Welcome to Bait & Bits, a series on Hail Florida Hail that will feature one “bait” about an opposing school and some bits about the Florida Gators. Have any links that you want on Bait & Bits? Tweet it at us @HailFloridaHail or @BrettKaplan13 or email it to us at [email protected].
Florida State Seminoles Softball. Florida and Florida State is a rivalry that spreads across all sports, including softball. Wednesday night, the rivalry will be renewed. Both teams are ranked in the top-10 with the Gators coming in sixth despite recent struggles, and the Seminoles ranked eighth. But lately UF has owned FSU on the softball diamond. Florida’s riding an 11-game winning streak against the team out West. During that streak, the Gators have outscored the ‘Noles 75-22, or an average of 6.8 runs to 2 each game. They’ve also run ruled FSU three times. All being told Florida hasn’t lost to Florida State since 2007. This will be the first of two midweek meetings between the two schools, with each team hosting a game. Wednesday’s game starts at 6 pm at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on UF campus.
Football’s Offensive Overhaul. The transition from former offensive coordinator Brent Pease to current OC Kurt Roper has been a smooth one by all accounts. But the philosophies between the two couldn’t be more different. Pease favored a pro-style offense, while Roper likes to open up the offense with spread formations. This offense could be more suited to the type of athletes Florida currently has. And Florida alum Andy Staples has a nice article on how the Gators are embracing Roper and the new offense. (Andy Staples, SI.com)
Demarcus Robinson Stepping Up. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was supposed to save a much maligned receiving corps for the Gators. But he only managed to notch five receptions for 23 yards. Robinson also managed to get into Will Muschamp’s doghouse and was suspended for three games last season. But as Scott Carter writes in his football notebook, Robinson’s been stepping up this spring. (Scott Carter, GatorZone)
Turner Announces Florida-centric Broadcast Team. Turner Broadcasting is trying a new thing in the Final Four, having a team of broadcasters with ties to the schools broadcast their games on one of the networks. On TBS, they will feature a non-biased broadcasting crew of Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Greg Anthony (color), Steve Kerr (color), and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter). But if you want a Gators flare, tune into TNT. TNT will be broadcasting with David Steele (play-by-play), Mark Wise (color), and James Bates (sideline reporter). Steele used to do Florida football play-by-play for TV, while Mark Wise has been broadcasting basketball games for years. Wise is also married to volleyball head coach Mary Wise. James Bates, you may remember, played football for Steve Spurrier and UF. He starred at linebacker for the 1996 national champion team. (Adam Silverstein, Only Gators)
Joakim Noah’s a ‘Proud Alum’. Joakim Noah sat down with the Daily Herald’s (Chicago) Mike McGraw and talked about the Gators. In the article, Noah says he’s seen this Florida team grow up, especially the four seniors. He also goes on to say how proud he was to have worn the Orange and Blue. Noah says some pretty neat things about UF, so go and check out the article. (Mike McGraw, Daily Herald)
Hannah Rogers Finalist for Senior CLASS Award. Hannah Rogers has had a fantastic career as the ace of the Florida softball staff. She’s certainly had a decorated career, racking up All-American, All-SEC, and NFCA All-Southeast Region First Team honors during her first three seasons. Now she has a chance to add to her legacy with the Senior CLASS Award. CLASS stands for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School”. You can vote for Rogers here. Fan voting ends May 12. (GatorZone)
Florida Lettermen Awards (FLAs). The Florida Letterman Awards were held for the fifth straight year Monday night to honor those who had a standout 2013 campaign. Among the winners, track & field won the male team of the year and gymnastics won the female team of the year after both won the national championship in 2013. Football’s Ronald Powell won the male comeback player of the year and basketball’s Michael Frazier II took male rookie of the year honors. Here’s a full list of who won. (Scott Carter, GatorZone)
Gymnastics Focusing on Team National Title. Gymnastics will compete in the NCAA Championships this weekend, and the time for individual honors has come and gone. Florida’s looking for back-to-back national championships after being the best team along the way. Although Kytra Hunter and Bridget Sloan, among others, have a pretty good chance to win individual titles, they’re putting aside their personal goals for the betterment of the team. (Erica A. Hernandez, The Indepent Florida Alligator)