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Chris Clark of South
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Written by Andrew Spivey, November 11, 2015, 4 Comments,
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Gator Country’s podcast was joined by Chris Clark from Gamecock Central to discuss the Florida Gators football game against South Carolina on Saturday afternoon in Columbia.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre asked Clark the tough questions about Steve Spurrier resigning at South Carolina, plus how they match-up against the Florida Gators football program.

Andrew and Nick also discuss the injuries going around the Florida Gators football program, plus they also discuss who could fill in for those guys this weekend.

TRANSCRIPT:

Nick:                         What is going on, Gator Country podcast listeners? Nick de la Torre here. Andrew Spivey joining me. Andrew, let them know.

Andrew:                 This is the man, the legend, the superstar, the greatest of all time, Andrew Spivey. Nick, you ruined my show last night. So guess what? I’m dominating this show. I’m bringing the heat on this show today.

Nick:                         I don’t know about that. We have got a lot to cover, other than Andrew’s ego, which is inflating by the day.

Andrew:                 Inflating? Doesn’t that mean going down?

Nick:                         No. That means the exact opposite.

Andrew:                 When you inflate a football…

Nick:                         Inflate.

Andrew:                 Inflate. I thought you were trying to inflate my ego. I was about to say, why would you do that? A guy like myself.

Nick:                         You do not need any inflating of your ego. You do that on your own.

Andrew:                 No. I’m the goat. I’m the goat.

Nick:                         Thank you. My point exactly.

Andrew:                 I’m the goat. Don’t hate when you can’t hate.

Nick:                         Anyway. We had a big day on Monday. Jim McElwain was spitting hot fire on Monday.

Andrew:                 Hot fire, he was. Speaking of that, man that shirt was off the chain. Nick, you know me. If it’s free and somebody wants to give it to me, I’m taking it. Coach Mac, I need a gift. I need a gift. I give you love all the time. Can I get one of those shirts from whoever got that for you? I’ll even wear it.

Nick:                         I wouldn’t hold your breath, but Mac spitting some hot fire. Jokingly calls Jeremy Foley a cheap son of a bitch. A reporter asked him about his shirt. He said it was a gift. A different reporter said, “Thanks, Jeremy.” That’s how that comment came along. Foley got a good laugh about it when the press conference was over. They shook hands and had a laugh together about it. Funny moment. Also, kind of took a pretty big shot.

Andrew:                 No kind of, he took the shot.

Nick:                         Took a shot, a swing, at the last coaching staff when he said, “We’re holding Demarcus Robinson to the same standard that everyone else on the team is being held to. Last year they would just line him up on their side of the field to tell him what he’s running. He’s got to know the playbook now.” In my mind I’m thinking, what? You gave up trying to teach somebody and just said, come over here, we’ll give you the cheat sheet? No thank you.

Andrew:                 That just kind of goes along with everything else we know about that last coaching staff. Bad. Sucks. Everything else that goes along with it. It is what it is. It didn’t help very much, because they sucked. Probably because the defender was probably overhearing the play. That might be why Florida’s offense sucked so bad last year. The defense knew what was coming. There was no if, ands, or buts about it. He brought out the cannon, and he shot that cannon at Auburn at Willy Muschamp, who says he’s proud of these guys. I guess you are proud of them, but don’t you dare take credit for anything going on in Gainesville right now, you moron.

Nick:                         My goodness. Speaking of taking shots, there’s Andrew Spivey. To me Mac was on fire, and it’s cool to see. He is really embracing being on top right now, winning.

Andrew:                 I don’t know if it’s even that. I think it’s just him, Nick.

Nick:                         It might be. He’s got a kind of swagger to him. It’s a weird kind of quirky Midwestern Missoula, Montana kind of swagger, but he’s got it.

Andrew:                 I just think he says what’s on his mind. I really do. I don’t know he dials back some, because you hear him want to say sombitch every week, and he won’t say it. I think he just speaks what’s on his mind. I think that’s what his players like about him. I think that’s what the fans like about him. I just think that he speaks what’s on his mind. I like it. You and I talked about it. He talks about going to that rivalry. I’d like to know what he’s going to think about Sandstorm on Saturday. Is he going to pop out a dance or some crap with Sandstorm on Saturday at Bryce up in Columbia?

Nick:                         I’m all right with Sandstorm. I don’t really enjoy the song that much. Maybe I did 10 years ago when it came out.

Andrew:                 You know what I’m saying.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Will he pop out something? Does he know that? That’s the kind of stuff you see about it. You and I joked with Mark Thompson last night about the crust, the peanut butter and jelly crust. It’s something that’s fun. You know what I’m saying? Why hide that kind of stuff? Nick, I told you this. You want me to share the story that we got from the Jacksonville police department right quick?

Nick:                         Yes.

Andrew:                 Nick and I, Gator Country members Sierra, Mr. Mark, was telling me today that Jim McElwain sent a letter to every policeman that was involved in that Florida Georgia game telling them thank you, he appreciated it, and signed it. Stuff like that is what wins Jim McElwain over. That’s what it is. Yesterday you look at it, and you’re like he took a shot at Jeremy Foley, took a shot at Will Muschamp. He got a good laugh. He got a good laugh, and guess what? He got the pressure of that 9-7 Vandy game off his back, because he had everyone laughing.

Nick:                         That’s true. That is very true. To me, had a story go up on Tuesday about it. The job he’s been able to do as far as motivating the team each week, finding a new motivation each week, has been really impressive to me. You might need to motivate them this week, because Florida, who has been healthy all year, isn’t exactly going into this game healthy. Joey Ivie will miss his third game of the year. He missed LSU, did not play last week, will not play this week. Jonathan Bullard is questionable. We’re hearing it might not be questionable, that he might be good to go, but you’re missing some people. Keanu Neal is doubtful, questionable for this game. Jordan Sherit is going to miss the first half after being ejected for targeting. That defensive line going to be a little bit thin, at least for a half, maybe for the entire game a little thin in the secondary. Maybe a new rallying point for Jim McElwain, some guys who have played sparingly might have to take on bigger roles. I’m sure he’ll be using that as a little fuel for Florida’s fire.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Maybe Florida’s offense tries to go to more of a slow tempo grind it out football game in this game to help that, but let’s also remember they’ve still got six to seven defensive linemen in this game. When they go to the nickel package they can afford that. You can drop a guy like McMillian down. Not to say this isn’t big for this team. I just say that it’s you would rather have it at the defensive line than pretty much anywhere else on the team.

Nick:                         Yeah. The defensive line has proved to be deeper than we expected. It’s still I think a lot of their success can be said to how many people they rotate and staying fresh throughout the game.

Andrew:                 That’s always the case. You look at Alabama, they’re rotating seven to eight. Florida’s rotating eight to nine guys a game. It’s absolutely a big thing to that. The thing for me is it’s one game. It’s not two or three games, and I think they’ll be okay. The guy that I worry about probably the most is a guy like Khairi Clark or even a Caleb Brantley at the defensive tackle position. They’re bigger guys. How do they handle that? One thing is true, you tweeted this last night, it’ll be a cooler day in South Carolina.

Nick:                         The lows of 39, I know fans don’t like noon games, but the team will probably like being able to play at the hottest time of the day when the high is in the high 50s and the low is in the 30s. A noon kickoff might be a blessing.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s what I’m saying. It’ll be a lot. It won’t be that bad for this team. I think they’ll be all right in there. I’m not worried about the defensive line, Nick.

Nick:                         Yeah. I’m not too worried about it. More just interested in seeing how they handle more snaps. How guys handle not being able to get a series off here and there, or a couple plays off here and there.

Andrew:                 I worry more about Keanu Neal missing the game.

