GC Magazine – April Issue due out

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APRIL 2008— Table of Contents


    Shortstop Cole Figueroa decided to leave his famous dad’s shadow and make his own way in college baseball.

    Cole Figueroa searched and sorted; considered and culled. While he was deciding on where to play college baseball, two obvious options emerged. Florida State or Florida? And those two choices yielded even more choices. Close to home? Or two hours away? Follow in a father’s footsteps? Or create a new identity? No one would have blamed Figueroa if he chose the traditional path, stayed close to home, signed with Florida State, just like his father did. But the son of a former Seminoles’ star infielder wanted more than garnet and gold glory. After living in Tallahassee, the Tomahawk chop was almost cliché.


    Phil Trautwein has ascended from the bottom of the depth chart to become one of the SEC’s best tackles, but injuries have delayed his finest hour.

    Phil Trautwein is a mountain of a man. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs more than 300 pounds. As an offensive tackle, his job is to protect his quarterback, but as Auburn’s relentless defense began to impose its will last September, there was little the big guy could do. Not on crutches and a bum leg. Not with stress fractures. His foot hurt. Watching his teammates suffer without him hurt worse. Much worse. “When we were losing to Auburn, I said to myself, ‘What can I do?’” Trautwein said. “I was sitting there on the sidelines, and I couldn’t help my team. I felt helpless, but I’m thinking if I could have played, maybe something different could have happened? What would have happened if I was playing? What if?”


    UF Softball team hopes to make a grand statement when post-season arrives this spring

    Moments after the last strike, the last out, a tinge of discontent hung in the Texas heat last May. Bottom line: Fifty wins. Not enough. Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Not enough. The University of Florida left Texas A&M wanting one more out, one more inning, one more chance to prove that it belonged among the nation’s best softball teams. “After losing in the regionals, we were not satisfied,” Florida pitcher Stacey Nelson said. “We want to get to the (Women’s) College World Series. We expect to get there.”


    As the Gators’ only senior, Depree Bowden has given the UF women’s basketball team welcome stability.

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You’re supposed to play for one coach, win more than you lose and leave the program with high fives and hugs. So much for those Hoop Dreams. College basketball, Depree Bowden will tell you is, not always a re-run of Hoosiers. During her four years at the University of Florida, she has endured musical coaches, the one-and-done teammates and enough losing to know the difference between March Madness and March sadness.


    Florida Basketball team walk-on Mike Weisenberg enters and shares a new world.

    Invited to try out for the Florida basketball team as a walk-on, he went through a twenty- minute workout in front of Billy Donovan and the Florida coaching staff along with a few other tall guys that he’d played pick-up games against at the Southwest Recreation Center on the UF campus. Nothing too tough, nothing too strenuous. A few layups, a few jump shots a few times up and down the court under scrimmage conditions and next thing he knew he was told he was on the team. Like how tough could this be? And a week into this new gig, spent mostly running up and down the court and doing some conditioning drills, Weisenberg was still wondering just how tough could this be?


    Erving Walker brings outside shooting to the Florida Basketball team for 2008-2009.

    Erving Walker doesn’t know what the big deal is. He can shoot the three-ball as well or better than any high school basketball player in the nation. He makes great passes and excellent decisions when he has the basketball in his hands in transition. He is as aggressive on defense as a hungry piranha. Yet because he’s only 5-feet-8, it seems that everybody wants to make like he’s done something really special. “What’s the difference in me at 5-8 making a shot or a 6-3 guy making the same shot?” asks Walker, a class of 2008 basketball recruit for the University of Florida. “We shoot. We either make it or we don’t. I don’t make shots because I’m small. I make them because I practice shooting all the time and I have the confidence to take good shots in games. Height has nothing to do with it.”


    Every month, Gator Country Recruiting Analyst Bob Redman tells us who the Gators are hot after in football recruiting.


    Buddy Martin’s column

    There really isn’t anything new in football, as an old football coach told me a long time ago. It’s just recycled every 50 years or so. You don’t believe it? Consider that this new-age offense called “The Spread” is allegedly the cutting edge of the game these days. When Urban Meyer brought “The Spread” formation to Florida in 2005, no other SEC team used it. Since then, Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn and Vanderbilt switched over. LSU runs components of it, mixed in with the I formation.

  • BONUS EXTRA:  Pull-out full color poster of opening night for the Florida Gator baseball team at McKethan Stadium

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