If losing to Vanderbilt on Homecoming in your own backyard was not enough to stir the faithful of Gator Nation, having a losing record with bowl eligibility an issues and facing South Carolina this week in Columbia could make Florida head coach Will Muschamp feel like there is a bullseye on his chest.
And if that does not make his heart race a beat or two, playing against Steve Spurrier in his back yard in a time where there is no room for error could make the third-year leader of the Gators sweat a bit under the color.
While this does not bear repeating, the Gators are in a situation where they are playing their worst brand of football since 1979.
Winning six games should not have been this difficult, even with the injuries this team has endured this season. With the loss of linebacker Antonio Morrison this week, the list continues to mount.
South Carolina, on the other hand, is in an odd situation where they have two losses and are trying to somehow stir the pot in the SEC East. The team is one game behind Missouri, who they lost to, but still have an outside shot of getting to the SEC Championship game to face Alabama.
Something tells me the “Old Ball Coach” knows the records, the standings, the pulse of his team and how to get to Atlanta.
Here are three things to know about this game on Saturday.
The Gators will not stop Mike Davis
It is kind of hard to stop a speed back when your defense is damaged up the middle.
The Gator lost Antonio Morrison, their top tackler for the season this week, ending his chances of helping this team get to the postseason. With Davis, the Gators may be facing the best running back they have seen other than a gassed Todd Gurley.
Davis sets the table for the Gamecocks. While he is a punishing runner, he can also break to the outside and turn the jets on. It will be interesting to see what happens when he gets to the second level and is facing the Florida secondary.
Louchiez Purifoy needs to step up
My father, of all people, pointed out to me that Purifoy’s name was never called on the telecast of the game against Vanderbilt.
If Florida is going to do anything with the Gamecocks’ receivers, the junior will have to step up his game and make a statement.
Purifoy could also make a statement in the return game or on special teams – as he is known to block a lick or two.
Also look for the front line of the defense, which is still pretty good, to try and put pressure on Connor Shaw up the middle.
What will Clowney do?
I suspect the Gators will use Kelvin Taylor a lot in this game Tyler Murphy is ailing and questionable as of now for this game. That puts a whole new spin in everything at Williams-Brice Stadium.
If the run game is featured, then Clowney will feast on the Gators.
If the passing game is used effectively and Solomon Patton and the freshman speed this team has can muster some offense, the Gators could make this game interesting.