Nick:                         I’m okay with that. You’ve got a South Carolina team that really only has one go to guy in Pharoh Cooper, and I trust Florida’s cornerbacks against him. Other than that, there are worse games for Keanu Neal to miss. I will put it that way. I think this is a game where you’d be okay with Marcel Harris, Nick Washington, Duke Dawson rotating back there. You would have missed Keanu Neal much more against LSU. You would have missed him much more against Ole Miss than you would against this South Carolina team.

Andrew:                 Right. You’re right on that. Nick, we got a good guest on today from South Carolina’s rival site, from Gamecock Central, a good friend of mine, a guy that you’ve spoken to several times, Chris Clark. He’s going to talk a little bit about that. I will definitely have to ask him about the Spurrier situation, how everything’s going up there. Kind of just get his thoughts on this game. Maybe he’ll even give us a little prediction.

Nick:                         Big thanks to him for joining us today. His wife is going into labor today. He’ll be having his second child.

Andrew:                 Two girls. He will be outnumbered.

Nick:                         He is losing the battle at home there. That is a lot of estrogen going on at the Clark household.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Nick, let’s don’t waste these people’s time anymore. Let’s just go on to Chris Clark. We’re back here with Chris Clark from Rivals.com from South Carolina, talking all things South Carolina. He’s a must follow guy. Chris, how are you? We really appreciate you coming on with us.

Chris:                       I’m doing great, guys. Thanks for having me.

Andrew:                 It’s been a whirlwind for you guys. You started with Steve Spurrier. Now you’re with Coach Elliott. I guess, can you just give us a quick update on the state of the program right now?

Chris:                       It’s been interesting, to say the least. The fact that Steve Spurrier isn’t going to be coaching the team after this season in and of itself not really that surprising. Right? Had a season even that South Carolina ended up sort of rallying and winning seven games last year after beating Miami in the bowl game, everybody knew this is a key season for many reasons. If Spurrier had come in and the season had gone much better perhaps he would have coached longer, but we always knew that this was going to be a situation where if things went south for a prolonged period of time, and he wasn’t happy that he was going to get out. That’s what happened. He had an off season to try to rectify things.

As has been well documented, he was sort of close to retiring after the bowl game last year, after the Clemson game really. Then got through the bowl game, they won. They got some recruits in that they thought could help, and then he shifted around the defensive staff a little bit, brought in Jon Hoke. Things just didn’t go well. Wasn’t going well on the field. He wasn’t having fun. Nobody was really having a lot of fun. So he went ahead and stepped away and said, why wait?

That ushered in Shawn Elliott who I think has done some positive things as far as injecting some energy, changing some things around with how they’ve operated, how the offense has operated. It hasn’t paid off with wins at this point. They’re 1-2 since that time period. They’ve had a couple tough road games, no doubt about it, and they’ve got three tough games remaining this season. They’ve gotten better, but I think people want to see them improve by actually notching a win in the win column. Then you’ve got this whole other storyline with probably no matter what happens this season there’s going to be a whole changing of the guard in Columbia. It’s definitely been an interesting situation.

Nick:                         You mentioned the wins. At the end of the day that’s kind of what everyone looks at. It hasn’t come across in the wins, but it seems like the team has really rallied around Coach Elliott. They’re playing better. 1-2 doesn’t really say that, but a close loss to Tennessee. It does seem like they’re rallying around Coach Elliott. Is that the sense? I know everyone loves Coach Spurrier, but had things gotten to maybe just the point where you had to have a switch and you needed to have someone to rally around, and that’s Coach Elliott now?

Chris:                       Yeah. I think so. Look, road games against Texas A&M and Tennessee are tough games. It doesn’t really matter who you are. Those are tough games. I think a lot of people expected the A&M game to be a blowout, quite frankly, and I think a lot of people, including myself, picked South Carolina to lose to Tennessee. I picked a close game, an 8 point game. They ended up losing by 7. They had a chance to win the game at the end of the game. They were driving down field with a chance to tie it at worst, and win it at best. No, that hasn’t come, but I think some of the areas in which they’ve improved, players are just having more fun.

Coach Elliott’s been frank in speaking about that. He’s said that a lot of guys just weren’t having fun around here. As soon as he was named interim he starts playing music at practice. They increased the tempo. They got a little bit more physical in practice. They named GA Mangus the primary play caller. They’ve shown more creativity on offense than anyone’s seen in quite a while around here.

Defensively they’ve still got some things to figure out, and offensively it’s still been a mixed bag. They’ve got to get things going more on that side of the ball too. The reality is that I think they have responded well to Elliott. The players really like him, and I think that’s one reason that he was named the interim head coach is because he’s got good relationships with all the players. He was the offensive line coach, run game coordinator, but he’s always been a guy who’s been respected by players, even on the defensive side of the ball. I think a lot of the players are having more fun, even though the wins haven’t come.

It’s going to be a hard road, and we all knew that going in, for Elliott to get into really serious consideration to get the head coaching job. It would take a big run at the end of this season, plus more. That’s going to be difficult to do. Now if South Carolina was 3-0, if they’d found a way to win those last two games, I think he’d be more in the conversation right now, but considering the circumstances, I mean he still inherited the same team. He still inherited the same coaches. I think he’s done some things that have given South Carolina a little bit more hope of being competitive down the stretch with a very tough schedule.

Andrew:                 Looking at this game here. What do you see as a big matchup? South Carolina’s going to go in a heavy underdog. Where do you see the biggest matchup of if South Carolina can do this they got a chance to win this ball game?

Chris:                       I think the biggest thing is they’re going to have to maybe force some Florida turnovers. I think it is a different dynamic with Treon Harris under center than Will Grier, obviously. I think they’re going to have to do some things to maybe force some turnovers. When this defense has been able to play well, play better it’s been when they force turnovers and been able to slow down the running game a little bit. I mean, they forced three turnovers against Tennessee. One of them was a Hail Mary pass at the beginning of the half. They won the turnover battle there and still lost the game. It was because there would be times when they would just do very well on 1st and 2nd down, but then they’d give up a 3rd and long and couldn’t get off the field. Then they had a really poor 1st quarter where they gave up two touchdowns to Tennessee and that was probably the difference in that game.

They’ve just been so inconsistent. Florida, we all know they’re not an offensive juggernaut at this point. South Carolina’s going to have to take advantage of that and try to limit them. Offensively it’s about being consistent. They’ve shown flashes of being able to move the ball in the passing game, being creative, of running the ball in some creative ways. They viewed a new package last week against Tennessee where they moved Jonathan Walton, the high school running back/linebacker, and a guy who’s only played linebacker at South Carolina, they trotted him out there as a running back and had a couple passes on for him. He caught a touchdown pass. They showed creativity.

That to me is going to be the biggest challenge. Moving the ball against this Florida defense, and I know they may be a little bit, from what I understand, undermanned in this game. It’s still a very talented defense. That to me is going to be the biggest thing. Not getting into 3rd and long. Not turning the ball over multiple times. That’s going to be a really big challenge. I think it’s going to be a close game. I really do. I don’t see a lot of points in this ballgame at the end of the day. I think it could resemble the game that South Carolina and Florida had against Vanderbilt. Both those teams played Vanderbilt close. They played them ugly. I think points are going to be at a premium if I had to guess.

Nick:                         To me really a point of contention with Florida’s offense, you hit the nail on the head. Florida is no offensive juggernaut. Really struggling running the ball, outside of a few game. They had a very good game against Georgia running the ball. Then last week nothing going on on the ground. South Carolina is giving up over 200 yards on the ground, but the way that Florida’s offense looks teams right now see on film Florida struggling to run the ball, and Treon Harris is struggling to complete passes accurately. If we can take Florida’s running game out, is that the approach? Let’s make Treon Harris beat us with his arm.

