seek me out and asked me how he could be a better pro. I mean, guys don't do that," he said, according to the New York Daily News.
Italy will have two former Gators basketball players suiting up for their club teams next season as point guard Erving Walker signed a contract this weekend to play for Prima Veroli of Legadue Basket (the country's second-highest division of pro ball). Veroli, in a press release, praised the signing of Walker as "a major hit against the competition of different teams that were [in] on the American talent." Forward Alex Tyus, who played his first season of professional ball in Israel for Maccabi Ashdod and won the league's Sixth Man of the Year award, signed a two-year, $525,000 contract with Pallacanestro Cantu of the Euroleague (the highest tier of international club basketball in Europe) last month.
Now on the third full day of Olympic events, Gator Nation has already brought home three medals including one gold and two silver. Ryan Lochte won the Men's 400 Meter Individual Medley over the weekend and will look to bring home his second gold in the Men's 200 Meter Freestyle on Monday afternoon. Lochte also swam (and was caught from behind) in the Men's 4x100 Meter Freestyle Relay, earning the United States a silver medal. Joining him was junior Elizabeth Beisel, who captured the silver in the Women's 400 Meter Individual Medley. Gemma Spofforth of Great Britain will also go for gold on Monday as she competes in the Women's 100 Meter Backstroke.
In Pittsburgh Steelers training camp trying to earn a prominent role with the team, running back Chris Rainey has impressed his coaches though they have come out publicly and said that they feel he needs some extra motivation. "You've got to keep your thumb on that cat," position coach Kirby Wilson said on Sunday. Rainey, despite being a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, is expected to play a Darren Sproles-like role where he receives hand-offs and also catches passes either out of the backfield or lined up as a wide receiver. He could be a big boost to an offense that seems like it could always use another playmaker.
News is not as good for two former Gators receivers as both Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles and David Nelson of the Buffalo Bills went down with injuries over the weekend. For Nelson it is simply a strained tendon in his right leg that will keep him out about a week; Cooper is dealing with a more serious injury. Deep down the field trying to haul in a pass from QB Michael Vick, Cooper fell hard and fractured his left collarbone. He was set to have surgery on Monday and will be sidelined six weeks, likely not even having the opportunity to be active until Week 2 of the regular season. The coaching and training staffs expect a full recovery.
Gators quarterback Shane Matthews did a radio interview last week with Dan Hicken of Sports Radio 1010XL in Jacksonville in which he made some praiseworthy and pointed comments about the Florida coaching staff. Matthews praised the current contingent including head coach Will Muschamp, saying the staff "is the best we've ever had at that school - hands down from top-to-bottom - when you go from position-to-position and see where they've coached, what they've done." He continued, "I love the staff. It's going to take time because we just don't have the athletes that the other big boys in the conference do." To that end, Matthews was critical of former head coach Urban Meyer for the way he recruited the last few years. "We ain't put anybody in the league the last couple of years, so that shows you how we were recruiting. They missed big-time," he said. "We had a track team, which track teams don't play on Sunday. You better run like a track player but be able to play football." Matthews also said that Meyer's staff failed to coach up the quarterbacks correctly and noted that he believes Muschamp is "a little bit of [Steve] Spurrier and a lot of Nick Saban."