Florida is off to its worst start since 1979, but South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp is doing the best he can to convince his team the Gators still are dangerous.
So far, Muschamp’s message seems to be getting through.
“They are not going to lay down,” Gamecocks defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw said. “They are going to come in here and try to knock our heads off.”
Whether they can or not is a different question. The Gators are 3-5 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. They have fired head coach Jim McElwain and replaced him with interim Randy Shannon. They have lost their last four games.
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“That’s definitely one of Coach Muschamp’s big points, don’t worry about what they have going on or anything that is going on down there, just worry about what we have going on in-house,” South Carolina linebacker T.J. Brunson said. “They have a lot of athletes on offense and they are going to come out and fight regardless of who they have.”
Florida is coming off an embarrassing 45-16 loss to Missouri in Shannon’s first game in charge. It was the Tigers first conference win. Muschamp acknowledges that the way the season has gone “has probably taken its mental toll” on the Gators but still worries his former team could mount a rally any time.
“I talked to our guys Monday, 'Don't be fooled by the tape the last two weeks. Let's go back and watch Tennessee, let's go back and watch LSU, let's go back and watch A&M. Let's go back and watch those game tapes,’” Muschamp said. “They've had a lot of uncertainty off the field and certainly, having been through it, it is a distraction and will take its mental toll. But again, that's why the consistent message from me all the time is about our preparation and how we prepare and how we go about our business and our preparation for the game is going to determine the outcome of the game and not about what the other team does.”