Chris:                       I think it’s got to be. You look at what gives you the best shot going into the game, and I think if I had to guess that’d be South Carolina’s game plan is looking at that and saying, you’ve got to make Treon a passer. Whether that’s not letting him scramble and containing that run game, because like you said, Florida’s been inconsistent running the ball, but they have shown that they’re capable. With the way that South Carolina struggled against the run at times this year, Florida could look like a very good running team if South Carolina doesn’t play it well. I think that is it. Florida’s got some threats in the passing game. Antonio Callaway has been one of my favorite players to watch in the SEC this year. He’s capable. Treon can deliver the ball. He’s shown, not been consistent, like you said, but I think that’s got to be the game plan.

It’s just a question of which South Carolina defense shows up. You look at, for example, their season opener against North Carolina, they only gave up 13 points. North Carolina rolled up yards in that game, but they got three turnovers. Vanderbilt had some big plays, but South Carolina limited them to a touchdown and forced five turnovers. The Tennessee game is the biggest one to me. They gave up, I think in the 1st quarter it was almost 150 yards rushing. The rest of the game from quarters 2-4 they gave up less than 40 rushing yards the entire game. That’s with Jalen Herd and Alvin Kamara and Josh Dobbs out there, three guys that can really run the football. They’ve shown all year. The problem in the 2nd quarter through the 4th quarter in that game is just giving up some 3rd and longs, but they played a lot better.

I just think it’s a question of which team shows up. Can they get that consistency stopping a run? Certainly the wise plan would probably be to devote a lot of bodies forward and try to get Florida into 3rd and long, because that gives you the best shot.

Andrew:                 Going to offense, you said that the game plan has turned around. Everyone knows you’ve got to stop Cooper, Pharoh Cooper.

Nick:                         As Coach Spurrier would say, Fay-ro.

Andrew:                 It’s Pharoh. However you say it.

Nick:                         It’s Pharoh, but Spurrier’s got his own way of pronouncing it.

Andrew:                 However you say it, I guess has the game plan for him changed any? Is Elliott getting him the ball in different ways? What’s kind of been his role since Elliott took over?

Chris:                       A lot of people wondered that going into this season, especially with the questions at quarterback. People wondered, Pharoh Cooper I think is probably going to play a lot more quarterback, but that really hasn’t happened. He hasn’t taken many snaps from the quarterback positions at all in terms of direct snaps. They still move him around. He’s a slot receiver, typically, but they have certain packages where he’s playing as an outside receiver. There are times when they motion him in the back field, and they’ll hand the ball off to him.

They’ve had him and Lorenzo Nunez on the field at the same time. They’ve put Nunez either out at wide receiver or into the back field at times as well. They’ve just gotten a lot more creative with their formations and how they’re getting various people the ball. As far as Cooper they’ll motion him back there, let him carry it on sort of some option style running plays. They’ve gotten him the ball in some jet sweep type stuff. They’ll throw a variety of patterns to him. He can do a lot of different things, and they can move him around to try to get some matchups. He didn’t have a very big game at Texas A&M, didn’t have a lot of touches in that game. They still had a pretty good offensive performance, scored 28 points in that game on the road against an A&M defense that’s pretty good.

I think they’ve gotten more out of what they had. This isn’t a team that’s just brimming with tackle breakers and speed guys on offense. They just don’t have that. They’ve been able to, I think, put together some better performances on offense based on what they have, and just put guys in better position. Going with the two back set, putting Walton in in a two back set, like I discussed, moving Cooper around, putting Nunez on the field in some different spots. They’ve done some different things that I think have really helped the offense. That said, they’ve still been, like I said, inconsistent. You still look back at all the games and say they could have done more offensively. Maybe the outcome of the games would be different, but really I think the defense is the area of this team that’s really going to have to get better for them to be able to make a run.

Nick:                         I think you and I and Andrew all agree it’s probably going to be a low scoring game. The smart people who build those gigantic desert castles out in Las Vegas also think it’s going to be a low scoring game. They’ve got Florida as an 8.5 point favorite. How do you see this game going prediction wise? Can South Carolina win? Can they cover that 8.5 point spread? How do you see this game going?

Chris:                       I don’t think my pick will be a popular one. I don’t think a lot of people would share my pick. Just to get some background. I picked South Carolina to lose several games this year. I picked them to lose the A&M game, the Tennessee game, the LSU game, and the Georgia game. Then I picked them to win against Kentucky, and then one point at Missouri, and they dropped both those games. I don’t think anybody really saw them losing to Kentucky earlier in the season. I’ve tried to be as fair as possible about the picks. I’m going to sort of go out on a limb and actually pick the Gamecocks in this one by 2, 16-14.

Like I said, I think it’s going to be an ugly game. I think we might see a lot of turnovers, just not a lot of offense. Nothing would surprise me. I think an 8.5 point spread you couldn’t call that unfair, given what both teams have done. I think it’s an interesting spread, because a lot of people I think two, three weeks ago would pick Florida to really roll over South Carolina, but Florida didn’t have a huge game last week in terms of their performance, and then South Carolina, while they’ve lost the past two weeks they seemed a little resolved. They’ve shown some improvement a little, especially on offense. Then you factor in Florida’s got some key guys banged up. It wouldn’t surprise me either way. I’m not confident in that pick at all, but I think at home with South Carolina improving a little bit. I’m just going to pick them to squeak one out.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Chris, tell everybody real quick how they can follow you, get your news, and for Saturday.

Chris:                       We’re at GamecockCentral.com, football, recruiting, all that stuff. We’re on Twitter @GamecockCentral. I’m on Twitter @GCChrisClark.

Andrew:                 Chris, we appreciate you taking time on your busy day. Congrats on your big news, and we will talk to you soon, man.

Chris:                       Thanks a lot for having me.

Andrew:                 You got it.

Nick:                         Thank you.

Andrew:                 That was good stuff from Chris. He went out on a limb. He picked the Gamecocks.

Nick:                         I know you’re probably going to pick South Carolina on our prediction podcast, because you’ve been picking against Florida all year long.

Andrew:                 I have.

Nick:                         I don’t think it’s crazy outrageous. I haven’t made my mind up.

Andrew:                 No chance in hell.

Nick:                         I haven’t made my mind up on who I’ll be picking. It’s not crazy to think. Now I don’t think Florida will turn the ball over a lot. What Jim McElwain and this coaching staff has really been able to do is we had a problem tackling against Tennessee, you’ve never seen that again. We had a problem defending the pass against LSU. Not the last two weeks. There was a fumble problem, and one interception, but the interception was fine. The interception was an arm punt, but the fumbling problem, I remember I had a friend on the football team when Urban Meyer was here. If you fumbled in a football game you had to carry a football in either arm, and you’d run five yards, drop, back to the goal line. 10 yards, drop to the ground, back to the goal line. You did suicides 100 yards with two footballs under your arms, and you weren’t fumbling. Jim McElwain will put that emphasis on ball security this week, and I don’t think you get the turnovers.

I really am interested to see if Florida can run the ball. South Carolina giving up over 200 yards a game, that’s second worst in the SEC as far as run defense. Brandon Wilds is a very good senior experienced running back for South Carolina, but Florida that run defense, what can they do? They’ve been stout all year long, but if you’re missing Joey Ivie, Jon Bullard, Jordan Sherit for a half, now you’re getting guys not fresh anymore. Florida’s rotating about 11 guys on the defensive line this year. That keeps them fresh throughout the game, and that’s going to help you in the 3rd quarter, in the 4th quarter. Now you’re going to have fresh guys, just because you’re missing some people. That rotation’s not going to be as deep. How does that affect Florida against a good running back in Brandon Wilds?

