1 » The No. 2 Florida Gators baseball and softball programs found out Thursday that each would have four games featured live on the ESPN family of networks during their respective 2011 regular seasons. Florida baseball – which will be featured on ESPNU’s Thursday Night Baseball Game of the Week with their contest at Arkansas on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. – will also face Georgia (away) on April 16 at 2 p.m. on ESPNU, Alabama (home) on April 23 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, and Arkansas (away) on May 7 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. Gators softball will have four home games aired live. Their back-to-back games against Alabama on April 23 (4 p.m.) and April 24 (1 p.m.) will air on ESPN2 and ESPNU, respectively, while their consecutive contests against Tennessee on May 7 (12 p.m.) and May 8 (3 p.m.) will be featured on ESPN and ESPNU. All games airing on ESPN or ESPN2 will also be simulcast on ESPN3.com.
2 » Florida softball also found out Thursday that their incoming 2011 recruiting class has been ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN/RISE. The Gators are bringing in six freshmen including pitcher Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, FL), third baseman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, FL), infielder Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, MO), shortstop Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, FL), utility player Lauren Haeger (Peoria, AZ), UTL Briana Little (Middleburg, FL) and SS Katie Medina (Downey, CA). Wrote ESPN: “The Gators had a lot of pressure to bring in a dynamic recruiting class with the group they have leaving this year, and they certainly pulled it off. They bring in a big class of seven athletes that includes two dominating pitchers in Lauren Haeger and Alyssa Bache, power at the plate with big hitters like Bailey Castro and Briana Little, and speed in the infield with tough players like Jessie Damico, Sami Fagan and Katie Medina. The Gators have the best recruiting class of the year, hands down.”
More on Tim Tebow, UF basketball and Jacoby Brissett…after the break!
3 » Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who retained his position on the staff and gained responsibilities after Josh McDaniels was fired and John Fox was hired as the team’s new head coach, spoke on 87.7 The Ticket in Denver, CO, on Thursday about rookie quarterback Tim Tebow. On being restrictive with Tebow in his first start, McCoy said, “You got to put players in a position to be successful. In Tim Tebow’s case, he hadn’t taken a lot of reps here. To go against the Oakland Raiders – who play great man-to-man coverage over there with tight windows to throw into – you don’t want to expose a rookie quarterback. You try to do what is best for the football team and give Tim some success early on.” He also touched on refining Tebow’s throwing motion and quarterbacking skills in the future. “Tim and I had a talk the day after the season was over. I mentioned to him, if I am back in some capacity, I’ve a very strong opinion about some things I can help him with for him to get better. The great thing about Tim is you’re going to teach him some things and he’s going to go out there as long as possible to correct it and do it the way you want it.”
4 » Florida basketball has not received much press this season – and rightly so considering how inconsistent they have played. SI.com’s columnist Seth Davis was asked about the Gators and provided the following answer about the team as a whole. “I don’t think they’re difficult to understand at all. They’re just not very good. (You do know that consistency is a part of being good, right?) Simply put, Florida is not a good enough defensive team to make up for nights when it isn’t shooting the ball well from the perimeter,” he said. “The Gators are ranked 63rd nationally in defensive efficiency, and they’re eighth in the SEC in steals, 10th in the SEC in field-goal percentage defense and 10th in blocks. You’d also have to say that Kenny Boynton is one of the bigger disappointments in college basketball. The 6-foot-2 sophomore came to Gainesville with enormous hype out of high school, yet he is only making 29.5 percent from three-point range. (He made 29.4 percent as a freshman.) Neither Boynton nor Erving Walker do a good job attacking the rim, but they’re streaky shooters, so when they’re on, Florida can be tough to beat. When they’re not on, there’s not much by way of Plan B.”
5 » Meeting with new Gators offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Charlie Weis thrice in the last week, four-star QB recruit Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, FL) suddenly became the object of Florida’s affection. This after former head coach Urban Meyer apparently insulted him with a greyshirt offer prior to the new coaching staff being in place. According to ESPN 760’s Herb Uzzi, who spoke with Dwyer head coach Jack Daniels, Brissett is giving UF serious consideration at least in part because freshman safety Matt Elam is one of his best friends. However, Brissett still “holds a grudge” against the Gators due to Meyer’s offer, Daniels says, and for that reason most likely won’t officially visit Florida. Instead he plans to head to Washington and South Carolina to end the recruiting process, two of his final five schools (Florida State, Wisconsin).
6 » Participating in the 2011 Australian Open, former Gators tennis player Ryan Sweeting had a chance to do the impossible and stop No. 1-seed Rafael Nadal from winning his fourth consecutive major tennis invent. Unfortunately for the youngster, Sweeting fell to Nadal in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the event.