Pouncey in his Comfort Zone

Mike Pouncey watched from the 50-yard line during the first game this season as the Gators poured out of the tunnel. He was a captain and needed to be at midfield for the coin toss before the game. It didn't take the senior long to realize that role wasn't for him.

"Since I've been here, I like leading the team out," Michael Pouncey said. "I went out for the coin toss, and I told Coach Meyer, 'Don't ever, ever pick me to go out for the coin toss again.'"

Pouncey was back in his normal spot before the USF game in the second week of the season, leading the team out of the tunnel in the south end zone. He only has two chances left to make that happen, this weekend against South Carolina and next weekend against Appalachian State.

This weekend's game could be one of the more lively environments in The Swamp during Pouncey's career. It's been a season full of ups and downs, but a win this Saturday would make all the negatives disappear.

"It's a one-game season," Pouncey said. "Without this game, I guess our season will be a failure. It's been one of the greatest times of my life, coming back to school. If we get through this one, it'll be one to remember."

It will be the third time Steve Spurrier will coach in The Swamp since taking the job at South Carolina. However, it still has a special feel to it. Spurrier gave the Gators their first national championship in 1996, while current head coach Urban Meyer has given Florida two, in 2006 and 2008. It's a battle of Florida coaches, past and present, that both have a special place in the school's history.

Because of that, Pouncey always sees the South Carolina game as special. Spurrier's importance to Florida is something Pouncey won't take for granted.

"I love Coach Spurrier," Pouncey said. "He's one of the only head coaches I wait for and try to meet after the game. I try to meet him after every game because of his history here at Florida."

The Florida offense will take its newfound three-quarterback system into the South Carolina game. Pouncey joked about barely knowing which quarterback he was snapping the ball to, but it's clear in his mind who the starting quarterback remains.

"John Brantley is our starting quarterback and it's going to stay that way," Pouncey said. "All of them have played good, so it doesn't really matter, as long as we win. All of those guys are unselfish guys."

The offense has also added Chris Rainey back for the past two weeks. He came off a suspension to give the Gators the playmakers they desperately lacked in his absence.

As different as the offense looks with Rainey in the game, it's Rainey's focus off the field that has changed the most.

"It's attitude about the game," Rainey said. "He appreciates it more because it was almost taken from him. We need him to play good every week. All Chris has it football. He's had a rough life, and Florida has given him a second chance to do well in this sport."

Coach Meyer and Rainey have been close since Rainey came to Gainesville. His life before college wasn't easy, as he even lived with the Pouncey family for some time.

"Chris doesn't have any family outside of me and my family," Pouncey said. "It was tough because he had a lot of time on his hands because of not being a part of the football team. He doesn't say anything at practice. He just goes hard.

"After the Georgia game, he stood up in front of the team and thanked God for giving him a second chance."
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