Andrew:                 Stop smoking, Nick. It’s bad for your health. It’s bad for your brain. Stop. It is crazy. Florida’s not turning the ball over. In my opinion, usually it’s good, sometimes it’s awful, just depending on what day of the week it is. Today’s Tuesday, you’re going to listen to this on Wednesday on GatorCountry.com. I’m going to say that Florida comes out with a good game plan and Florida puts points on the board this week. I think that that is going to be something Mac hits home with this week. He’s not happy. You could tell he wasn’t happy about that. Also, let’s face it. This South Carolina defense ain’t Vandy’s defense. You and I both will say Vandy’s defense was fast as crap. That’s exactly what this defense is not for South Carolina.

Nick:                         Skai Moore is. Skai Moore is one of the best linebackers.

Andrew:                 Right, but he is a…

Nick:                         In the SEC. Don’t ask Will Muschamp about that, because he would have told you differently, but Skai Moore’s one of the best linebackers in the league.

Andrew:                 He has Morrison’s problem in pass coverage.

Nick:                         That’s true.

Andrew:                 If Florida can move Kelvin Taylor out, move a Goolsby out to have a one on one matchup, that’s where you want to go. That’s all, that’s most linebackers in the country, outside of a few. Reggie Ragland at Alabama being one of the select few that you don’t want to mess with. That’s most of them. As far as a defense in general, you don’t have Jadeveon Clowney. You don’t have the elite cornerbacks that they do. Let’s remember, this DB secondary of South Carolina is not very good.

Nick:                         Yeah. No. Skai Moore leads the team in tackles for loss.

Andrew:                 He leads the SEC, doesn’t he? I believe so.

Nick:                         No. He only has 6.5.

Andrew:                 Tackles period? I believe he leads the SEC in tackles as well. If not he’s one of the top guys. He was leading it a couple weeks ago.

Nick:                         I don’t think so. No. Kentrell Brothers at Missouri already has 117, and then Jonathan Ford at Auburn has 96. Then Skai Moore is third with 89.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         89 tackles. He is a great player. In the secondary there are some issues there. It’s tough. I liked Chris Lammons as a prospect, but he kind of gets picked on a little bit. Jordan Diggs gets picked on a little bit. Isaiah Johnson gets picked on. All of the DBs get picked on a little bit at South Carolina. That’s what it’s going to be for Florida. Until Treon Harris torches a defense and Florida puts that on film, teams are going to sell against the run, because what happens? Florida runs the ball effectively, dominates Georgia. At no point in that game, even when Georgia got down to the red zone and had the possibility of making it a close game, at no point against Georgia if you were a Florida fan did you feel did you feel like this game’s getting out of control for us. Georgia might come back. You stop the run, Vanderbilt stuffs the run, 9-7 game. LSU stuffed the run, close game. If Florida runs the ball effectively, this is what they’ve shown on film, if Florida runs the ball effectively they can dominate you, especially with the way that defense play.

Andrew:                 Let me give you one stat real quick. South Carolina’s giving up 5.24 yards per carry. That’s not good.

Nick:                         That’s a lot of yards.

Andrew:                 That is also against a team like A&M who doesn’t run the ball a lot, would rather throw the ball.

Nick:                         They played Kyler Murray who…

Andrew:                 Right. He is more of a runner, but he still wants to throw the ball.

Nick:                         He picked up a lot of rushing yards on his own versus them.

Andrew:                 I’m just saying they’re giving up 27 points a game. I’m just saying that this is not a defense that is good, and then my thing is put away the defense to South Carolina. Where are they getting points on offense?

Nick:                         I don’t know. Let me real quick, Kyler Murray ran for 156 yards on his own on 20 carries against South Carolina.

Andrew:                 Right. That makes my point. That’s what I’m saying. A&M doesn’t like to run the ball, and they still ran the ball. A&M would much rather throw the ball, but they rushed the ball well against a Carolina defense, because that’s their weakness.

Nick:                         No. Kyler Murray is a Johnny Manziel type of playmaker with his legs. The quarterbacks that they’d used before in the season weren’t that mix. I’m saying it’s not like Texas A&M said, we’re going to scrap it, and we’re going to get in the I formation.

Andrew:                 No.

Nick:                         They had a very athletic quarterback that totaled almost 160 yards on his own from scrambling and some design things like that. Kyle Allen is a great quarterback. He’s not a threat to run in the way that Kyler Murray is.

Andrew:                 We’re on the same page. I was just saying that A&M, if you break down A&M’s games, A&M usually throws the ball for more than they rush the ball. In that game it was pretty close, because of Carolina’s rush defense being as bad as it was.

Nick:                         Right. Back to your question. Where does South Carolina’s points come from? Right now Florida is first in the SEC, I think third in the country or fourth in the country, giving up just 14.6 points per game. Put that into perspective. Last year Ole Miss led the SEC. They gave up 16 points per game. Florida’s defense right now is playing out of their mind, and I honestly don’t know. By the way, Florida’s 14.6 points per game right now would have led the country last year in scoring defense. South Carolina’s struggling to score points. I don’t know where the points come from. I called a shutout last week against Vanderbilt, and outside of one 74 yard run where the ref threw a pretty nice pick on Keanu Neal Florida would have gotten that shutout.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You’re right. The thing for this is Pharoh Cooper is the guy. If you let him loose, he will hurt you. You look at the guys that Florida has played this year that have been…

Nick:                         Pharoh Cooper has 30 more receptions than the next leading pass catcher, and that’s a tight end. The third is Brandon Wilds, a running back. Pharoh Cooper has 48 receptions. The next closest wide receiver on the team is a freshman, DJ Neal, and he has 7.

Andrew:                 That’s what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you look at Laquon Treadwell, Florida had a game plan to stop him. You look at the big receivers that Florida’s went up against. They found ways to go against that. Don’t think that’s going to be any different this week when Florida goes up against Cooper. They’re going to know who they must stop in this ballgame to win the game, and that’s Pharoh Cooper. I don’t think that this will be a game where Pharoh Cooper dominates. That’s kind of where I’m at. We’re getting way ahead of ourselves. This is way too early in the week. We’ll have all of this breaking down on Friday. We’ll have basketball coverage the rest of the week. You guys are in for a good treat as basketball team starts on Friday against Navy on the road. Mike White’s team, we’ll see how good they are. Recruiting still going. Hope you guys like the recruiting with Lamical Perine and Mark Thompson. Let us know who you want on the podcast for next week, because Nick and I’ll be bringing the heat as always.

Nick:                         I always bring the heat, even when you don’t.

Andrew:                 I don’t know about all that.

Nick:                         There’s no days off.

Andrew:                 I don’t know about all that. We’ll see about you and your heat. My ratings probably are in the dumpster after you came on my show last night.

Nick:                         I killed it last night. Also thanks to Mark and Lamical for joining us. As always, you know the drill. Here we go. My spiel, @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter. NickdelaTorre on Instagram. TheGatorCountry on Instagram. @GatorCountry on Twitter. @AndrewSpiveyGC, just past 8,000 followers. I need to catch him. If you are listening, unfollow him and follow me.

Andrew:                 That’s rude. Thanks to Chris Clark, as always. He’s about to have his wife is actually about to have their second baby. He was doing you and I a very good solid coming on, but a great friend of mine from my Rivals time. Good follow. I usually don’t support the competitors, but he’s a good dude. South Carolina is his team. Loves Steve Spurrier. As always, follow us on Twitter. Check us out on GatorCountry.com. My man, Nick, has been bringing the heat all year, and don’t expect that to change. As always, Mark, Butch, you know the drill. You suck. As always, go Braves.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

  1. slowgolfproNovember 11, 2015, 6:56 pm

    You guys are pretty entertaining. Keep it up and Go Gators!

    • Andrew Spivey
      Andrew SpiveyNovember 11, 2015, 7:06 pm

      thank you sir.

