Slowing down Spurrier

The InsideTennessee.com staff was again at Haslam Field to bring its site visitors and subscribers the latest on Tennessee football. Log in or sign up now to read more and hear this video interview.

Steve Spurrier has been a thorn in the side of the Tennessee Volunteers long before he ever got to South Carolina. His time at Florida as both a player and a coach are well-chronicled.

This weekend Spurrier, who is 12-8 coaching against the Big Orange, leads his 14th-ranked Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) against the Vols (3-4, 0-4) yet again.

Last week the Gamecocks were on a bye. That gives them a chance to not only rest and heal up, but also to fine-tune a game plan for the Volunteers.

The visitors are slated to have four freshmen starting on offense, including two of the redshirt variety on the offensive line — left guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Cody Gibson.

"They have a fast back (Brandon Wilds)," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. "He's really fast. He'll be a little different style. It's hard to get much of a feel. They're going to do a lot of different stuff. They've had two weeks to prepare. We're going to have to be prepared for everything. It'll be tough."

The last time South Carolina was on the field it inched out a 14-12 road win over Mississippi State with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that spanned 4 yards from Connor Shaw to Alshon Jeffery.

Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore is still seventh in the country in rushing with 818 yards on 163 attempts with 10 touchdowns. His ACL tear on a play where he was simply blocking was a crushing blow to the defending SEC Eastern Division champions.

With Lattimore out of the lineup for the remainder of the season, the Gamecock offense figures to be much more balanced. Against the Bulldogs they netted 179 through the air and 110 on the ground. Shaw was accurate, completing 20 of 28 passes but did throw a pair of interceptions.

If Tennessee wants to prevent its visitors from getting just their second victory all time in Knoxville, it will need to start pressuring the quarterback and forcing turnovers.

South Carolina has converted 40 percent (39 of 97) of its third downs and given up 13 sacks.

Kickoff for this SEC East matchup at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville is Saturday night at 7:21 (TV: ESPN2).

To hear Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's thoughts on slowing down the Gamecocks, click play on the video below.


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