When South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday night on his call-in show that he expects Florida to run out of the Wildcat formation a lot Saturday if quarterback Tyler Murphy can’t play, Gamecocks fans probably gulped.
South Carolina fans certainly remember their defense being gashed at times by a running quarterback this season, but there are two reasons why the Gator game should be different. Most importantly, these Gamecock linebackers are playing much, much better than they were the last time they got burned by a running quarterback. Secondly, Florida can’t block anybody.
All the reports out of Gainesville, Fla., this week suggest Murphy will not play due to a shoulder injury, which means Florida will use some combination of freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg, who entered the season as the third-string quarterback and has not taken a collegiate snap, and the Wildcat, where wide receiver/tight end Trey Burton would be the most likely signal-caller. The Gators haven’t been able to do much right offensively even when they had starting quarterback Jeff Driskel in the lineup. (Murphy took over the starting job after Driskel suffered a broken leg against Tennessee.) There is a wounded animal quality to Florida right now in the sense that it is desperate and doesn’t have much to lose (except the realistic possibility of bowl eligibility), but things don’t often turn out well for the wounded animal in the long run.
The Gators have enough defense to beat Florida if the Gamecocks make early mistakes and give Florida some early hope. If you want a blueprint of that, go back to last year’s game when South Carolina turned over the ball four times and lost 44-11. That, however, was a Florida team that was No. 3 in the country and playing with a ton of confidence. These Gators are the exact opposite of that.
The Gamecocks will have plenty to play for regardless of the outcome of the Georgia-Auburn game, but it would make for a raucous atmosphere in Williams-Brice Stadium if the Bulldogs lose, opening the door to the SEC Eastern Division crown. South Carolina has won 15 straight home games, the longest active streak in the nation, and it will extend that to 16 Saturday. South Carolina 27, Florida 10
Around the SEC:
Alabama got another top recruit on Thursday as defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, who at one time batted his eyes at South Carolina, picked the Crimson Tide instead of Michigan. Some Wolverine fans, predictably, then said very ugly things about Hand and Alabama on social media. Seriously folks, get a life.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin seems just like the kind of guy who would go to a Drake concert, and here’s the photographic evidence.