  2. gatortvNovember 12, 2015, 11:08 am

    Bottom line is that Florida’s defense is a whole lot better than South Carolina’s defense. If Florida can limit turnovers which I think they well then they should win by a score of around 27 to 17.. I also think Florida has more playmakers than South Carolina. Our offensive line is healthier than it was last week and I think Treon has more time to find open receivers. South Carolina’s defense is also not near as good as Vandy’s.

    • Andrew Spivey
      Andrew SpiveyNovember 12, 2015, 8:08 pm

      Not sure how South Carolina scores 17 points honestly.

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Gator Country’s podcast was joined by Chris Clark from Gamecock Central to discuss the Florida Gators football game against South Carolina on Saturday afternoon in Columbia.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre asked Clark the tough questions about Steve Spurrier resigning at South Carolina, plus how they match-up against the Florida Gators football program.

Andrew and Nick also discuss the injuries going around the Florida Gators football program, plus they also discuss who could fill in for those guys this weekend.

TRANSCRIPT:

Nick:                         What is going on, Gator Country podcast listeners? Nick de la Torre here. Andrew Spivey joining me. Andrew, let them know.

Andrew:                 This is the man, the legend, the superstar, the greatest of all time, Andrew Spivey. Nick, you ruined my show last night. So guess what? I’m dominating this show. I’m bringing the heat on this show today.

Nick:                         I don’t know about that. We have got a lot to cover, other than Andrew’s ego, which is inflating by the day.

Andrew:                 Inflating? Doesn’t that mean going down?

Nick:                         No. That means the exact opposite.

Andrew:                 When you inflate a football…

Nick:                         Inflate.

Andrew:                 Inflate. I thought you were trying to inflate my ego. I was about to say, why would you do that? A guy like myself.

Nick:                         You do not need any inflating of your ego. You do that on your own.

Andrew:                 No. I’m the goat. I’m the goat.

Nick:                         Thank you. My point exactly.

Andrew:                 I’m the goat. Don’t hate when you can’t hate.

Nick:                         Anyway. We had a big day on Monday. Jim McElwain was spitting hot fire on Monday.

Andrew:                 Hot fire, he was. Speaking of that, man that shirt was off the chain. Nick, you know me. If it’s free and somebody wants to give it to me, I’m taking it. Coach Mac, I need a gift. I need a gift. I give you love all the time. Can I get one of those shirts from whoever got that for you? I’ll even wear it.

Nick:                         I wouldn’t hold your breath, but Mac spitting some hot fire. Jokingly calls Jeremy Foley a cheap son of a bitch. A reporter asked him about his shirt. He said it was a gift. A different reporter said, “Thanks, Jeremy.” That’s how that comment came along. Foley got a good laugh about it when the press conference was over. They shook hands and had a laugh together about it. Funny moment. Also, kind of took a pretty big shot.

Andrew:                 No kind of, he took the shot.

Nick:                         Took a shot, a swing, at the last coaching staff when he said, “We’re holding Demarcus Robinson to the same standard that everyone else on the team is being held to. Last year they would just line him up on their side of the field to tell him what he’s running. He’s got to know the playbook now.” In my mind I’m thinking, what? You gave up trying to teach somebody and just said, come over here, we’ll give you the cheat sheet? No thank you.

Andrew:                 That just kind of goes along with everything else we know about that last coaching staff. Bad. Sucks. Everything else that goes along with it. It is what it is. It didn’t help very much, because they sucked. Probably because the defender was probably overhearing the play. That might be why Florida’s offense sucked so bad last year. The defense knew what was coming. There was no if, ands, or buts about it. He brought out the cannon, and he shot that cannon at Auburn at Willy Muschamp, who says he’s proud of these guys. I guess you are proud of them, but don’t you dare take credit for anything going on in Gainesville right now, you moron.

Nick:                         My goodness. Speaking of taking shots, there’s Andrew Spivey. To me Mac was on fire, and it’s cool to see. He is really embracing being on top right now, winning.

Andrew:                 I don’t know if it’s even that. I think it’s just him, Nick.

Nick:                         It might be. He’s got a kind of swagger to him. It’s a weird kind of quirky Midwestern Missoula, Montana kind of swagger, but he’s got it.

Andrew:                 I just think he says what’s on his mind. I really do. I don’t know he dials back some, because you hear him want to say sombitch every week, and he won’t say it. I think he just speaks what’s on his mind. I think that’s what his players like about him. I think that’s what the fans like about him. I just think that he speaks what’s on his mind. I like it. You and I talked about it. He talks about going to that rivalry. I’d like to know what he’s going to think about Sandstorm on Saturday. Is he going to pop out a dance or some crap with Sandstorm on Saturday at Bryce up in Columbia?

Nick:                         I’m all right with Sandstorm. I don’t really enjoy the song that much. Maybe I did 10 years ago when it came out.

Andrew:                 You know what I’m saying.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Will he pop out something? Does he know that? That’s the kind of stuff you see about it. You and I joked with Mark Thompson last night about the crust, the peanut butter and jelly crust. It’s something that’s fun. You know what I’m saying? Why hide that kind of stuff? Nick, I told you this. You want me to share the story that we got from the Jacksonville police department right quick?

Nick:                         Yes.

Andrew:                 Nick and I, Gator Country members Sierra, Mr. Mark, was telling me today that Jim McElwain sent a letter to every policeman that was involved in that Florida Georgia game telling them thank you, he appreciated it, and signed it. Stuff like that is what wins Jim McElwain over. That’s what it is. Yesterday you look at it, and you’re like he took a shot at Jeremy Foley, took a shot at Will Muschamp. He got a good laugh. He got a good laugh, and guess what? He got the pressure of that 9-7 Vandy game off his back, because he had everyone laughing.

Nick:                         That’s true. That is very true. To me, had a story go up on Tuesday about it. The job he’s been able to do as far as motivating the team each week, finding a new motivation each week, has been really impressive to me. You might need to motivate them this week, because Florida, who has been healthy all year, isn’t exactly going into this game healthy. Joey Ivie will miss his third game of the year. He missed LSU, did not play last week, will not play this week. Jonathan Bullard is questionable. We’re hearing it might not be questionable, that he might be good to go, but you’re missing some people. Keanu Neal is doubtful, questionable for this game. Jordan Sherit is going to miss the first half after being ejected for targeting. That defensive line going to be a little bit thin, at least for a half, maybe for the entire game a little thin in the secondary. Maybe a new rallying point for Jim McElwain, some guys who have played sparingly might have to take on bigger roles. I’m sure he’ll be using that as a little fuel for Florida’s fire.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Maybe Florida’s offense tries to go to more of a slow tempo grind it out football game in this game to help that, but let’s also remember they’ve still got six to seven defensive linemen in this game. When they go to the nickel package they can afford that. You can drop a guy like McMillian down. Not to say this isn’t big for this team. I just say that it’s you would rather have it at the defensive line than pretty much anywhere else on the team.

Nick:                         Yeah. The defensive line has proved to be deeper than we expected. It’s still I think a lot of their success can be said to how many people they rotate and staying fresh throughout the game.

Andrew:                 That’s always the case. You look at Alabama, they’re rotating seven to eight. Florida’s rotating eight to nine guys a game. It’s absolutely a big thing to that. The thing for me is it’s one game. It’s not two or three games, and I think they’ll be okay. The guy that I worry about probably the most is a guy like Khairi Clark or even a Caleb Brantley at the defensive tackle position. They’re bigger guys. How do they handle that? One thing is true, you tweeted this last night, it’ll be a cooler day in South Carolina.

Nick:                         The lows of 39, I know fans don’t like noon games, but the team will probably like being able to play at the hottest time of the day when the high is in the high 50s and the low is in the 30s. A noon kickoff might be a blessing.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s what I’m saying. It’ll be a lot. It won’t be that bad for this team. I think they’ll be all right in there. I’m not worried about the defensive line, Nick.

