Gamecocks continue preparations for Gators

The Gamecocks got their first taste of cold weather on Wednesday night, as they continued preparations for the Florida Gators. Temperatures never got out of the 50s during the day and had dipped into the 40s by the time practice ended, but Coach Steve Spurrier said the team had a very productive workout while braving the cold temperatures. Read inside for a full report on Wednesday's practice.

"This is good football weather," Steve Spurrier said after practice. "Our guys had a little extra bounce in their step today. Maybe those Florida guys will be a little cold. Maybe they're not used to it, who knows, but it should be a beautiful night to play."

Turning away from the weather, Spurrier announced yet another change on the offensive line.

"Gurminder [Thind] is starting, write that down," he said. "We'll give Gurminder his shot."

Thind will be making his second start of the season at left guard. He started against S.C. State and played well, but he injured his ankle late in the game. The injury kept him out of the next few games, and he is just now getting another chance in the starting lineup. Heath Batchelor will be making his second consecutive start at the right guard spot.

The Gamecocks are hoping that Thind will be the only new face in the lineup. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Emanuel Cook were both injured against Arkansas, and were listed as questionable for the Gators earlier in the week. Spurrier upgraded both to probable following Wednesday's practice.

"They were out practicing a little bit," he said. "They went in early to get some treatment, but they should be able to play."

However, when the pair left the practice fields to get treatment, Cook was moving much better than Munnerlyn, who was still jogging gingerly on his injured foot.

There has been a lot of talk about how Carolina needs to finally put together a complete game. Part of a complete game would be forcing some turnovers. More specifically, the Gamecocks need to recover some fumbles, according to Spurrier. In the past two games, they have forced three critical fumbles, but failed to recover a single one.

"You don't think about it," said Spurrier. "Hopefully we get some. We haven't had many lately, but that's just the way that it is. Fumbles are bouncing at us, but we just can't seem to get them. Maybe we'll grab them this week."

DiMarco excited about playing his home state school

Freshman fullback Patrick DiMarco is one of several Gamecocks from the state of Florida. An unheralded recruit, DiMarco has emerged as a key contributor on both offense and special teams this season.

He spoke with the media about facing his home-state team following practice on Wednesday, but the first thing he said had nothing to do with the Gators.

"It's freezing up here," he said. "It's a lot colder up here than it is in Florida. Getting used to the temperature is a little different."

DiMarco is roommates with fellow Sunshine State natives Stephen Garcia and Zac Brindise, and the three are expecting to play host to a pretty big contingent of friends and family this weekend.

"This game is huge," said DiMarco. "I have thirty-something family members and friends coming up for the game. Almost my whole room is from Florida, and between us we probably have 60-some odd tickets. This game is pretty crucial. I was actually a Gator fan growing up. My uncle Chris, the golfer, is still a Gator fan. If we beat them here, and I maybe get a catch or two in there, I'm sure he'll change his team to South Carolina."

Asked more about his uncle, DiMarco said that Chris DiMarco will be at the game, although he is not sure who the golfer will be rooting for. What he does know is that Spurrier can tell the two apart now. Several times earlier this season, Spurrier called his fullback "Chris DiMarco." Patrick DiMarco laughs about the confusion, and says he has gotten used to it.

"He's done it before, when he was on the phone recruiting me," he said. "I just kind of bite my lip, [and think] ‘It's Patrick, but alright.' He knows it now. Coach [Robert] Gillespie had to straighten him up one time, and ever since then he's called me by the right name."

DiMarco said he will not have any mixed feelings about facing his former favorite team. Instead, he is eager to finally get on the field and play against the Gators.

"Heck, I'm ready to go out there and play Florida," he said. "I can't wait to go out there and beat their butts."

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