Game Day Headquarters: Gators @ South Carolina

DR. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  That is almost what you get with this version of the South Carolina Gamecocks.

#10 Florida Gators (8-1, 6-1) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (3-6, 1-6)

Saturday November 7, 2015; 12 Noon

Columbia, South Carolina; Williams-Brice Stadium


A coaching change will do some crazy things for the team and for this South Carolina team it has caused them to play at a higher level than the first several weeks of the year when Steve Spurrier was coaching them up.

While the Gamecocks are just 1-2 in the last three games under interim coach Shawn Elliott, they had chances to win late against both Texas A&M and Tennessee. They are playing very hard for their new coach.

For the Gator staff, they have also had to learn a little bit of two offenses to defend against. The high flying passing game of Steve Spurrier and the fast paced run oriented offense at Appalachian State where he coached for several years before coming to Carolina in 2010. With the new emphasis on a running type quarterback it has opened things up for them offensively.

“I always looked forward when we had South Carolina stuff in break down because it helps you formationally and obviously route concepts, Florida head coach Jim McElwain said earlier in the week. “Coach Spurrier was ahead of his time in attacking defenses and a lot of the things he does. You see a lot of that carryover, but not what you see the last three games and you see the thumbprint of the Appalachian State stuff, especially in the run game and the option. Their team is playing awfully loose and playing really hard.”

“Obviously those guys are doing a heck of a job there coaching them and they are really playing hard.”

The last time McElwain traveled to Columbia as a coach was Elliott’s first year (2010) with the team. It wasn’t a fond memory of McElwain as his Alabama team came in top ranked and left with a 35-21 lump on their head.

“Coach Spurrier actually reminded me of it on the way out to Bristol (in the summer),” McElwain said. “He showed me the football he had in his office. I think we had a 19-20 game winning streak going in there and they beat our tails. He was pretty quick to remind me of that. It’s a good thing I’m not playing in this game.

“The last time I was there I didn’t have much luck. It’s a great environment. You can tell how hard they are playing right now and the energy they are playing with for Coach Elliott and those coaches. You can see the Appalachian State influence offensively, it is really good stuff. We will have to do a good job with discipline and a good job with our eyes. As always we’ve got to not turn the ball over and go down and give them a decent ball game.”

The Gamecocks are going to have a “Blackout” inviting their fans to wear black to the game to show unity. No doubt with a highly ranked squad in the house the Gamecock faithful will be rocking the building. The Gators need to play at a high level.

The Matchup…

The Gamecocks are 89th in the country in total defense giving up 428 yards per game. Auburn is the only defense in the SEC with worse numbers. They are especially vulnerable on the ground, ranking 110th nationally and giving up over 208 yards per game on the ground per game. They are ranked 62nd in the country in pass defense, but why pass it when you can run the ball?

This should be music to the ears for Florida’s offense that has played three top 25 defenses in the last three games and struggled greatly against Vanderbilt last week in a 9-7 win where they turned the ball over four times and only scored one touchdown on the day. Turnovers are still going to have to be kept to a minimum while playing on the road.

Offensively the Gamecocks are playing with more spark than earlier in the year. In the last three games under Elliott they have managed 424 yards and 19 points against Vanderbilt, 445 yards and 28 points against Texas A&M, and 385 yards and 24 points against Tennessee. Those are impressive numbers for a team in flux and certainly better than they were performing before.

Former walk-on Perry Orth has been the catalyst of the offense with his dual threat play. He provides a spark through the air or on the ground for the Gamecocks and the running quarterback has been an issue at times for this Gator defense.

In the end, Florida’s defense hasn’t had a bad complete game and really hasn’t been caught flat footed since Josh Dobbs burned them a great deal in week four. I like the matchup here. On offense, this should be the weakest defense the gators have faced since maybe week one of the season.  The home crowd could be a factor, but I like the coaching advantage for the Gators and see them finishing off the SEC season at 7-1 with a 27-10 win.