Nick:                         Yeah. I’m not too worried about it. More just interested in seeing how they handle more snaps. How guys handle not being able to get a series off here and there, or a couple plays off here and there.

Andrew:                 I worry more about Keanu Neal missing the game.

Nick:                         I’m okay with that. You’ve got a South Carolina team that really only has one go to guy in Pharoh Cooper, and I trust Florida’s cornerbacks against him. Other than that, there are worse games for Keanu Neal to miss. I will put it that way. I think this is a game where you’d be okay with Marcel Harris, Nick Washington, Duke Dawson rotating back there. You would have missed Keanu Neal much more against LSU. You would have missed him much more against Ole Miss than you would against this South Carolina team.

Andrew:                 Right. You’re right on that. Nick, we got a good guest on today from South Carolina’s rival site, from Gamecock Central, a good friend of mine, a guy that you’ve spoken to several times, Chris Clark. He’s going to talk a little bit about that. I will definitely have to ask him about the Spurrier situation, how everything’s going up there. Kind of just get his thoughts on this game. Maybe he’ll even give us a little prediction.

Nick:                         Big thanks to him for joining us today. His wife is going into labor today. He’ll be having his second child.

Andrew:                 Two girls. He will be outnumbered.

Nick:                         He is losing the battle at home there. That is a lot of estrogen going on at the Clark household.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Nick, let’s don’t waste these people’s time anymore. Let’s just go on to Chris Clark. We’re back here with Chris Clark from Rivals.com from South Carolina, talking all things South Carolina. He’s a must follow guy. Chris, how are you? We really appreciate you coming on with us.

Chris:                       I’m doing great, guys. Thanks for having me.

Andrew:                 It’s been a whirlwind for you guys. You started with Steve Spurrier. Now you’re with Coach Elliott. I guess, can you just give us a quick update on the state of the program right now?

Chris:                       It’s been interesting, to say the least. The fact that Steve Spurrier isn’t going to be coaching the team after this season in and of itself not really that surprising. Right? Had a season even that South Carolina ended up sort of rallying and winning seven games last year after beating Miami in the bowl game, everybody knew this is a key season for many reasons. If Spurrier had come in and the season had gone much better perhaps he would have coached longer, but we always knew that this was going to be a situation where if things went south for a prolonged period of time, and he wasn’t happy that he was going to get out. That’s what happened. He had an off season to try to rectify things.

As has been well documented, he was sort of close to retiring after the bowl game last year, after the Clemson game really. Then got through the bowl game, they won. They got some recruits in that they thought could help, and then he shifted around the defensive staff a little bit, brought in Jon Hoke. Things just didn’t go well. Wasn’t going well on the field. He wasn’t having fun. Nobody was really having a lot of fun. So he went ahead and stepped away and said, why wait?

That ushered in Shawn Elliott who I think has done some positive things as far as injecting some energy, changing some things around with how they’ve operated, how the offense has operated. It hasn’t paid off with wins at this point. They’re 1-2 since that time period. They’ve had a couple tough road games, no doubt about it, and they’ve got three tough games remaining this season. They’ve gotten better, but I think people want to see them improve by actually notching a win in the win column. Then you’ve got this whole other storyline with probably no matter what happens this season there’s going to be a whole changing of the guard in Columbia. It’s definitely been an interesting situation.

Nick:                         You mentioned the wins. At the end of the day that’s kind of what everyone looks at. It hasn’t come across in the wins, but it seems like the team has really rallied around Coach Elliott. They’re playing better. 1-2 doesn’t really say that, but a close loss to Tennessee. It does seem like they’re rallying around Coach Elliott. Is that the sense? I know everyone loves Coach Spurrier, but had things gotten to maybe just the point where you had to have a switch and you needed to have someone to rally around, and that’s Coach Elliott now?

Chris:                       Yeah. I think so. Look, road games against Texas A&M and Tennessee are tough games. It doesn’t really matter who you are. Those are tough games. I think a lot of people expected the A&M game to be a blowout, quite frankly, and I think a lot of people, including myself, picked South Carolina to lose to Tennessee. I picked a close game, an 8 point game. They ended up losing by 7. They had a chance to win the game at the end of the game. They were driving down field with a chance to tie it at worst, and win it at best. No, that hasn’t come, but I think some of the areas in which they’ve improved, players are just having more fun.

Coach Elliott’s been frank in speaking about that. He’s said that a lot of guys just weren’t having fun around here. As soon as he was named interim he starts playing music at practice. They increased the tempo. They got a little bit more physical in practice. They named GA Mangus the primary play caller. They’ve shown more creativity on offense than anyone’s seen in quite a while around here.

Defensively they’ve still got some things to figure out, and offensively it’s still been a mixed bag. They’ve got to get things going more on that side of the ball too. The reality is that I think they have responded well to Elliott. The players really like him, and I think that’s one reason that he was named the interim head coach is because he’s got good relationships with all the players. He was the offensive line coach, run game coordinator, but he’s always been a guy who’s been respected by players, even on the defensive side of the ball. I think a lot of the players are having more fun, even though the wins haven’t come.

It’s going to be a hard road, and we all knew that going in, for Elliott to get into really serious consideration to get the head coaching job. It would take a big run at the end of this season, plus more. That’s going to be difficult to do. Now if South Carolina was 3-0, if they’d found a way to win those last two games, I think he’d be more in the conversation right now, but considering the circumstances, I mean he still inherited the same team. He still inherited the same coaches. I think he’s done some things that have given South Carolina a little bit more hope of being competitive down the stretch with a very tough schedule.

Andrew:                 Looking at this game here. What do you see as a big matchup? South Carolina’s going to go in a heavy underdog. Where do you see the biggest matchup of if South Carolina can do this they got a chance to win this ball game?

Chris:                       I think the biggest thing is they’re going to have to maybe force some Florida turnovers. I think it is a different dynamic with Treon Harris under center than Will Grier, obviously. I think they’re going to have to do some things to maybe force some turnovers. When this defense has been able to play well, play better it’s been when they force turnovers and been able to slow down the running game a little bit. I mean, they forced three turnovers against Tennessee. One of them was a Hail Mary pass at the beginning of the half. They won the turnover battle there and still lost the game. It was because there would be times when they would just do very well on 1st and 2nd down, but then they’d give up a 3rd and long and couldn’t get off the field. Then they had a really poor 1st quarter where they gave up two touchdowns to Tennessee and that was probably the difference in that game.

They’ve just been so inconsistent. Florida, we all know they’re not an offensive juggernaut at this point. South Carolina’s going to have to take advantage of that and try to limit them. Offensively it’s about being consistent. They’ve shown flashes of being able to move the ball in the passing game, being creative, of running the ball in some creative ways. They viewed a new package last week against Tennessee where they moved Jonathan Walton, the high school running back/linebacker, and a guy who’s only played linebacker at South Carolina, they trotted him out there as a running back and had a couple passes on for him. He caught a touchdown pass. They showed creativity.

That to me is going to be the biggest challenge. Moving the ball against this Florida defense, and I know they may be a little bit, from what I understand, undermanned in this game. It’s still a very talented defense. That to me is going to be the biggest thing. Not getting into 3rd and long. Not turning the ball over multiple times. That’s going to be a really big challenge. I think it’s going to be a close game. I really do. I don’t see a lot of points in this ballgame at the end of the day. I think it could resemble the game that South Carolina and Florida had against Vanderbilt. Both those teams played Vanderbilt close. They played them ugly. I think points are going to be at a premium if I had to guess.

Nick:                         To me really a point of contention with Florida’s offense, you hit the nail on the head. Florida is no offensive juggernaut. Really struggling running the ball, outside of a few game. They had a very good game against Georgia running the ball. Then last week nothing going on on the ground. South Carolina is giving up over 200 yards on the ground, but the way that Florida’s offense looks teams right now see on film Florida struggling to run the ball, and Treon Harris is struggling to complete passes accurately. If we can take Florida’s running game out, is that the approach? Let’s make Treon Harris beat us with his arm.

