South Carolina (4-5, 2-5 SEC) continued workouts on Wednesday afternoon at the Bluff Road practice fields in preparation for this Saturday’s game at Florida (5-3, 4-3 SEC). Kickoff is set for Noon. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network with Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Laura Rutledge on the call.
Gamecock senior tight end Rory “Busta” Anderson has practiced this week and is expected to play vs. the Gators.
“He’s had a great week of practice,” said tight ends/quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. “He’s been running around, looks like he is full speed and ready to roll. He’s excited about being back. He’s been full-go the last couple of days.”
The Gamecocks know they will have to limit turning the ball over in “The Swamp.” Two years ago, South Carolina turned it over four times with three fumbles and an interception in a 44-11 loss, despite the Gamecocks outgaining the Gators 191-183.
“We’ve got to down there and make sure we take care of the football and take care of it especially early and give ourselves a chance to even have a chance to win the game in the second half, which we didn’t do two years ago,” said Mangus.
Florida’s total defense is ranked fourth-best in the SEC allowing 334.0 yards per game. The Gamecocks know that defensive back Vernon Hargreaves, III and the Gators’ defensive backfield will try to limit the Gamecock wide receivers opportunities throughout the afternoon.
“He is pretty talented,” said wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. “He moves well, he’s quick, strong, you have to try to find out where he is and if you can get away from him, get away from him a little bit. They have a good defense, strong defensive line. We will pick our spots with him but we think we have a pretty good plan. He can’t cover everybody, hopefully.”
Sophomore wide receiver Pharoh Cooper is coming off a school record 233 receiving yards vs. Tennessee. Coach Spurrier Jr. expects the Florida defense to try to limit his touches.
“I think they are going to do what they can to stop (Pharoh) him,” noted Spurrier Jr. “We are going to try to mix him up and move him around a little bit and hopefully he can continue to have a big impact on the game.”
Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott announced that Clayton Stadnik is expected to start at center on Saturday. The offensive line will have to keep their eyes Florida junior defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr., who has 3.5 sacks and 8.0 tackles for loss this year as well as 43 total tackles.
“Fowler’s a great football player,” said Elliott. “He has great technique, hustle guy. He gets after it. He was one of the best defensive ends in our league. They are going to move him inside, outside, they are going to move him all around, we have to account for him wherever he is.”
South Carolina will return to practice on Thursday afternoon.