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April 11, 2011

The Silver Lining: Orange & Blue News

Florida Football & Recruiting: Young linemen becoming a force | Photo Gallery I | Defense Dominates | Quarterback Competition is on | Game Day Blog | Powell committed to UF, will take visits | Top wide out Dunkley suspended | Commitment No. 9 - Gators steal one from Miami | Go Inside the War Room - Recruiting Tidbits

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.

Leading the way for her team offensively most of the season, Florida Gators senior first baseman Megan Bush broke the career Southeastern Conference home run record over the weekend. She hit her record-tying 61st homer on Saturday and delivered her record-breaking 62nd on Sunday to surpass former Florida outfielder Francesca Enea. Bush's heroics helped her team get back on track, as Gators softball (33-7, 10-6 SEC) broke a six-game losing streak by winning three games and outscoring the Arkansas Razorbacks (10-32, 1-18 SEC) 20-1 Friday-Sunday.

In what can only be classified under the heading of "dumb," three members of the Florida men's basketball team were arrested for burglary Sunday morning in St. Augustine, FL. Sophomore forward Erik Murphy, freshman forward Cody Larson and team manager Joshua Adel were all picked up, charged and released on $5,000 bond. Murphy and Larson face third-degree felony burglary charges, while Adel was cited for principal to burglary for allegedly serving as a lookout. With Larson's past (he is currently on two years probation for a drug charge back in South Dakota), head coach Billy Donovan may find it difficult to keep him on the team. Potentially more concerning than the alleged actions of the two players is the fact that a team member in a staff role watched and allowed the illegal behavior to occur.

No one was pleased with the performance redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley put forth on Saturday at the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut, but the amount of grief and criticism he is receiving for a brief glimpse of him in a scrimmage is unwarranted. I said on Friday that fans should temper their expectations for the spring game and not draw too many conclusions from what they see on the field. Not only has Brantley only been running offensive coordinator Charlie Weis' system and working with the receivers in it for a handful of weeks, he also had to compete Saturday behind a patchwork offensive line that was dealing with a defensive front which may end up being one of the team's strengths. Redshirt freshman QB Tyler Murphy, on the other hand, impressed in his debut. However, Murphy only completed three more passes than Brantley, did so against the second-team defense and was successful because Weis was able to move the pocket with him behind center. The point? Whether negative about Brantley or positive about Murphy, it is not proper to draw any conclusions of substance after watching a scrimmage this early in the season.

In what has been a very successful conference season for UF athletics, No. 2 Gators women's tennis (21-1, 10-0 SEC) captured at least a share of the 2011 SEC regular season championship on Sunday by defeating the Tennessee Volunteers (16-5, 8-1 SEC) 4-0. It is the team's 25th SEC title in 32 years and the UF athletic program's 199th overall.

Never backing down in the 2011 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Florida redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin finished the event as the third leading scorer, posting 57 points in three games (19.0 average). Senior forward Alex Tyus checked in at 14th, scoring 41 points (13.7 average) over the course of the weekend. Tyus also came in fifth in blocked shots (6) and third in rebounding with 27 (9.0 average) in three games, while Macklin placed seventh with 24 boards (8.0 average).

Gators fans may have noticed that a small plane flew over Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during the Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday sporting a banner that read "31-7 GO NOLES!" In addition to the action being simply ridiculous from a sports perspective (Who celebrates one victory in seven years? I'm looking at you too, Georgia...), it was also dangerous considering an unauthorized plane was flying over a space occupied by thousands of people. With the possibly that a no-fly zone existed around the stadium, the pilot may very well have his license suspended for the act…and deservingly so.


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