Chris:                       I think it’s got to be. You look at what gives you the best shot going into the game, and I think if I had to guess that’d be South Carolina’s game plan is looking at that and saying, you’ve got to make Treon a passer. Whether that’s not letting him scramble and containing that run game, because like you said, Florida’s been inconsistent running the ball, but they have shown that they’re capable. With the way that South Carolina struggled against the run at times this year, Florida could look like a very good running team if South Carolina doesn’t play it well. I think that is it. Florida’s got some threats in the passing game. Antonio Callaway has been one of my favorite players to watch in the SEC this year. He’s capable. Treon can deliver the ball. He’s shown, not been consistent, like you said, but I think that’s got to be the game plan.

It’s just a question of which South Carolina defense shows up. You look at, for example, their season opener against North Carolina, they only gave up 13 points. North Carolina rolled up yards in that game, but they got three turnovers. Vanderbilt had some big plays, but South Carolina limited them to a touchdown and forced five turnovers. The Tennessee game is the biggest one to me. They gave up, I think in the 1st quarter it was almost 150 yards rushing. The rest of the game from quarters 2-4 they gave up less than 40 rushing yards the entire game. That’s with Jalen Herd and Alvin Kamara and Josh Dobbs out there, three guys that can really run the football. They’ve shown all year. The problem in the 2nd quarter through the 4th quarter in that game is just giving up some 3rd and longs, but they played a lot better.

I just think it’s a question of which team shows up. Can they get that consistency stopping a run? Certainly the wise plan would probably be to devote a lot of bodies forward and try to get Florida into 3rd and long, because that gives you the best shot.

Andrew:                 Going to offense, you said that the game plan has turned around. Everyone knows you’ve got to stop Cooper, Pharoh Cooper.

Nick:                         As Coach Spurrier would say, Fay-ro.

Andrew:                 It’s Pharoh. However you say it.

Nick:                         It’s Pharoh, but Spurrier’s got his own way of pronouncing it.

Andrew:                 However you say it, I guess has the game plan for him changed any? Is Elliott getting him the ball in different ways? What’s kind of been his role since Elliott took over?

Chris:                       A lot of people wondered that going into this season, especially with the questions at quarterback. People wondered, Pharoh Cooper I think is probably going to play a lot more quarterback, but that really hasn’t happened. He hasn’t taken many snaps from the quarterback positions at all in terms of direct snaps. They still move him around. He’s a slot receiver, typically, but they have certain packages where he’s playing as an outside receiver. There are times when they motion him in the back field, and they’ll hand the ball off to him.

They’ve had him and Lorenzo Nunez on the field at the same time. They’ve put Nunez either out at wide receiver or into the back field at times as well. They’ve just gotten a lot more creative with their formations and how they’re getting various people the ball. As far as Cooper they’ll motion him back there, let him carry it on sort of some option style running plays. They’ve gotten him the ball in some jet sweep type stuff. They’ll throw a variety of patterns to him. He can do a lot of different things, and they can move him around to try to get some matchups. He didn’t have a very big game at Texas A&M, didn’t have a lot of touches in that game. They still had a pretty good offensive performance, scored 28 points in that game on the road against an A&M defense that’s pretty good.

I think they’ve gotten more out of what they had. This isn’t a team that’s just brimming with tackle breakers and speed guys on offense. They just don’t have that. They’ve been able to, I think, put together some better performances on offense based on what they have, and just put guys in better position. Going with the two back set, putting Walton in in a two back set, like I discussed, moving Cooper around, putting Nunez on the field in some different spots. They’ve done some different things that I think have really helped the offense. That said, they’ve still been, like I said, inconsistent. You still look back at all the games and say they could have done more offensively. Maybe the outcome of the games would be different, but really I think the defense is the area of this team that’s really going to have to get better for them to be able to make a run.

Nick:                         I think you and I and Andrew all agree it’s probably going to be a low scoring game. The smart people who build those gigantic desert castles out in Las Vegas also think it’s going to be a low scoring game. They’ve got Florida as an 8.5 point favorite. How do you see this game going prediction wise? Can South Carolina win? Can they cover that 8.5 point spread? How do you see this game going?

Chris:                       I don’t think my pick will be a popular one. I don’t think a lot of people would share my pick. Just to get some background. I picked South Carolina to lose several games this year. I picked them to lose the A&M game, the Tennessee game, the LSU game, and the Georgia game. Then I picked them to win against Kentucky, and then one point at Missouri, and they dropped both those games. I don’t think anybody really saw them losing to Kentucky earlier in the season. I’ve tried to be as fair as possible about the picks. I’m going to sort of go out on a limb and actually pick the Gamecocks in this one by 2, 16-14.

Like I said, I think it’s going to be an ugly game. I think we might see a lot of turnovers, just not a lot of offense. Nothing would surprise me. I think an 8.5 point spread you couldn’t call that unfair, given what both teams have done. I think it’s an interesting spread, because a lot of people I think two, three weeks ago would pick Florida to really roll over South Carolina, but Florida didn’t have a huge game last week in terms of their performance, and then South Carolina, while they’ve lost the past two weeks they seemed a little resolved. They’ve shown some improvement a little, especially on offense. Then you factor in Florida’s got some key guys banged up. It wouldn’t surprise me either way. I’m not confident in that pick at all, but I think at home with South Carolina improving a little bit. I’m just going to pick them to squeak one out.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Chris, tell everybody real quick how they can follow you, get your news, and for Saturday.

Chris:                       We’re at GamecockCentral.com, football, recruiting, all that stuff. We’re on Twitter @GamecockCentral. I’m on Twitter @GCChrisClark.

Andrew:                 Chris, we appreciate you taking time on your busy day. Congrats on your big news, and we will talk to you soon, man.

Chris:                       Thanks a lot for having me.

Andrew:                 You got it.

Nick:                         Thank you.

Andrew:                 That was good stuff from Chris. He went out on a limb. He picked the Gamecocks.

Nick:                         I know you’re probably going to pick South Carolina on our prediction podcast, because you’ve been picking against Florida all year long.

Andrew:                 I have.

Nick:                         I don’t think it’s crazy outrageous. I haven’t made my mind up.

Andrew:                 No chance in hell.

Nick:                         I haven’t made my mind up on who I’ll be picking. It’s not crazy to think. Now I don’t think Florida will turn the ball over a lot. What Jim McElwain and this coaching staff has really been able to do is we had a problem tackling against Tennessee, you’ve never seen that again. We had a problem defending the pass against LSU. Not the last two weeks. There was a fumble problem, and one interception, but the interception was fine. The interception was an arm punt, but the fumbling problem, I remember I had a friend on the football team when Urban Meyer was here. If you fumbled in a football game you had to carry a football in either arm, and you’d run five yards, drop, back to the goal line. 10 yards, drop to the ground, back to the goal line. You did suicides 100 yards with two footballs under your arms, and you weren’t fumbling. Jim McElwain will put that emphasis on ball security this week, and I don’t think you get the turnovers.

I really am interested to see if Florida can run the ball. South Carolina giving up over 200 yards a game, that’s second worst in the SEC as far as run defense. Brandon Wilds is a very good senior experienced running back for South Carolina, but Florida that run defense, what can they do? They’ve been stout all year long, but if you’re missing Joey Ivie, Jon Bullard, Jordan Sherit for a half, now you’re getting guys not fresh anymore. Florida’s rotating about 11 guys on the defensive line this year. That keeps them fresh throughout the game, and that’s going to help you in the 3rd quarter, in the 4th quarter. Now you’re going to have fresh guys, just because you’re missing some people. That rotation’s not going to be as deep. How does that affect Florida against a good running back in Brandon Wilds?

