Behind Enemy Lines: USC vs. Florida
GamecockAnthem: Does having Steve Spurrier on the other sideline make this game any more significant to the Florida players? How about for the UF coaches?
FightnGators.com Publisher: I don't think it means anything to the players anymore. It has been eight years since Spurrier walked the sideline in an orange and blue visor and they were in middle school or younger. The lone exception may be Tim Tebow who was a die hard Gator all his life and came to see the Gators every game when Spurrier was coaching in Gainesville.
Urban Meyer would never admit it, but I bet there is something still there. Meyer has created his own lasting legacy at Florida, but Spurrier has the most wins and SEC championships of any Gator coach and that is something Meyer can strive for.
GamecockAnthem: The Gators are undefeated this season, but they have been challenged at times. What would you consider the blueprint for a team to upset the Gators? What would the opposing team have to do, in your opinion?
FightnGators.com Publisher: Turnovers is the key. In the only game that anyone felt there was a chance of an upset during the game, Arkansas forced four turnovers and Florida forced none. The Gators play conservative on offense and they don't mince words about it really as they rely a lot on special teams and defense without a ton of special talent at receiver.
GamecockAnthem: Florida doesn't appear to be as explosive on offense as they were last season. What do you attribute that to?
FightnGators.com Publisher: As I mentioned above, it is the big play making ability of the receiving corps. Most feel the talent is there, but we haven't seen the huge plays the Gators used to get from Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy on the outside. The explosive nature of this offense comes from the running backs and any of the four can take it the distance at any time.
GamecockAnthem: How do you expect the Florida offense to attack the South Carolina defense on Saturday?
FightnGators.com Publisher: Running the ball wide and then play action. They also need to keep on throwing to the perimeter and getting the ball out quickly to the receivers on the outside.
GamecockAnthem: Who are the key players to watch on the Florida offense?
FightnGators.com Publisher: Tight end Aaron Hernandez leads all the receivers like we all thought he would this year. Riley Cooper is always a threat with his deep speed and physical play. We all know about Tebow. Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody, and Chris Rainey are a really good three way combination at running back.
One other key will be the play of the offensive line. If Florida decides to pass, they have been vulnerable to the sack. The offensive line needs to have one of their better days against one of the top three defenses Florida will see in this regular season.
GamecockAnthem: The Florida defense is one of the best in the country, but have they shown any areas of weakness this season?
FightnGators.com Publisher: Intricate passing games have caused problems in the back end. Arkansas had the safeties falling on the ground a couple of times. Georgia had the safeties guessing wrong. Still, they have played lights out all year and they are ultra aggressive and fun to watch.
GamecockAnthem: What kind of scheme does Florida's defense run, and how do you expect Charlie Strong's unit to defend the Gamecock offense on Saturday?
FightnGators.com Publisher: I understand that South Carolina has the worst rushing offense in the league, but the Gators are always a run stopping defense first. If they get long down and distance situations, they really go crazy with a three down lineman look and blitz two others from many different situations.
The defense is predicated on the corners being physical and bumping their man off the line of scrimmage, allowing the defensive ends, who are really talented to wreak havoc in the backfield.
GamecockAnthem: Who are the key players to watch on the Florida defense?
FightnGators.com Publisher: Defensive ends Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap are a great pair of pass rushers. Cunningham is a technique freak while Dunlap is a 6-7, 290 pounder than can run a 4.7 and is just scary when he doesn't get double teamed.
Brandon Spikes is the play maker at linebacker, while Ryan Stamper is the steady guy. A.J. Jones has really come on this year and is having his best year ass a Gator since arriving in 2006.
The safeties are good, but the cornerbacks are probably the best tandem in college football. Janoris Jenkins and Joe Haden will both play a lot on Sundays.
GamecockAnthem: How have the Gators performed on special teams this season?
FightnGators.com Publisher: The Gator special teams are the overall best in the SEC and maybe the country. Meyer spends an inordinate amount of time on special teams.
He has a kicker that can kick touchbacks every time but opts to corner kick it because of his coverage units. He has a punter that could average over 50 yards, but he wants him to kick it high and only 45 yards because his punt coverage unit is crazy good, only allowing one return for eight yards all year long.
They have blocked I believe four kicks and that is another specialty.
Brandon James is the career punt and kickoff return leader in Gator history.
GamecockAnthem: Do the Gators have any key injuries heading into this game?
FightnGators.com Publisher: Matt Patchan was a quasi-starter at left tackle and he is out for the year with an ACL tear. Dorian Munroe is a second team safety with the same prognosis and out for the year. Every one else on the two-deep that would play in this game is close to or at 100% health.
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