Gamecocks turn attention to Florida

After a difficult loss in Fayetteville over the weekend, the Gamecocks returned to the practice fields on Monday night for a short practice. If Coach Steve Spurrier and his team want to reverse the trend of late-season slides that have plagued USC over the last few years, they are going to have to come up with a monumental effort against the #1 ranked and undefeated Florida Gators on Saturday.

The team will have a little bit of extra motivation this week, as they participate in and celebrate the Wounded Warrior Project, which is presented by Under Armour. Not only will the team wear special uniforms this weekend in honor of injured servicemen and women, they will also honor military heroes throughout the week.

"This game is to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project," said Head Coach Steve Spurrier following Monday's workout. "(It's a) wonderful project that hopefully all of us Americans can contribute to in whatever way we can. We had a video today our team saw about a group of soldiers who had been wounded in the war and so forth. We had one, Steven Diaz, talk to the team. He's doing pretty well now. So he's one of the honorary captains for the game on Saturday."

Spurrier also said that he "hopes the team will be inspired" coming into this game against the defending National Champions.

The Head Ball Coach complimented the Gator defense as a dominant defense that contained the Gamecocks last year, and continues to rank with the top defenses in the Southeastern Conference and around the country this season.

"Well they stuffed us pretty good last year as you know. We know about them. Alabama's got a good defense; Florida's got a great one, there are a lot of good defenses in the SEC. (We've) got to find a way to move the ball, stay on the field some, and go from there."

Spurrier said he expects suspended linebacker Brandon Spikes to play Saturday night after missing last weekend for gouging the eye of Georgia's Washaun Ealey. He joked that "he played last year, didn't he?"

The Gamecocks are very familiar with the Gators, facing them every year as an opponent in the SEC's Eastern Division. Spurrier said that he has seen a good bit of the Gators this year, especially since they have been featured as the afternoon CBS game on multiple occasions, while the Gamecocks have played mostly night games.

For much of this season, the Gators have faced criticism of their offense, which has not put up gaudy numbers like it did on a consistent basis last season. However, Spurrier noted that the Gators "score when they have to" and have led the team to a perfect 9-0 overall start, as well as 7-0 in the conference.

When asked about how good the Gators are, Spurrier simply said that the Gamecocks are hoping to "get in a close one, and see what happens."


- Spurrier said that safety Chris Culliver was back at practice Monday night and was "running around well." Culliver missed the Arkansas game as a result of a shoulder injury along with his actions after the Tennessee game.

- Defensive end Cliff Matthews was "running around a little bit" according to Spurrier, but will have to be evaluated by doctors later in the week to determine his playing status for this weekend.

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