Andrew:                 Stop smoking, Nick. It’s bad for your health. It’s bad for your brain. Stop. It is crazy. Florida’s not turning the ball over. In my opinion, usually it’s good, sometimes it’s awful, just depending on what day of the week it is. Today’s Tuesday, you’re going to listen to this on Wednesday on GatorCountry.com. I’m going to say that Florida comes out with a good game plan and Florida puts points on the board this week. I think that that is going to be something Mac hits home with this week. He’s not happy. You could tell he wasn’t happy about that. Also, let’s face it. This South Carolina defense ain’t Vandy’s defense. You and I both will say Vandy’s defense was fast as crap. That’s exactly what this defense is not for South Carolina.

Nick:                         Skai Moore is. Skai Moore is one of the best linebackers.

Andrew:                 Right, but he is a…

Nick:                         In the SEC. Don’t ask Will Muschamp about that, because he would have told you differently, but Skai Moore’s one of the best linebackers in the league.

Andrew:                 He has Morrison’s problem in pass coverage.

Nick:                         That’s true.

Andrew:                 If Florida can move Kelvin Taylor out, move a Goolsby out to have a one on one matchup, that’s where you want to go. That’s all, that’s most linebackers in the country, outside of a few. Reggie Ragland at Alabama being one of the select few that you don’t want to mess with. That’s most of them. As far as a defense in general, you don’t have Jadeveon Clowney. You don’t have the elite cornerbacks that they do. Let’s remember, this DB secondary of South Carolina is not very good.

Nick:                         Yeah. No. Skai Moore leads the team in tackles for loss.

Andrew:                 He leads the SEC, doesn’t he? I believe so.

Nick:                         No. He only has 6.5.

Andrew:                 Tackles period? I believe he leads the SEC in tackles as well. If not he’s one of the top guys. He was leading it a couple weeks ago.

Nick:                         I don’t think so. No. Kentrell Brothers at Missouri already has 117, and then Jonathan Ford at Auburn has 96. Then Skai Moore is third with 89.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         89 tackles. He is a great player. In the secondary there are some issues there. It’s tough. I liked Chris Lammons as a prospect, but he kind of gets picked on a little bit. Jordan Diggs gets picked on a little bit. Isaiah Johnson gets picked on. All of the DBs get picked on a little bit at South Carolina. That’s what it’s going to be for Florida. Until Treon Harris torches a defense and Florida puts that on film, teams are going to sell against the run, because what happens? Florida runs the ball effectively, dominates Georgia. At no point in that game, even when Georgia got down to the red zone and had the possibility of making it a close game, at no point against Georgia if you were a Florida fan did you feel did you feel like this game’s getting out of control for us. Georgia might come back. You stop the run, Vanderbilt stuffs the run, 9-7 game. LSU stuffed the run, close game. If Florida runs the ball effectively, this is what they’ve shown on film, if Florida runs the ball effectively they can dominate you, especially with the way that defense play.

Andrew:                 Let me give you one stat real quick. South Carolina’s giving up 5.24 yards per carry. That’s not good.

Nick:                         That’s a lot of yards.

Andrew:                 That is also against a team like A&M who doesn’t run the ball a lot, would rather throw the ball.

Nick:                         They played Kyler Murray who…

Andrew:                 Right. He is more of a runner, but he still wants to throw the ball.

Nick:                         He picked up a lot of rushing yards on his own versus them.

Andrew:                 I’m just saying they’re giving up 27 points a game. I’m just saying that this is not a defense that is good, and then my thing is put away the defense to South Carolina. Where are they getting points on offense?

Nick:                         I don’t know. Let me real quick, Kyler Murray ran for 156 yards on his own on 20 carries against South Carolina.

Andrew:                 Right. That makes my point. That’s what I’m saying. A&M doesn’t like to run the ball, and they still ran the ball. A&M would much rather throw the ball, but they rushed the ball well against a Carolina defense, because that’s their weakness.

Nick:                         No. Kyler Murray is a Johnny Manziel type of playmaker with his legs. The quarterbacks that they’d used before in the season weren’t that mix. I’m saying it’s not like Texas A&M said, we’re going to scrap it, and we’re going to get in the I formation.

Andrew:                 No.

Nick:                         They had a very athletic quarterback that totaled almost 160 yards on his own from scrambling and some design things like that. Kyle Allen is a great quarterback. He’s not a threat to run in the way that Kyler Murray is.

Andrew:                 We’re on the same page. I was just saying that A&M, if you break down A&M’s games, A&M usually throws the ball for more than they rush the ball. In that game it was pretty close, because of Carolina’s rush defense being as bad as it was.

Nick:                         Right. Back to your question. Where does South Carolina’s points come from? Right now Florida is first in the SEC, I think third in the country or fourth in the country, giving up just 14.6 points per game. Put that into perspective. Last year Ole Miss led the SEC. They gave up 16 points per game. Florida’s defense right now is playing out of their mind, and I honestly don’t know. By the way, Florida’s 14.6 points per game right now would have led the country last year in scoring defense. South Carolina’s struggling to score points. I don’t know where the points come from. I called a shutout last week against Vanderbilt, and outside of one 74 yard run where the ref threw a pretty nice pick on Keanu Neal Florida would have gotten that shutout.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You’re right. The thing for this is Pharoh Cooper is the guy. If you let him loose, he will hurt you. You look at the guys that Florida has played this year that have been…

Nick:                         Pharoh Cooper has 30 more receptions than the next leading pass catcher, and that’s a tight end. The third is Brandon Wilds, a running back. Pharoh Cooper has 48 receptions. The next closest wide receiver on the team is a freshman, DJ Neal, and he has 7.

Andrew:                 That’s what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you look at Laquon Treadwell, Florida had a game plan to stop him. You look at the big receivers that Florida’s went up against. They found ways to go against that. Don’t think that’s going to be any different this week when Florida goes up against Cooper. They’re going to know who they must stop in this ballgame to win the game, and that’s Pharoh Cooper. I don’t think that this will be a game where Pharoh Cooper dominates. That’s kind of where I’m at. We’re getting way ahead of ourselves. This is way too early in the week. We’ll have all of this breaking down on Friday. We’ll have basketball coverage the rest of the week. You guys are in for a good treat as basketball team starts on Friday against Navy on the road. Mike White’s team, we’ll see how good they are. Recruiting still going. Hope you guys like the recruiting with Lamical Perine and Mark Thompson. Let us know who you want on the podcast for next week, because Nick and I’ll be bringing the heat as always.

Nick:                         I always bring the heat, even when you don’t.

Andrew:                 I don’t know about all that.

Nick:                         There’s no days off.

Andrew:                 I don’t know about all that. We’ll see about you and your heat. My ratings probably are in the dumpster after you came on my show last night.

Nick:                         I killed it last night. Also thanks to Mark and Lamical for joining us. As always, you know the drill. Here we go. My spiel, @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter. NickdelaTorre on Instagram. TheGatorCountry on Instagram. @GatorCountry on Twitter. @AndrewSpiveyGC, just past 8,000 followers. I need to catch him. If you are listening, unfollow him and follow me.

Andrew:                 That’s rude. Thanks to Chris Clark, as always. He’s about to have his wife is actually about to have their second baby. He was doing you and I a very good solid coming on, but a great friend of mine from my Rivals time. Good follow. I usually don’t support the competitors, but he’s a good dude. South Carolina is his team. Loves Steve Spurrier. As always, follow us on Twitter. Check us out on GatorCountry.com. My man, Nick, has been bringing the heat all year, and don’t expect that to change. As always, Mark, Butch, you know the drill. You suck. As always, go Braves.

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Florida Gators ranked No. 11 in College Football Playoff poll

The Florida Gators are ranked XXX in the new college football playoff poll released today.

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