FOUR BITS: Leak, Demps, lacrosse, Tebow

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Chris Leak supposedly signed with the Orlando Predators of the AFL on Monday and the team wants to name him their starter for Saturday’s game, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “We would like to bring him in as the face of the franchise, and I hope he ends up as our starting quarterback,” team general partner Brett Bouchy told the paper. Unfortunately for both sides, Leak was not able to join the team Monday or Tuesday thanks to his former squad the Jacksonville Sharks. According to the Florida Times-Union, even though Leak refuses to play for Jacksonville and the team does not want him back the Sharks have not released him from his contract and still retain his rights. “If the Predators want Leak, they have coach [Les] Moss’ number and we will be more than happy to trade him,” Jacksonville managing partner Jeff Bouchy (Brett Bouchy’s brother) said. “We cannot see any scenario in which Leak will wear a Sharks uniform again.” Leak’s future is now in limbo as he waits to find out if one Bouchy will trade the other something for his services. He has bounced around the CFL and AFL since being passed over by the NFL and actually played for the Jacksonville franchise this season before being replaced as starting quarterback after a five-touchdown performance. “It was an unfortunate situation in Jacksonville, but I’ve moved on,” Leak said. “I’m just very excited about the opportunity to play at home.”

2 » With the 2012 NFL Draft approaching, one name that continues to be notably absent is former Gators running back and current Florida sprinter Jeff Demps, who chose after the season to bypass the NFL in order to concentrate on running track and the 2012 London Olympics. Demps likely would have been a third- or fourth-round pick in the draft but chose an uncertain path that he enjoys over a certain future that did not hold the top spot in his heart. “Just, during the football season, I enjoyed football, but I just felt I had to be on the track,” he told FOX Sports in in yet another article about his decision and future in sports. “I had to follow my heart, and my heart said to be with track. It’s a career decision.”

3 » Gators lacrosse swept the ALC weekly awards on Monday. Junior atacker Gabi Wiegand won Offensive Player of the Week, junior defender Sam Farrell picked up Defensive Player of the Week and midfielder Nora Barry was named Rookie of the Week. It is the first time since the ALC expanded to three weekly awards that one team has swept all three in a single week.

4 » Could QB Tim Tebow already be winning over New York Jets players through a few days of offseason camp? According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Jets No. 2 wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was pleasantly surprised how well Tebow has been performing already and offered up some praise for his new teammate. “Different than Mark, different than Mark,” he said of Tebow as a quarterback. “His ball comes out a little bit stronger, but he’s accurate, he’s more accurate than what I thought he was going to be. But he’s a good dude, he has a great personality, he’ll bring a lot of personality to the team.” The Ledger asked him how much more velocity Tebow throws with as compared to Mark Sanchez. Kerley’s answer: “A LOT, a lot more velocity. No dis to Mark, he brings it man.”

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SIX BITS: awards, Tennessee, blog, BCS, SEC

1 » Learning they earned a unanimous No. 3 ranking on Tuesday – earning placement in the top-three for the first time program history – Florida Gators lacrosse continues to celebrate their 2011 ALC Championship while riding a 14-game winning streak. The team finished the ALC schedule 5-0 and completed the regular season 11-0 at home. With all six ALC schools ranked in the top-20, Florida is among great company and only behind Maryland (15-0) and Duke (13-2). The team also received great news as sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen was named National Player of the Week by WomensLax.com, National Offensive Player of the Week by WomensLacrosse.com and Offensive Player of the Week by the ALC. Joining her is redshirt freshman M Hayley Katzenberger, who took home ALC Rookie of the Week honors.

2 » The Gators brought home two other Player of the Week awards on Monday, with the Southeastern Conference recognizing senior left fielder Kelsey Bruder for softball and sophomore Allie Will for women’s tennis. Bruder hit a home run in three-straight games, while Will won two matches (including the 75th of her career).

3 » The Tennessee Volunteers are planning to begin their annual spring tour in Orlando, FL, prompting columnist John Adams of GoVolsXtra to point out that Tennessee fans in general have a number of conspiracy theories about some of their own in regards to connections with Florida.

4 » Former Gators forward DeLisha Milton-Jones, the No. 4 overall pick of the 1999 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks is back with the team after spending two years in Washington and continues to play great. In addition to winning tow Olympic gold medals and a pair of WNBA Championships she is 11th all-time in both scoring and rebounding, sixth all-time in steals and eighth all-time in minutes played in the league. Milton-Jones wrote a guest blog for SLAM Magazine, which you can check out here.

5 » Whether or not you like the BCS is no matter as its existence may be a matter of legality going forward. The United States Justice Department is currently looking into whether or not they should investigate the BCS for violating federal antitrust law, and a University of Florida professor is lending his hand (and signature) to the anti-BCS regime, according to The Gainesville Sun.

6 » For the first time since 1999, the 2011 SEC Tournament for men’s tennis will be held at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gaiensville, FL. The event begins Thursday at 9 a.m. and will continue through the championship game on Sunday.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Henry, McCarney, Driskel

1 » Updating a previous story, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow won the NFL‘s Rookie of the Week award for his two touchdown performance last week The award, which is voted on by fans online, is Tebow’s first NFL honor. Check him out as he makes his Monday Night Football debut against San Diego.

