UA coach Anthony Grant said at his Monday press conference that junior Andrew Steele and sophomore Trevor Releford would "most likely" be available for tonight's nationally televised game after serving a one-game suspension that caused them to miss last Saturday's loss at LSU. But senior JaMychal Green remains suspended for a second game, and junior Tony Mitchell's indefinite suspension has now stretched to a third contest. Grant said the situation was "different" for Green than for Releford and Steele, without elaborating. "When you look at Andrew Steele - he's been probably the finest student-athlete that I've coached - he made a mistake," Grant said. "His body of work speaks for itself in terms of who he is as a person and what he's been all about. I was a former student-athlete. You are faced with a lot of different things and you have to make decisions. Sometimes you make the wrong one. I don't think that's any indication of who he is as a person. Same thing with Trevor Releford. He's a young man that's in his sophomore year in college and made a bad choice. I think his teammates understand that. Certainly as a coach, I don't condone it, but I'm not going to condemn him as a human being for making a bad decision. We will move on and get ready to play."
"I really believe that in order to win big, you've got to be prepared to lose big," Donovan said. "I think Anthony's attitude is, he's not going to be the kind of guy that's just going to plug holes in a leaking ship ... because eventually that stuff at some point is going to rear its head and it's going to bite you at some point."
Since forward Patric Young is dealing with an ankle injury and forward Cody Larson is coming off a stomach virus, losing Yeguete is a huge blow for a team trying to avoid a three-game losing streak. "Dire is probably a pretty good word,'' Donovan said about his frontcourt situation. "We're going to have to do some different things both offensively and defensively. There is a tremendous void for us defensively at the basket. ... We're going to have to do things about our energy, our passion, that kind of mentality like collectively getting it done together and not leaving somebody on an island in the low post by themselves.''
Yeguete’s absence leaves Florida lacking depth in the frontcourt, meaning it will likely need more minutes from guard Casey Prather. The 6-foot-6 sophomore is one of the most athletic players on the team, but Donovan said he’s had trouble translating his play in practice in games. Donovan met with Prather on Sunday to discuss an increased role. He’s averaging 9.8 minutes per game but is expected to get more playing time this week. With Yeguete out and Cody Larson still recovering from a stomach virus, that could include some time at power forward. "I think one of the things with Casey is if there’s anybody on our team that deserves to play well in games, it’s him," said Donovan. "His minutes have been very, very inconsistent. He’s not necessarily in a steady rotation all the time, and he has never, ever once – and I’ve got unbelievable respect for him – he’s never had a bad attitude."
Coming off back-to-back defeats for the first time in almost two years, Florida could find getting back on track in Tuscaloosa all the more difficult with its top two reserves sidelined. While Alabama will again be without its top two leading scorers, it should be getting a couple of key pieces back for Tuesday night's SEC showdown against the 14th-ranked Gators. After getting blown out 78-58 at No. 1 Kentucky last Tuesday, Florida (19-6, 7-3) saw its 19-game home winning streak end with Saturday's 75-70 loss to Tennessee. "I think these are the experiences where you get kind of hardened a little bit and our team needs to be hardened a little bit," coach Billy Donovan said. "We need to be more battle-tested, battle-weary, so to speak."
Florida will be short-handed heading into its matchup tonight at Alabama. But the Crimson Tide also are depleted. Alabama coach Anthony Grant has decided center JaMychal Green and forward Tony Mitchell will remain suspended for tonight's game against Florida. Guards Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele have been re-instated from a one-game suspension against LSU. The Gators will be without their two top scorers off the bench as forward Will Yeguete (concussion) and guard Mike Rosario (hip pointer) are out for the game. Florida coach Billy Donovan said reserve forward Cody Larson (flu) practiced Sunday and will make the trip, but isn't 100 percent.
Florida travels to Tuscaloosa with a 19-6 overall record and a 7-3 record in SEC play. After rattling off seven straight wins in conference play, the Gators have dropped their last two games to Kentucky and Tennessee. Florida features the SEC's most potent offense at 78.8 points per game on 46.6 percent shooting and more than 10 three-pointers per game. "I think Florida hits you with skill at four or five positions that puts different guys on the floor and creates matchup problems," Grant said of Tuesday's opponent. "With the way they run their offense, it makes it difficult for you to make sure you cover all the territory that needs to be covered. We will have to use as much time as we can to make sure our guys understand personnel and understand the adjustments we will need to make."
Alabama senior Amanda Locke (Mesquite, Texas) was named the Southeastern Conference Softball Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. It is the second career selection for the Mesquite, Texas native. Locke supplied the punch in the lineup and led the team over the weekend at the Mardi Gras Invitational to a 4-0 start. Against four teams that each sported over 30 wins and two that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament a year ago, Locke batted a team-best .636 (7-for-11) while also leading the team with seven hits and seven RBI.
Gaspard believes the Tide will hit the ball harder than it did a year ago during a season that ended with a loss to Florida State in an NCAA Regional game at Tallahassee, Fla. "That doesn't mean were going to hit 80 home runs," Gaspard said. "I think you're going to see a lot more doubles. You won't see us bunt as much as we had to last year."
Since Randy Edsall became the Terrapins head coach, 24 players with eligibility remaining have left the program, including 12 since the season ended. Those 12 players have taken 48 starts with them and a lot of the meager confidence Edsall had from the fanbase as the Terrapins leader. (ed.- so many transfers? obviously they were cut for better players. just like nick saban would do. because he's evil. and only evil coaches would ever have a player transfer on them.)
The new league – which is yet to be named – is expected to consist of Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from C-USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii from the MWC. Hawaii would be a football-only member, making a 15-team all-sports conference and a 16-team football conference.
Dooley took the Knoxville News Sentinel on an exclusive tour and pointed out all of the wonders of the facility, including the grand team meeting room, hydro therapy room, eating area and, of course, the weight room where the MMA cage is located. Players will be able to walk straight from the 120-yard practice field into the new weight room — a 22,000 square foot "multilevel thunderdome of power," as it's called in UT's promotional video for the facility. Along with the standard free weights, machines, cardiovascular training equipment — which will be situated on a deck that overlooks the weight room — and a nutrition bar, it will feature a mixed martial arts cage "so we can go in and fight and all that stuff," Dooley said.
"The public is going to hate me worse in the next coming months," Shapiro wrote in numerous e-mails to the Miami Herald over the past few months. "It's going to be severe and catastrophic. My feelings are getting inflamed and I'm going to pop off pretty soon with regards to them and the NCAA. I'm coming for them both [UM and former players] and I'm going to be successful. "I'm taking that program down to Chinatown and the former players and links to that program. Why? Because the U.S. government lined up 47 former players to testify against me in open court if I went to trial. That in itself is motivation to shove it up their collective [butts]."