Last week against Vanderbilt, Florida committed three offensive turnovers (four for the game) and still were able to win against the Commodores. The Gators did get the running game going and had 194 yards, which is an SEC high this season for them. Florida also opened up by scoring on three of it's first five drives and was on it's way to scoring in it's sixth drive when Chris Leak threw a bad interception. The Gators will need a similar start this week to diffuse a raucous crowd in Columbia. One thing Ed Zaunbrecher did last week was throw on first down and with great success. The Gators used some reverses and even a shovel pass to offset the Vanderbilt defense. The focus may shift back to the running game this week on first down to try and gain more time of possession for the offense. The defense is expecting a physical running attack and have played average against the run all season. It does hurt the Gamecock attack not having Demetrius Summers in the backfield.
Snippetts and Tidbits
South Carolina started out the season as one of the best defenses in the SEC, but their youth has given way to some big numbers in recent weeks. Vanderbilt had 456 yards, LSU 482 yards and the Ole Miss Rebels rolled up 538 yards on the Gamecocks. Arkansas only had 396 yards last Thursday but they certainly were able to move the ball on the ground with 248 yards rushing. The struggles with the defense for USC have been pressure. The defensive front has not been able to get to the quarterback as often as they would like and has only registered 13 sacks on the season. Teams are also converting at a high rate on third down with 41% success rate, which is 11th in the conference. This could bode well for the UF offense which has been awful on 3rd down conversions this season. On offense South Carolina has never really gotten the passing game going under Lou Holtz, but they do protect their quarterback well giving up only eight sacks on the season. Holtz has stated he will use his backups in the gameplan this week. Dondrial Pinkins has thrown for 2,078 yards and he can take off and run. He is not very efficient and the Gators would love to see him throw the ball down the field. What worries Charlie Strong the most is the Gamecock running attack because of Lou's ball control style. The Gator defense has not generated many three and outs this season with only 37, which is near the bottom of the SEC. South Carolina also has eight scoring drives of more than five minutes this season so they will nickel and dime you to death. The one thing South Carolina is very good at is turnover margin. They are plus eight with only 12 all season. The 12 is tied for the lowest in the SEC with Georgia. South Carolina will try to run the football and they have 97 rushing first downs this season, second only to Auburn in the SEC.
South Carolina (5-5) (2-5)
The Gamecocks only average 22.9 points per game but they only give up 22.7 ppg, which is in the top 50 in the country. South Carolina runs the ball to the tune of 158 yards per game and is tied for first in the SEC with Florida in turnover margin. Dondrial Pinkins made his first career start against Florida last season. Florida won in Gainesville 28-7.
The Gators have not had an SEC Offensive Player of the Week this season. Defensively they have had Keiwan Ratliff and Johnny Lamar and Matt Leach has won it twice on special teams. While the Gators are last in time of possession they have had 26 two minute or less drives for scores this season. The Gators are 14-2 under Ron Zook when leading after three quarters. Zook is 5-6 vs ranked opponents and at 5-5 South Carolina is not ranked but does have one win over a ranked opponent this season (Virginia). The Gators have had thirteen 20 yard or more runs on the season and at least one in seven of ten games. The offense has had 40 pass completions of 20 yards or more and at least two every game this season. Zook is 1-0 against Holtz as a head coach but does have the loss as a coordinator against him from 1991. It was when Lou was at Notre Dame and defeated an injury plagued Florida team in the Sugar Bowl. Mo Mitchell will play this week after serving a one game suspension for team rules violation. He was not involved in any situation that deals with the law, school or University Policy. He basically was being sent a message by the coaching staff. The word at practice this week is that Mitchell is performing lights out and got the message. Every week I give my two cents worth on recruiting so this week put me down for another good vibe on Lance Leggett. He is an outstanding receiver prospect out of Texas.
Stat of the Week:90
Florida has had their issues holding late game leads this season, but did you know UF leads the SEC in points scored in the fourth quarter with 90?