FOUR BITS: Sturgis, Harvin, FSU, Tebow

1 » A rough rookie season has not deterred the Miami Dolphins from committing to former Florida Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis. Though he started his NFL career on fire with 10-straight makes, Sturgis suffered a slump where he missed 5-of-8 (some of which were in tough conditions and others from absurd long distances). He ended the 2014 season by making 13 of his final 16 tries and should only get better in his second campaign. “Every day you go out there, you want to hit every field goal,” Sturgis told his team’s website. “You try. When you get in a rhythm where you’re hitting every field goal you make, you stay at a consistent level.”

2 » The Seattle Seahawks continue to treat oft-injured wide receiver Percy Harvin with kid gloves, only allowing him to work out every other day in training camp. After an off day Saturday, Harvin returned to action Sunday and impressed once again. Head coach Pete Carroll explained to the team’s website how the Seahawks are being cautious with Harvin. “We want to work our way into camp and make sure we don’t overload him early,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what kind of work load he can handle. He works so hard and so fast at practice that we think we can do this for a while. We’ll see how it goes and we’re just going to learn as we go.” For Harvin, who was famous for trying to avoid practicing every day with the Florida Gators, this appears to be as ideal of a scenario as he could imagine.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Parsons, five Gator Chomps

1 » The SEC Network launches in less than a month, and former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is signed on to be a featured analyst on the channel. While Tebow, by all accounts, is prepared for his new gig, he has certainly not given up on his desire to play in the NFL this season. According to a report from FOX 10 out of Phoenix, Arizona, Tebow has been spending plenty of time in Scottsdale training with Ian Danney in the scorching sun. The video clip below shows Tebow playing Danney-ball, a game in which players toss a 10-pound heavy ball over a net on a sand volleyball court.


In other Tebow news… A new poll has Tebow out of the top 10 when ranking the most popular athletes in the nation; he came in No. 8 just year ago while prepared to enter training camp with his third NFL team. Tebow is also prepared to open his third PDQ restaurant chain, this one at the Oakleaf Town Center in Jacksonville, Florida. He has already cut the ribbon at one location in Ocala and has plans to open another in Gainesville in the next six months.

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FOUR BITS: Wilbekin, Miller, Easley, Big Brother

1 » Florida Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin was placed in the starting lineup for the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday but posted just two points on 1-of-4 shooting with two assists, a rebound, a steal and a turnover in 21 minutes. In his first action on Saturday, Wilbekin had a game-high five assists (all in a seven-minute span in the first half) and finished +14 on the afternoon. Below is the rest of the Orlando schedule; all games air live nationally on NBA TV.

Monday, July 7 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Vernon Macklin) vs. Houston
Tuesday, July 8 at 3 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Memphis (Wilbekin)
Thursday, July 10 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Boston
Thursday, July 10 at 7 p.m. – Memphis (Wilbekin) vs. Houston

2 » According to ESPN 92.9 FM out of Denver, Colorado, the Denver Nuggets brought in guard/forward Mike Miller for a meeting on Sunday. Miller, who wants to end his career with the Grizzlies but appears to have reached a bit of an impasse with the franchise, is also drawing interest from Houston, Oklahoma City and Portland. The station reports that the first offer from the Grizzlies was for two years at $5-6 million total, though Miller is said to be looking for about $12 million over three seasons.

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FOUR BITS: CBS, SEC awards, Caldwell, Wilbekin

1 » CBS on Tuesday announced its 14-week schedule of 16 Southeastern Conference football games for the 2014 season. The annual showdown between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Florida, will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air on the network for the 12th straight season, taking place this year on Nov. 1. It was one of four games announced; the other 12 will be slated as they approach, usually six-to-12 days prior to broadcast. The SEC on CBS will once again feature two doubleheaders, on Oct. 11 (noon and 3:30 p.m.) and Nov. 8 (3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.).

Florida’s potential CBS games – featuring quality opponents and open dates on the schedule – include at Alabama (Sept. 20), at Tennessee (Oct. 4), vs. LSU (Oct. 11), vs. Missouri (Oct. 18) and South Carolina (Nov. 15).

2 » The SEC made news of its own on Tuesday by announcing year-end winners for its 2014 baseball awards. Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was named SEC Coach of the Year for the second time (2010), and right-handed pitcher Logan Shore earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Shore is 7-2 with a team-low 1.47 ERA and 52 strikeouts in a team-high 79.2 innings pitched. Also receiving accolades were junior catcher Taylor Gushue, who joined Shore on the All-SEC First Team, sophomore outfielder Harrison Bader on the All-SEC Second Team, and first baseman Peter Alonso on the All-Freshman team with Shore.

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FOUR BITS: fun video, LSU, WNBA, McGee

1 » Florida Gators gymnastics won its second-straight National Championship this month, so it should come as no surprise that some teams on campus hope to emulate its success. Enter a couple Florida football players and swimmers who tried to complete as gymnasts in this video shot for the Florida Letterman Awards, which were actually held in early April before gymnastics went back-to-back at the NCAA Championships.

2 » LSU athletic director Joe Alleva may not have gotten its way when it came to the Southeastern Conference’s most recent scheduling announcement – specifically regarding the retention of permanent cross-divisional opponents – but he is pleased that SEC commissioner Mike Slive has decided to help his school lobby for more night games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “There has developed an understanding that CBS, ESPN and all its platforms will recognize the importance of LSU home night games in their scheduling process with assurances that every effort will be made to maximize the number of LSU home games at night,” he wrote in a letter fans of the team. UF has not only dealt with a significant absence of night games recently but also a groundswell of desire to see them increase as fans are tired – both figuratively and literally – of being forced to sit outside in the insane heat at noon in Gainesville, Florida. This type of preferential treatment for the Tigers may not sit well with Gators fans or perhaps even the administration, which could use as many night games as possible when convincing people to purchase season tickets.

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Keep an eye out for Tim Tebow on your TV

Unless something unexpectedly changes over the next few weeks, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will not play a down of football in the 2013 NFL regular season after failing to earn a roster spot with the New England Patriots in August.

Though there have been a rash of quarterback injuries this season and a number of less successful and talented signal callers were signed by franchises across the league, Tebow’s phone did not ring with another opportunity. Teams are either not interested in Tebow’s talent, still balking at the so-called “circus” that follows him…or both. And he has shown no willingness to attempt and extend his career by taking a shot at playing across the border in the CFL or even at home in the AFL.

Instead, he has spent the entire year out west working on his game with personal instructors while exploring another career path – broadcaster. Tebow has even gone so far as to hire Creative Arts Agency broadcast agent Nick Khan to represent him in what are believed to be serious negotiations with a number of networks.

It should come as no surprise then that ESPN, which is launching the SEC Network in August 2014 and looking for a headline-grabbing talent, and CBS, which owns the rights to the Southeastern Conference game of the week, are two of three major networks already vying for Tebow’s on-air services.

According to Jason McIntyre of TheBigLead.com, FOX Sports is also in the running though certainly a distant third both in terms of current plans and potential opportunities.

McIntyre reports that ESPN plans for Tebow to have a featured role on the SEC Network in what could be considered the “Kirk Herbstreit chair” on the new channel’s version of College GameDay. The program would be hosted by Rece Davis (taking Chris Fowler’s spot) and also feature Paul Finebaum (for Lee Corso) and another former SEC player (who would take on a hybrid Desmond Howard-David Pollack position).

Update: The SEC Network announced Friday that Joe Tessitore will host the show, which has been titled SEC Nation.

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