COLUMBIA, S.C. — The story line Saturday for Florida is whether the Gators look more locked-in and focused than they did a week ago at Missouri.
The Gators (3-5, 3-4 SEC) are trying to snap a four-game losing streak and have lost by 35 points and 29 points the last two weeks.
South Carolina (6-3, 4-3) has been on a different trajectory in coach Will Muschamp’s second season.
Muschamp, the former Florida coach, recruited a number of the players still on Florida’s roster, and that will be story line one way or the other after the game.
First, though, some pregame observations:
- Earlier this week, interim coach Randy Shannon said that receiver Kadarius Toney and defensive end Jachai Polite would both be out with shoulder injuries this week. Polite didn’t travel, but Toney is here and went through warmups as both a receiver and punt returner. That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily going to play, but there would at least seem to be a chance. He looks to be moving and catching passes fine.
- Another surprise came with the offensive line in warmups as junior Kavaris Harkless lined up as the first-team left guard with junior Tyler Jordan, the presumed replacement for injured starter Brett Heggie, taking second-team center reps. More likely the two will rotate.
- Redshirt freshman Jeremiah Moon was back with the linebackers after working with the defensive ends in pregame warmups last week. That could be an indication that Jabari Zuniga is closer to 100 percent with his ankle. Without Polite and and Sherit (season-ending shoulder injury), the Gators have just two of their established defensive ends in Zuniga and CeCe Jefferson.
- Receiver Dre Massey received the biggest welcome as the team got off the bus outside Williams-Brice Stadium. Massey, who is from Greenville, S.C., said earlier in the week he expected to have a lot of friends and family in attendance. “It’s a big game for me. I’ve got like 50-plus people coming. It’s going to be a big, big deal.” It’s good timing for his homecoming as Massey is coming off his best game as a Gator (75 yards on 2 catches). If Toney does play, though, that would likely cut into Massey’s opportunities.
- Here’s some video of quarterback Malik Zaire warming up prior to the game. He’s making his second straight start.
— Ryan Young (@RyanYoungSEC) November 11, 2017
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