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Nov. 10, 2015

The University of South Carolina football returned to their new practice fields at Gamecock Park on Tuesday afternoon as they began preparations for Saturday’s SEC matchup with the Eastern Division champion Florida Gators.

The Gamecocks (3-6, 1-6 SEC) and No. 11/10 (8-1, 6-1 SEC) will kick at noon ET on Saturday, November 14. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham in the booth and Dr. Jerry Punch serving as the sideline announcer.

The Florida offense will present some unique challenges for the Carolina defense this week. “They run the football,” noted linebackers coach Kirk Botkin. “They’ve got some big boys up front. They’ve got athletes everyone. They do a lot of stuff formation-wise. Just getting lined up is probably the biggest thing. They have a ton of formations and a ton of personnel groupings. That’s always a challenge. And they’re the best team in the East. Anytime you’re jumping those tight ends around it becomes mental gymnastics a little bit on defense.”

Botkin was pleased to see one of his players, Jonathan Walton, have success on the offensive side of the ball against Tennessee. “You’re happy for him,” said Botkin. “You’re excited for him. He’s a good kid and a good player. He’s athletic and you try to find ways to get him on the field. Coach (Shawn) Elliott put him over there and he did a good job.” Botkin noted that with Skai Moore unable to practice today, Walton took more reps at linebacker. “He’d be the starting SAM linebacker right now,” added Botkin.

Several players were held out of practice today including linebacker Skai Moore (hip), offensive guard Mike Matulis (rib contusion), cornerback Al Harris Jr. (shoulder), defensive tackle Dante Sawyer (shoulder), wide receiver D.J. Neal (hip) and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (chest).

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Wednesday afternoon.