Gators Offensive 2-Deep

WR #11 (JR)Demarcus Robinson (6-1, 208) #5 (JR) Ahmad Fulwood (6-4, 210) 
WR #81 (FR) Antonio Callaway (5-11, 206) #10 (SR) Valdez Showers 
WR #4 (SO) Brandon Powell (5-9, 185) #89 (R-SO) Alvin Bailey (5-11, 189)
LT #78 (SO) David Sharpe (6-6, 359) #73 (FR) Martez Ivey (6-5, 311)
LG #73 (FR) Martez Ivey (6-5, 311) #52 (R-FR) Travaris Dorsey (6-2, 321)
OC #54 (R-SO) Cameron Dillard (6-4, 311) #64 (FR) Tyler Jordan (6-4, 294)
RG #63 (R-SR) Trip Thurman (6-5, 307) #51 (R-SO) Antonio Riles (6-4, 312)
RT #75 (R-SR) Mason Halter (6-6, 295) #74 (FR) Fred Johnson (6-6, 312)
TE #83 (R-SR Jake McGee (6-6, 244) #80 R-FR) Cyontai Lewis (6-4, 233)
RB #21 (JR) Kelvin Taylor (5-10, 206) #25 (FR) Jordan Scarlett (6-0, 205)
QB #3 (SO) Treon Harris (5-11, 198) #15 (R-JR) Jacob Guy (6-5, 222)


Gators Defensive 2-Deep

DE #94 (R-JR) Bryan Cox (6-3, 265) #96 (FR) CeCe Jefferson (6-1, 270)
NT #57 (R-SO) Caleb Brantley (6-2, 303) #93 (R-FR) Taven Bryan (6-3, 290)
DT #90 (JR) Jonathan Bullard (6-3, 280) #57 (R-SO) Caleb Brantley (6-2, 303)
RUSH #14 (R-JR) Alex McCalister  #17 (R-SO) Jordan Sherit (6-4, 250)
MLB #3 (SR) Antonio Morrison (6-1, 234) #48 (R-SR) Anthony Harrell (6-2, 237)
WLB #40 (JR) Jarrad Davis (6-2, 232) #23 (JR) Jeremi Powell (6-1, 221)
Saf #42 (JR) Keanu Neal (6-1, 215) #26 (R-SO) Marcell Harris (6-1, 211) 
Saf #20 (R-JR) Marcus Maye (6-0, 210)  #8 (R-SO) Nick Washington (6-0, 189)
NIC #24 (SR) Brian Poole (5-10, 208) #7 (SO) Duke Dawson (5-11, 201)
CB #1 (JR) Vernon Hargreaves (5-11, 200) #35 (FR) Chris Williamson (6-0, 185)
CB #6 (SO) Quincy Wilson (6-1, 210) #31 (SO) Jalen Tabor (6-0, 197)

Gators Special Teams

K #16 (R-JR) Austin Hardin (5-10, 205) #34 (SR) Neil MacInnes (6-4, 219)
#19 (R-SO) Johnny Townsend (6-1, 200) #16 (R-JR) Austin Hardin (5-10, 205)
KOR #4 (SO) Brandon Powell (5-9, 185) #81 (FR) Antonio Callaway (5-11, 206)
PR #81 (FR) Antonio Callaway (5-11, 206) #4 (SO) Brandon Powell (5-9, 185)
LS #41 (FR) Ryan Farr (6-0, 213) #47 (R-JR) Jonathan Haney (6-2, 210)
H #19 (R-SO) Johnny Townsend (6-1, 200)

Here is the rest of our coverage for the week...

Townsend a semifinalist for Ray Guy Award

Gators focused on Gamecocks play makers

Opponent Preview: Gamecocks

Morrison respects the Gamecocks

Gators could be short on defensive line depth

Gators headed into unchartered waters

McCalister knows his strengths

Gators motivating themselves

Gators drop in CFP rankings

Game Analysis: Gator offense vs Vandy

McElwain knows Treon Harris has to improve

Fightin' Gators Rapid Recap

Kelvin Taylor knows work needs to be done

Gators offense 'embarassed' after Vandy win

Defensive injuries for South Carolina game

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