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.
Long and arduous has been his battle, but former Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel certainly has not given up as he continues to combat the Guillain-Barre syndrome that he contracted in June 2011. Wuerffel shared with me this week that he is encouraged overall as he is "making solid progress" in his recovery. "My reflexes seem to be working fine. A good portion of my energy and stamina has returned," he said. GBS is a rare affliction that forces the body's immune system to mistakenly attack its nervous system following an infection. Symptoms (some short-term, others long-term) include muscle weakness, paralysis, loss of energy and respiratory problems. Wuerffel has recovered past the point that many patients do though he is not yet back 100 percent. He is, however, spending his down time with his family and his foundation while also watching Florida football on Saturdays. "I am also encouraged by the way the Gators have started this football season," he said. "It's been fun to watch the team improve each week and I've been especially impressed with [Jeff] Driskel's progress."
It should come as no surprise that, seeing as sophomore QB Jeff Driskel has locked up the starting job for himself, word is already being leaked that classmate Jacoby Brissett may be looking for greener pastures elsewhere. Brissett, who against his mother's wishes committed to UF over Miami in order to compete with Driskel for the starting job, is apparently "all-in this season [and has] no plans to transfer." However, should he not get a chance to start and show what he can do this season, he may very well be out the door in the offseason. That is according to the Palm Beach Post's Matt Porter, who spoke with Brissett's high school coach Jack Daniels this week. Daniels later told his former Florida teammate Brady Ackerman, who is now a member of the media, that he was misunderstood and would not bring up such a subject during a game week like this one. Regardless of whether Daniels was "misunderstood," fans have always assumed that the "loser" of the quarterback battle would eventually look to play elsewhere, so this should come as no surprise to anyone if accurate.
Now causing havoc with the Cincinnati Bengals, defensive end Carlos Dunlap is getting ready to take on his former teammate and Miami Dolphins starting center Mike Pouncey on Sunday. This week he spoke with The Finsiders radio program in South Florida about what it would be like to go up against Pouncey. "I told Coach [Marvin Lewis] I wanted some of Pouncey, so I'm going to line up at nose and me and Pouncey are going to go back at it like our freshman year at Florida," he said. Dunlap also said that Pouncey is a big trash talker during games but afterwards "it's all love." He continued, "That's the type of mindset we had at Florida and we have now. On the field, it ain't going to be no holding back. We're going to give each other our all. Afterwards we'll shake each other's hands, give each other a hug and go about our way."
Instead of confirming recent reports that he is frustrated with his role with the New York Jets, QB Tim Tebow on Thursday denied such charges and said that he is in the dark about what he will be doing with the team going forward. "I haven't talked to anybody or said anything," he noted at a media availability. "They didn't' tell me specifically anything." Despite that fact, Tebow did admit that he heard fans chanting his name last Sunday when starter Mark Sanchez turned in another pitiful performance. "Yeah, that's something I heard, but I wasn't paying attention to it or focusing on it," he said. "You worry about [what] you can control and what matters at the time not what the fans are saying. Focusing on what they're chanting isn't the right thing to do."
Not having his full potential recognized by scouts back in 2007, DE Ray McDonald goes into practice each day trying to prove that he not only deserved to be picked higher than the third round but that he can be one of the most impactful players at his position in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers certainly found a gem in McDonald when they drafted him five years ago, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said as much this week. "He has a tremendous impact on any game and on our defense," he told the 49ers' team website. "When teams have a hard time running, he's right in the middle of all of that. Whether he's getting credited with a tackle or not is irrelevant." McDonald does not get much credit overall actually, and it took four full seasons playing mostly as a reserve until he got elevated to starter last year. San Francisco has not looked back since.
Gators football fans have known for weeks that the LSU Tigers are coming to town on Saturday, but three other Florida sports teams are also in action over the weekend. No. 11 volleyball and No. 18 soccer are set to play a pair of matches, one each on Friday and Sunday. Volleyball will stay in Gainesville, FL to host Arkansas on Friday at 7 p.m. and Kentucky on Sunday at 3 p.m. (that game will air live on Fox Sports Florida). Soccer, on the other hand, will be involved in a pair of televised road matches as they travel to take on LSU on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Comcast SportsSouth) before heading out to face Texas A&M on Sunday at 3 p.m. (ESPNU). Also in action this weekend are women's tennis players Lauren Embree and Danielle Collins, who are competing as singles in the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, CA.