Spurrier: "It's a key game for us"

Steve Spurrier spoke about the upcoming matchup with the Florida Gators in his weekly press conference. The number nine ranked Gamecocks hit the road to Gainesville for their third straight top 10 matchup.

Steve Spurrier will always have a special place in his heart for Florida.

It's certainly not a surprise given his success at the University of Florida and how it's helped shaped him in his coaching career.

That doesn't mean he's wishing the Gators success this weekend, or anytime in the near future.

"I'm a Gamecock now and this is our team. I hope the Gators finish second in the East this year, that would be a good finish for them. Hope we finish first."

Coach Spurrier knows that this game plays a huge role in determining who becomes the SEC East division champion. South Carolina's loss to LSU last weekend hurt, but the Gamecocks would still need to defeat Florida if they hoped to become SEC East champions once again.

"It didn't work out last week and if we're going to win the division, we still have to beat Florida to have a shot to do it. All of our goals are still out there."

One way the Head Ball Coach hopes will help beat the Florida Gators is getting Marcus Lattimore more involved this weekend. Lattimore carried the ball 13 times for 35 yards and one touchdown against LSU. The offensive line struggled up front against the LSU defense and needs to perform better than they did last week.

"We're going to try to play better and try to get the ball to Marcus Lattimore more than last week. We need to block a lot better than we did last game."

Another area looking for improvement this weekend is the Gamecocks starting quarterback Connor Shaw. Spurrier mentioned several times since Saturday's loss that Shaw had a difficult night against LSU and that his decision-making was off. Spurrier echoed those statements again on Tuesday.

"Connor had a tough night, a difficult night. Connor could have thrown the ball more than he did. He took off running way too soon on several plays. We need to get him looking down field longer before he takes off. He's been very successful getting out of the pocket, but the other night ran too quickly several times."

Even with his average night against LSU throwing 19-of-34 for 177 yards with two interceptions, Shaw is still 14th in the nation in passing efficiency with 160.31. Spurrier has seen Shaw perform extremely well this season and hopes he'll return to normalcy this weekend against Florida.

On the injury front, Spurrier mentioned a few players that he talked about in his Sunday teleconference on Tuesday. Marcus Lattimore had a bruised hip after the LSU game while Byron Jerideau and J.T. Surratt suffered sprained ankles and Kelcy Quarles has a sprained shoulder.

"Marcus was running around okay last night. The other three guys are all defensive tackles. We're a little banged up there. (Byron) Jerideau and J.T. Surratt have ankles. (Kelcy) Quarles has a sprained shoulder. We'll see how it goes during the week, if not, we'll have some youngsters in there. Phillip Dukes, Gerald Dixon will be in there."

Injuries or not, South Carolina is ready to travel on the road this week and face the Florida Gators.

"Look forward to going down the `The Swamp' and playing the Gators seeing what happens….We'll go down there and be ready to give it our best shot. Hopefully we'll play with more fire and energy from a lot of our guys than the last time we played."

The Gamecock will look to keep their SEC, and national championship, title hopes alive when they travel to Florida to face the Gators at 3:30 on CBS.

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