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August 4, 2012

The Silver Lining: 8/4 Orange & Blue News



FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: Florida to cut loose four-star commitment? | Commitments respond to Hill news - one solid, one not | Players talk about player run offseason practices | Still soft? Gut check time for offensive line | Fall Practice Breakdown | Friday Practice Notebook | Must Read: Ball back after brain surgery | Lineman commits to Florida | Impact Analysis: Where does Hill's departure leave Florida | Wide receiver commitments react | Muschamp's statement on Hill's resignation | Bryan's initial thoughts | Behind the scenes | List of possible replacements

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.

London has either been kind to or tough on Ryan Lochte, depending what your expectations were for his production in these Olympics. Lochte's done for the games but was able to acquire five medals - two golds, two silvers and a bronze - in six total races. His three latest medals - since the last Orange & Blue News - came in the 4x200 Meter Freestyle Relay (gold, along with Conor Dwyer), 200 Meter Backstroke (bronze) and 200 Meter Individual Medley (silver). He has been the only Gators athlete to medal so far this week but could be joined Friday evening by American swimmer Elizabeth Beisel and/or British swimmer Stephanie Proud, who are both competing in the 200 Meter Backstroke.

Instead of remaining outside of the rankings like they were at the end of the 2011 season, Florida football checked in at No. 23 in the USA Today preseason coaches' poll on Thursday. It is the second-straight season that the Gators are holding this spot with Florida being one of five SEC teams ranked. UF will face three of those teams - No. 1 LSU, No. 6 Georgia and No. 9 South Carolina - in the month of October alone. Florida will also take on in-state rival Florida State (No. 7) to close the regular season, already giving the Gators one of the toughest schedules in the countries with four preseason top-10 opponents and a week two trip to College Station, TX.

Now a full-time European player, former Florida forward Adrian Moss informed me this week that he has signed a one-year contract with EESM Le Portel of the French Pro B league. Averaging 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds last season in Spain's second league, Moss will be calling a new country home for the fourth time in his professional career. He has also played in Israel and Germany and told me he likes to sign one-year deals because he is always hopeful of moving up to a better league.

In Rio de Janeiro four years from now fans may not get to see their favorite NBA stars playing for Team USA or any country for that matter. If NBA commissioner David Stern and the league owners get their way, FIBA and the International Olympic Committee will institute an under-23 rule that would keep some of the league's brightest stars at home while some of the young guns get a chance to shine. To this end, CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman projected what Team USA might look like for the 2016 Olympics and listed two Gators - guard Brad Beal and head coach Billy Donovan - as candidates for the team. Goodman had Beal as a reserve and Donovan as one of two coaches (Tom Izzo) who he believes would be at the top of the list. Donovan coached the Americans' U18 team to gold in the offseason and is expected to remain a permanent fixture with USA Basketball in the future. Even if Donovan is not tabbed as Team USA's next head coach, a bench position is always possible.

Now one year removed from college after going unsigned in the 2011 NFL Draft and failing to be signed by a team as an undrafted free agent, safety Will Hill looks to have find a home with the New York Giants. According to reporters in attendance at training camp, Hill is showing out in a big way. Early in the week Hill had "a diving pass defense" then three-straight top-notch plays that really caught the coaches' eyes, according to The Star-Ledger's Mike Garafolo. "Just an overall good practice for Hill, who really showed his ability today," he wrote. Hill having top-quality athletic ability has never been a question though his football IQ and off-the-field issues have always been a cause for concern. If he can keep his nose in a playbook and out of trouble, Hill may very well find a spot with the Giants at least as a special teams starter and reserve defensive back.

Gators fans know how dominant linebacker Brandon Spikes can be when he's healthy and motivated; New England Patriots are seeing that first-hand in training camp this week...when Spikes is actually allowed to jump on the field and see some action. After suffering a knee injury that kept him out most of 2011, Spikes returned at the end of the season and was dominant in the playoffs. Though the team is being careful with him and limiting his reps now in camp, Spikes told The Boston Globe that he feels great. "It's kind of frustrating watching from the sideline but just to get out, run around, get a little contact, it feels good," he said. "It was just fun to get back - it's been a long off-season, and I'm just happy to be out there running around again."

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