Published November 15, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is tired of talking about his time at Florida.
Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy as Florida's quarterback in 1966 and coached his alma mater to a national championship 30 years later.
But he's coached the Gamecocks the past nine seasons and believes it's long past time for the focus to shift off him and onto the field when No. 11 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) take on the Gators (4-5, 3-4) on Saturday night.
"I was just thinking, I bet Vince Dooley, when he was coaching at Georgia, you know he went to Auburn. Every time be played Auburn, I bet they didn't ask him about that. And of course, Pat Dye played at Georgia, he was coach at Auburn," Spurrier said this week. "No, that's really a non-subject to talk about, I'd say. It's just our team against their team. Players on the field are going to decide this thing."
Still, there are probably plenty of Florida fans wishing for Spurrier's days on the sidelines when he won six SEC titles, that national title and was always had one of the most interesting programs in college football.
That circus left Gainesville after the 2001 season and now Spurrier's got the Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2 SEC) competing with the best teams in the game. The Gamecocks can wrap up another 6-2 SEC season — they hadn't won more than five SEC games before Spurrier arrived — and extend the program's record home win streak to 16 games.
There also remains a shot at the SEC Eastern Division if ninth-ranked Missouri loses at least once to Ole Miss, or No. 10 Texas A&M and two-loss, 25th-ranked Georgia gets beat by either Auburn or Kentucky down the stretch.
Florida's had a horrific season filled with season-ending injuries to 10 players. The Gators are on a four-game losing streak after falling to Vanderbilt at home for the first time since 1945.
"I felt really good going into the season with where we were," Gators coach Will Muschamp said. "Certainly, we've not had the results we wanted consistently through the year and that's been frustrating. I certainly think (injuries) has had an effect, but we've got to find ways to get it right."
Five things to watch for when No. 11 South Carolina plays Florida on Saturday:
GAMECOCKS AT HOME: South Carolina hasn't lost at home since Oct. 1, 2011, a run of 15 straight that tied the school mark set between 1978 and 1980 when Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers led the way. With Michigan's home loss a week ago, the Gamecocks have the longest current streak of home success in the country.
WHO'S IN?: Florida's problems continued this week when leading tackler linebacker Antonio Morrison tore a meniscus in the 34-17 loss to Vanderbilt. He's the sixth starter including quarterback Jeff Driskel and defensive end Dominique Easley to be lost for the season. The bad news keeps coming though as quarterback Tyler Murphy has a sore shoulder and offensive coordinator Brent Pease says may not play against the Gamecocks. "We're just going to have to try and make plays," Murphy said.
MUSCHAMP SUPPORT: While some Florida fans are screaming for change, that's not happening according to University President Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley. The school leaders both showed support this week for Muschamp, who is 22-13 in his three seasons with the Gators. Foley told the school's website the program would "stay the course." Florida is in danger of its first losing season since 1979 unless it upsets the Gamecocks or No. 2 Florida State in two weeks.
DAVIS ON THE RUN: Former Florida commitment Mike Davis, now at South Carolina, is leading the SEC in rushing with 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns. Davis took control of the job after Marcus Lattimore's departure and has had seven games with at least 100 yards on the ground. Davis is only 139 yards away from equaling Lattimore's best season set as a freshman in 2010.
OH, YEAH, THERE'S JADEVEON: One time Heisman Trophy front-runner Jadeveon Clowney was back working at practice this week after taking much of South Carolina's bye week off to heal up lingering bumps and bruises. Clowney hasn't had the season projected with just two sacks. However, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward says Clowney's played hard and wants finish his college career strongly.
AP Sports Writer Mark Long contributed to this report from Gainesville, Fla.