2 » Florida Gators senior punter Chas Henry was named one of three finalists for the 2010 Ray Guy Award on Monday, a honor presented each season to the nation’s top punter. Henry currently leads the nation with a 47.3 yards per punt average; he has landed 41.2 percent of his punts for 50 yards or more and has placed 15 inside the 20 yard line while his coverage unit has only allowed 11 to be fair caught. His competition includes Georgia’s Drew Butler (2009 winner) and Iowa’s Ryan Donahue.

3 » Yahoo! Sports college football reporter Tom Dienhart reported on Monday that Florida assistant head coach defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney is a “hot name” for the North Texas Mean Green head coaching position. “He may be the guy in Denton,” Dienhart said via Twitter. McCarney was last a head coach for the Iowa State Cyclones from 1995-2006 where he amassed a 56-86 record

4 » If you don’t know his name by now you probably should, because five/four-star 2011 QB commit Jeff Driskel will likely be the Gators’ signal caller of the future once he officially signs his National Letter of Intent early next year. Whether or not he has the talent and maturity to play next season remains to be seen, but his stellar performance in a tough loss last week opened the eyes of many who once doubted him. Driskel’s Hagerty High School fell to the more talented Lakeland High School 56-35 in the 5A playoffs, but he did his best so salvage the game for his team. Driskel accounted for 494 total yards of offense including going 15-of-29 from behind center for 182 yards, two touchdowns and an interception; rushing 20 times for 270 yards and two touchdowns; and catching a 42-yard touchdown pass. Check out these video highlights:

 

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

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TWO BITS: Baseball, lacrosse triumphant on Wed.

1 » Avoiding a scare Wednesday, No. 2/5 Florida Gators baseball (17-3) came back from an 8-0 deficit in the second inning to score 13 unanswered runs and defeat the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (12-7) 13-8. Now on a six-game winning streak, the Gators are continuing to crush the ball from behind the plate. Senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (2-3, four RBI) tagged a three-run shot with two outs in the fourth inning, and sophomore junior second baseman Josh Adams (2-5) joined him with a two-run homer in the same inning. Freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana was 3-5 with three runs and two RBI, and Florida’s bullpen ended the game with seven shutout innings.

2 » Continuing to impress in their inaugural season, Gators lacrosse (6-3, 0-1 ALC) took down the Cornell Big Red (2-5, 1-1 IVY) 10-5 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium Wednesday night. Florida used a 5-1 second-half to expand on its 5-4 halftime lead. Freshman attacker Ashley Bruns, the women’s lacrosse Rookie of the Week, once again led the team with three goals.

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FOUR BITS: Townsend, Munroe, Iditarod, honors

1 » 2011 linebacker recruit Lateek Townsend recently told his hometown newspaper, The State, that he is strongly considering leaving home and playing for the Florida Gators after his senior season of high school. “I’m thinking Florida highly,” he said. “That’s a winning program, so things must be done right. I’m going down there soon for an unofficial visit. I’ve not seen the campus yet. I put them up there with Clemson [his leader] and South Carolina.”

2 » Mark Wheeler of Rivals is reporting that Gators redshirt senior safety Dorian Munroe was denied a sixth year of eligibility and a medical redshirt by the NCAA last week. Munroe, who has suffered with injuries throughout his college career, was hoping to get a redshirt exception after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament for the second time. Munroe has appeared in 28 games in his Florida career, collecting 43 total tackles while playing a role on defense and special teams. He had a career-high six tackles in the SEC Championship against the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2006. He will appeal the ruling.

3 » University of Florida alumnus Tom Thurston is competing in the Iditarod this year, and The Gainesville Sun put together a nice profile piece on the former student. Thurston hopes for a top-30 finish in the annual event.

4 » Gators senior outfielder Francesca Enea was the recipient of SEC Player of the Week honors Monday. Smacking four home runs (three grand slams) this week, Enea is now second all-time in the SEC record book with 51 homers. Also honored this week is Florida freshman lacrosse player Ashley Bruns, who brought home the American Lacrosse Conference‘s Rookie of the Week for scoring five goals in one half of competition. It is the second-straight week a Gators lacrosse player has won the honor. Last but not least, the 2009 SEC Champion UF women’s cross country team was named the USTFCAAA All-Academic Team of the year with a combined 3.56 GPA.

Bubble Watch » The unranked Saint Mary’s Gaels (26-5, 11-3 WCC) defeated the No. 14 Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-6, 12-2 WCC) 81-62 Monday to earn the WCC Championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Two teams are now guaranteed to represent the WCC instead of one (Gonzaga), taking away an at-large bid.

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TWO BITS: Gators at The Honda Classic, lacrosse

1 » Former Florida Gators golfers tore up the first round of The Honda Classic at the PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Thursday. Camilo Villegas was T3 on Thursday with a -4 66, Matt Every followed at T19 with a -1 69 and Chris Couch brought up the rear at T43 with a +1 71. All three have begun the second round hot with Villegas, as of press time, tied for the lead.

2 » Lacrosse (3-1) continues to roll in its inaugural season, picking up a decisive 22-11 win over the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (0-2) Thursday night at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Freshman attackers Ashley Bruns and Julie Schindel scored five and four goals, respectively, as the Gators cruised to victory. The team is up for some stiff competition when the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas come to town Tuesday.

Extra Bit » Before the match, Florida freshman midfielder Brittany Dashiell was named the American Lacrosse Conference Co-Rookie of the Week after scoring six combined goals against La Salle and No. 4 North Carolins last week.

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