No. 2 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier made appearances Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding their respective teams and the game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The Gators wound up playing without three starting offensive lineman on Saturday, but the good news is that all three look to be in the mix to take on the Gamecocks. Muschamp said that redshirt senior left guard James Wilson (eye) practiced on Tuesday and that both redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison (elbow) and senior left tackle Xavier Nixon (concussion) were returning to the field Wednesday.
He also noted that junior defensive end Dominique Easley (knee) and redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (hamstring) returned to action on Tuesday though freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman (ankle) remains questionable.
Spurrier said that a number of South Carolina’s players have been bit by a flu bug over the last 2-3 days and that some of his defensive linemen have been dealing with ankle sprains. One player in particular, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, has a bad shoulder injury and is doubtful. He may not play even if healthy as Spurrier noted that the player will probably face team discipline for throwing a punch in last week’s game against LSU.
In his post-practice press conference on Wednesday, Spurrier added that star running back Marcus Lattimore did not practice with a bruised hip. “I don’t know how to list him. We’re not sure he is going to be able to play,” he said. Spurrier mentioned that Lattimore will not start the game (that job will go to Kenny Miles) but could be used as a reserve depending how he is feeling.
He then went on to list big-time defensive end Jadeveon Clowney as limited with a foot injury, another major surprise. Spurrier maintained that both of his defensive tackles have sprained ankles, which makes them questionable, and then rattled off the names of a handful of players who have missed significant practice time with the flu.
MUSCHAMP PRAISES SPURRIER
“Honestly, if you really – being an SEC guy and growing up in this part of the country and being a huge fan of Southeastern Conference – there’s really two coaches that come to the forefront of your mind as far as what they’ve done for this league. That would be Bear Bryant and Steve Spurrier. For winning, bringing championships to the University of Florida and understanding what that’s about. Those would be the two guys that jump out in my mind. That’s just personally my opinion. You look at what he did. When he came to our league, it was more of three yards and a cloud of dust league. He came in and spread the ball out a little bit. He was credited with throwing a bunch but heck, they were 50-50. They ran the ball extremely well when he was here. It became a little bit more of a throwing league and things changed defensively. It helped advance this league from an offensive mindset, in my opinion. Again, that’s my opinion. Those would be the two guys that would jump out to me as coaches in this league that for a long period of time had tremendous success.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Spurrier on if him coaching against Florida is still a story: “I don’t think it’s much of a story now that it’s eight years that we’ve gone and played each other, the fourth time I’ve been down there coaching. I guess it is a little unusual to be on the other team when you come into the ballpark and your name is on the wall up there. I think everybody handles it pretty well.”
» Muschamp on the atmosphere in The Swamp: “Our fans are outstanding, the best in the country. I’ve been in a lot of arenas and none like this one as far as I’ve been in pro and college. It’s an electric atmosphere. You can feel it on campus already.”
» Muschamp on not throwing the ball vertically: “We’ve identified who we are and Brent [Pease] has done a fantastic job. You know, Brent is not a stat guy. Most of these offensive guys are all stat guys, that’s all they care about. He cares about winning football games and doing what we need to do to win the game. That’s a credit to him.”