Preview: Florida Gators @ South Carolina Gamecocks – 11/14 – 3:30


I dream of a world in which I post things in a timely manner.  Game previews well in advance of games for instance.  Unfortunately that is a fantasy world and we live in the real world where laziness happens more often than desired or expected.

Without further adieu, 10 things about Spurrier Smackdown 2009…

1. Is it time to let it go?  Time to move on from the Steve Spurrier used to coach Florida and no coaches South Carolina storylines?  Probably not.  It’ll never be time to truly move on from it.  Gator fans owe a world of debt to the Ol’ Ball Coach.  But as I’ve said before, don’t we also owe something to Ron Zook for coming in with such an unbearable stank on him that his eventual firing led to Urban Meyer’s subsequent hiring?  Anyway, the Spurrier storyline will always be there.  But it is year five of this matchup.  It might finally be time to talk more about the game itself and not a certain coach.  Of course, when this game comes back around next year, I’m sure I’ll add fuel to the fire.

2. The point spread.  This may be something we have to talk about every week if fans out there keep up the current “what’s wrong with this damn team?!?” feeling.  The spread had increased to 17.5 points last time I checked.  Similar to last week against Vanderbilt, it’s something that could happen, but it isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t.  Visions of last year’s 50-point drubbing will happen.  You can’t control that.  But realize this is a different team.  A team that actually has a better record than last year.

3. Random Omarius Hines fact: ranked Hines as the nation’s 20th-best wide receiver.  Or roughly the same spot he currently sits on the Florida depth chart.

4. Alshon Jeffery.  The freshman stud has really come into his own recently.  Jeffery has 3 100-yard receiving games in the last 5 contests and has scored 6 touchdowns in the last 6 games.  He’s putting together quite the impressive freshman campaign and averaging 18.6 yards per catch.  If the Gamecocks keep it close, Jeffery will be a big part of it.  Time for the star corners to lock down #1.

5. Eric Norwood.  South Carolina has someone more dangerous than Jeffery on the other side of the ball.  Norwood is easily one of the best pass rushing linebackers to come around recently.  With Florida’s struggles handling the blitz solidly documented, look for the Gamecocks to send Norwood…a lot.  He’ll be in Tim Tebow’s face more than once.

6. The offensive line.  You already know what I’m going to say here.  Moving on.

7. Time to shine Brandon Spikes.  This game is huge for the middle linebacker.  After sitting out last week against Vandy, this is a chance for Spikes to prove his worth on the field.  We’ve seen up-and-down play from #51 this year.  In games early on, he was quiet.  Then in others, he may have been the best defensive player on the field.  Then the Georgia incident.  Spikes needs to move on from that and be the dominant player he can be against South Carolina.  His play largely influences the rest of the defense.

8. Points scored vs. points allowed.  The Gamecocks have had games where they’ve virtually shut down opposing teams’ offenses.  Then they’ve had others where they’ve let teams move down the field at will.  Being the #1 team in the nation, Florida needs to be the latter.  Again, 50 points isn’t necessary, but 20 shouldn’t be acceptable either.  Yes, a win is a win and regardless of the store, we should take it and move on.  But at the same time, the Gators need to erase some of the offensive doubts.  Solid game.  Good amount of points.  And, holding the South Carolina offense as well.  Regardless of how we might feel, Florida will be compared to Alabama week in and week out.  The Crimson Tide beat the Gamecocks 20-6.  The Gators will be measured on the final score.  We may not like it.  But that’s fact.

9. 8-0 in the SEC.  The East is locked up.  But an unblemished conference record is now the immediate goal.

10. And don’t look ahead.  Not to FSU.  Not to Alabama.  Not to what happens come bowl invites.  Just South Carolina.