South Carolina Head Coach Will Muschamp knows that the Florida team he’ll see Saturday is a more capable team that what they’ve shown in their last two games.
Some of the players Muschamp recruited at Florida are still Gators, and Muschamp has a long memory regarding how Florida’s offense “beat them up physically” a year ago.
Many of those same players are back, and Muschamp knows they have to be ready for a group he believes still has a lot of talent.
Muschamp on Florida
Florida is under new management, with former Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon serving as the team’s Interim Head Coach and they plan to start Malik Zaire at quarterback for the second straight week.
Zaire went 13-for-19 for 158 yards passing and one interception in Florida’s 45-16 loss at Missouri last week. He replaced Feleipe Franks at quarterback following the 41-7 loss to Georgia and former Head Coach Jim McElwain’s separation from the program.
Muschamp says the stress will be on the Gamecocks’ preparation and to try and dictate the game from there.
Muschamp: Florida is better than what they’ve shown
The Gamecocks continue to be relatively healthy, but Taylor Stallworth remains questionable for this week. Stallworth went out with a head injury and has not practiced as of Tuesday.
Muschamp said the plan is for Stallworth to return to practice tomorrow, but remains uncertain for Saturday’s contest. The head coach said a couple of other players were held out of Tuesday’s practice but will not affect their game status.
Safety DJ Smith told reporters he did not practice Tuesday he suffered a hip pointer on a cut block from a Georgia lineman which took him out of a sizeable portion of the first half. He told the media he returned to the game after getting a shot to kill the pain, and plans to play this week.
If Stallworth cannot go on the D-Line, Muschamp believes he can count on players like Javon Kinlaw and Keir Thomas to step up in his place.
Muschamp on DL
Finally, the Gamecocks received a mixed bag of news on Sunday night, as Deebo Samuel said despite an injury setback that will cost him the rest of this season, he plans to return to the Gamecocks in 2008.
Samuel’s announcement comes after Bryson Allen-Williams made a similar pledge to return after he was sidelined with an injury earlier this year.
Muschamp says the confidence they place in this program by returning is indicative of the positive steps he believes they’ve taken. Despite those steps, he’s not willing to settle for moral victories, and he wants to turn games like last weekend against Georgia into wins
Muschamp on Deebo’s return; despite being proud of team vs. UGA, we need to win those kind of games
South Carolina and Florida kick off at noon Saturday in a game televised by CBS.