"We had some decent practices the last couple of days," Spurrier said. "Hopefully our guys will be ready to play well. Just typical two weeks of bowl-type practices and trying to get ready for FSU. (They're) a very good team - about like us as far as record and everything - so hopefully we'll play one of our best ones."
The two teams are almost mirror images of each other. Both teams bring in identical 9-4 records with losses in the conference championship game. The Gamecocks fell to Auburn, 56-17, while the Seminoles fell to Virginia Tech, 44-33.
The similarities don't end there.
The Gamecocks average 32 points per game, while the Seminoles average just under 32 points.The Gamecocks average 391 yards per game and the Seminoles average 387 yards per game. Despite Marcus Lattimore's record-breaking season for the Gamecocks, the Seminoles average about 12 more yards. The Gamecocks average about 16 more passing yards than the 'Noles do.
The two teams are similar on the other side of the ball as well. The Gamecocks are giving up 23 points per game, while the Seminoles give up 20 a game. The Gamecocks give up an average of 358 yards and the 'Noles give up 349 yards per game. Florida State leads the country with 46 sacks, but the Gamecocks are right behind them at fifth with 39.
The biggest concern for the Gamecock defense continues to be who the starting quarterback will be for Florida State. Christian Ponder's status continues to be a day-to-day decision with his elbow injury. If Ponder is unable to go, EJ Manuel will get the starting nod.
"I think the biggest concern is going to be who starts at quarterback," Assistant head coach Ellis Johnson said. "While they run their entire offense with both guys they're a little different. One of them likes to check to passes when he sees certain looks and the other one likes to check to some option runs and other things. That could be how it's built in the gameplan or it could be the way that particular kid handles it."
The Gamecock defensive line will have their hands full with 6'2, 282 pound All-American offensive guard Rodney Hudson. Defensive lineman Byron Jerideau says that they have been hyping Ladi Ajiboye up for the challenge of getting around Hudson.
"They got a first team All-American guard and he plays that way," Johnson said. "He's a heck of a player. They've had a little bit of inconsistency because they've had to deal with the quarterback situation, but it's a very talented explosive offense."
- Spurrier believes there's no real advantage for the Gamecocks having already played in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship.
"I don't think so," Spurrier said. "I don't think there's any edge except who plays the best, who plays with the most effort and makes plays. That's what it usually comes down to."
Johnson agrees with Spurrier, but hopes that it will have an impact on the team with the noise level inside the dome.
"I don't know if it gives us that much of an edge," Johnson said. "I hope it will help some of our players with distractions of playing in a new facility. It's a hard place to play in because of the noise. I've been in two Chick-fil-A Bowls and it will get about as noisy - SEC is a little more intense - but it will get noisy."
- Garrett Chisolm continues to be sidelined with a knee injury he suffered last week. His status remains doubtful, but Spurrier says he'll give it a go next week.
"He may be able to," Spurrier said. "He's icing his knee and will try and practice once we get to the bowl site. Other than that we got about six offensive linemen ready to go. Jarriel King is in his spot now so we should be able to get through one more game."
- Spurrier also noted that - as far as he knows - everyone is academically eligible.
- Spurrier says there has been a handful of players that have sent in their paperwork to be evaluated by NFL scouts.
"We had about eight or nine guys testing the waters," Spurrier said. "We're hoping that when their report comes back - unlikely will there be first and second round picks - that they will understand they should continue to try and graduate and play another year. So we're hoping they're smart enough to do that."
The names of the players that are known to have sent in their paperwork are Antonio Allen, Akeem Auguste, Kyle Nunn, Rokevious Watkins, Tori Gurley and Stephen Garcia. The only player that seems to be seriously contemplating going pro at this time is Gurley.
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