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Nov. 11, 2015

The University of South Carolina football team worked out for two hours on Wednesday afternoon at their new Gamecock Park practice fields.

The Gamecocks (3-6, 1-6 SEC) and the No. 11/10 Florida Gators (8-1, 6-1 SEC) are set to kick at noon ET on Saturday, November 14 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. 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.

Offensive coordinator G.A. Mangus knows his unit will be challenged to stay on the field and put points on the board against an excellent Gator defense. “We just try to keep better and do our stuff,” said Mangus. “They’ve got a good defense, a good front. They’re fast. They’ve got a great back seven. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re looking forward to the challenge. I think they have the best back seven that we’ve seen,” noted Mangus.

“They’ve got a good defense and a very good secondary,” echoed wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. “It will be a different matchup for us. We’ll have to find creative ways to get away from (Vernon Hargreaves III). He’s a press guy. He’s an in-your-face guy. A majority of the guys he covers, he’s normally around them when the ball is thrown. We’ve got to find some different ways to move guys to get them off of him when we’re trying to throw the ball his way. But you won’t see us throw a bunch of jump balls over in the corner near him. We’ll stay away from him, but the other guys are pretty good, too. We’ve got to get some quick balls in the air and some sure-fire completions to these guys and give ourselves a chance to get open. There won’t be a lot of balls thrown up in the air in his vicinity.”

The offense knows it will need to take advantage of the scoring opportunities when they are presented on Saturday after letting some slip away last week. “We had a slow start,” admitted Mangus of the performance at Tennessee. “There were some chances by both (Perry Orth) and Lorenzo Nuñez in the first half that we always talk about you never know what play is going to make a difference in the game. Everybody talks about the last play when Jerell (Adams) was trying to make a play and fumbled the ball, but there were plenty of plays that we left points on the board in the first half that we can’t do. We have to get better and learn from that.”

Spurrier Jr. believes the success the Gamecocks had in the second half at Tennessee will carry over this week. “We had a good third quarter,” said Spurrier Jr. “It was fun to move the ball and execute some plays and hit some things and throw some completions. Going forward, we feel like we can move it, throw completions and score in the red zone.”

On the injury front, linebacker Skai Moore (hip) returned to practice. Offensive guard Mike Matulis (rib contusion), cornerback Al Harris Jr. (hip) and defensive tackle Dante Sawyer (shoulder), all wore yellow “no contact” jerseys, but participated in a limited role. Wide receiver D.J. Neal did not practice on Wednesday, but has shown improvement, according to Spurrier Jr.

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