UF week in review: defense and updates

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Spring practice is nearly halfway over and the NCAA tournament is finally underway, and that makes it a busy week for Florida sports.

GatorNation kept you up to date, starting with a story about the middle of UF’s defense. Coach Will Muschamp believes you have to be strong up the middle -- meaning at defensive tackle, middle linebacker and safety, and he believes the Gators can do that despite having new starters at each position.

However, the Gators’ depth at linebacker took a bit of a blow with the loss of freshman early enrollee Alex Anzalone to a damaged labrum in his right shoulder. He’ll be out for the rest of the spring but should be cleared to return in August. Anzalone was No. 2 on the depth chart at middle linebacker behind starter Antonio Morrison. Darrin Kitchens, who is listed as the starter at weakside linebacker, is also taking reps at middle linebacker.

Anzalone was one of the players who drew praise from the coaches during the Gators’ two open practices last weekend. Ten observations from those two days can be found here.

UF also is overhauling the left side of its offensive line with new starters D.J. Humphries and Max Garcia.

SEC blogger Edward Aschoff provided a list of 10 potential upsets in the SEC in 2013. The Gators are mentioned twice.

In addition, Edward and fellow SEC blogger Chris Low turned March Madness around a bit and put together their own SEC football tournament brackets. Edward had Florida seeded a little higher than Chris.

On the recruiting trail ...

On the recruiting front, Derek Tyson wrote about UF's seventh commitment, guard Joseph Paul (New Orleans, La./St. Augustine) and also recapped the Orlando, Fla., NFTC and the Miami, Fla., NFTC.

Among the players that Tyson and other Recruiting Nation writers provided updates for are:

In non-football news ...

The basketball team (26-7), which fell to Ole Miss in the SEC tournament title game, earned a No. 3 seed and played a second-round NCAA tournament game against No. 14 seed Northwestern State on Friday night in Austin, Texas.

The baseball team beat North Florida 9-4 in a mid-week matchup that saw freshman RHP Tucker Simpson pick up his first collegiate victory. The Gators (10-12, 1-2 SEC) play their second SEC series of the season this weekend at No. 2 Vanderbilt (19-3, 3-0).

The women's basketball team got a career-high 28 points from Sydney Moss and beat host Florida International in the first round of the WNIT. The Gators (19-14) play at Winthrop on Monday.