Scouting South Carolina

In a must-win situation, Florida takes on struggling South Carolina this Saturday in the Swamp.

Florida looks to extend it's second three game winning streak of the season to four and keep alive hopes of a berth in Atlanta for the SEC Title game. Florida faces a struggling South Carolina team that must win one of it's final two games on the road to become bowl eligible.  UF could finish undefeated in the SEC East with a win over the Gamecocks and continue the streak of having not lost 3 conference games in a season since 1989. This is a matchup of similar defenses and familiar coaching staffs. Charlie Strong was with Ron Zook as UF's defensive line coach when the Gators lost to Lou Holtz and Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl in 1991. This will be the final game for 15 seniors, including Earnest Graham, Taylor Jacobs and Todd Johnson.

Gamecock Offense:
The Gamecock's offense has averaged only 8 points per game over their three game losing streak.  South Carolina is ranked 99th in the country in total offense.  The recent decline began in the second half of the loss at LSU.  They were shut out by Arkansas a week ago as Lou Holtz took over calling the plays. This week his son Skip will be back as the offensive coordinator and will try to reestablish the ground game with new quarterback Dondrial Pinkins, who has  only 72 yards rushing this season. Ryan Brewer and Andrew Pinnock will share the load at running back and both will be in the game at the same time in certain situations.  Thez Robinson got the start at tailback against Arkansas and should get the nod again.  Pinkins is in as the starter because he is a better passer than Jenkins.  In the last three games, the Gamecocks have 1 touchdown pass and 8 interceptions. When USC does try to throw the ball the main receivers are Ryan Brewer with 26 receptions and wideout Michael Ages who has 19 receptions. The offensive line averages 6'5" 293 and is led by right guard Shane Hall.

Gamecock Scheme:
South Carolina is a multiple offense in which they will get in the spread and the '"I" formation very similar to Vanderbilt. In the conventional "I" they like the power play, the counter and the toss sweep. They will also run the option and the quarterback sprint keep out of a play fake as well. Andrew Pinnock will keep the ball at the fullback position on belly and belly option plays. In the spread they like the lead run and the quarterback lead, which is when Pinkins will fake and follow the back into the hole. The passing game is archaic, as they like to throw to the backs on screens and bubble screens. The best down filed passing play is the comeback and the curl routes. Bootleg is the best pass play for USC.

Gators on the Attack:
Without Ian Scott, it is paramount that Bryan Savelio and Tron Lafavor do not get moved around on the inside.  Bam Hardman will get a steady diet of lead plays with fullback Andrew Pinnock.  I expect UF will pinch the inside and force USC wide where Guss Scott, Mike Nattiel and CoreyBailey or Dwright Jackson to make tackles. Clint Mitchell and Bobby McCray must hit the quarterback on option plays and keep contain on the boot passes and boot runs.  UF will play some man to man in the secondary to force USC to try to throw.  UF's best blitz down will be third and long if they decide to bring heat and create a turnover. South Carolina is minus -6 in the turnover margin.

Gamecock Defense:
The South Carolina defense is the 4-2-5 look that has become popular in college football. Their pass defense is 15th in the country because of the pressure and the confusion they cause up front. George Gause and Langston Moore are very disruptive on the defensive line. The leading tackler is a former walk on with inside linebacker Lance Laury being very active.  Rashad Faison is back from last year's defense and is a playmaker at the outside safety position and Jonathan Martin on the other side is the team's leading tackler.  Dunta Robinson is the best cover corner and will draw Jacobs if Taylor plays.

Gamecock Scheme:
It is the unique 4-2-5 which will convert into a 3-3-5 at times. It is very similar to UF's defense, although they mix up looks a little more because of talent and personnel. Because they gamble so much on third down they have been UN "Strong" like giving up conversions at a 45% clip. The defense has created 19 turnovers and have done it by bring one of the two outside safeties and moving Gause around at the line of scrimmage on the snap. They will play cover 2 against Florida on first down then mix in the man cover 1 and cover three later in the down sequence.

Gators on the Attack:
First the Gators must get the backs involved in the first down runs with the trap and the counter play. I also believe UF will throw over the middle on first down to either Aaron Walker or OJ Small. Short yardage situations will call for the screens especially to Kelvin Kight and Keiwan Ratliff.  Ratliff will be more involved in the big play passing game and UF could unload the end around pass with Ingle Martin this week. Martin may be used in short yardage option situations this week as well. Matt Jackson is going to be a factor this week with curls and seam routes within the flow of the game. Many people want to see more points and scoring from this offense, but penalties and mental mistakes have to keep arising in the red zone area. There is not a very big margin for error especially if Jacobs is a non factor.

Special Teams:
Tyler Dean is a good punter for the Gamecocks averaging almost 43 yards per punt. Daniel Weaver is 8-13 in field goals and is suspect from Beyond 40 yards.  UF can block a field goal this week.  The return game is average for USC with Ryan Brewer returning punts without great speed and the kick return game by committee not much better. However Ingle Martin will punt because South Carolina will come after the kicker and he gets it off the fastest.

How will it play out:
South Carolina may be energized by the move at quarterback and the fact that Skip is back calling plays. For the Gators, the second half offensive problems are a combination of many things the last five games. Turnovers, missed field goals, penalties and even poor field position. Last week the 7 minute plus drive by Vandy took a little steam out of the offense who had not been on the field for 45 minutes counting half time. This could be Rex's last game in the Swamp and I think the defense will hold the Gamecocks down. In a conservative rout, Gators 30-7.

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