: Buy a monthly subscription and get the rest of 2020 for FREE using promo code GT2020Florida No. 3 (1-0) will have their first home game of the season on Saturday, welcoming SEC foe East South Carolina (0-1). After losing to Tennessee in their opener, the Gamecocks will be eager to step into the winning column and upset the Gators in The Swamp.
Here are five keys to Saturday’s game.
After a career day for tight end Kyle Pitts with eight catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns, the Gamecocks will be on a mission to try and get him out of the game. They did so successfully in 2019, limiting Pitts to five catches for just 29 yards. It marked a low season for him against SEC opponents.
Based on his off-season development and debut in 2020, Pitts is likely to be more of a shift for South Carolina this time around and could triple his production from a season ago. He also strengthened his ties with quarterback Kyle Trask, who won’t see the rain work against him on Saturday like he did at Columbia last year.
In the previous meeting between these two teams, UF had one of its best racing performances of the season. Jets rookie running back Lamical Perine saw his third-highest rushing total of 2019 with 14 carries for 68 yards, while Dameon Pierce netted a 75-yard touchdown.
The Gators closed their victory 38-27 with 154 rushing yards, which was a season high in conference. If Pierce and Malik Davis can build on an improved offensive line unit and post similar numbers on Saturday, the Gamecocks will struggle to handle the Florida attack.
The history between coaches always makes for an interesting game, and Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and South Carolina offensive coordinator / quarterback coach Mike Bobo will meet each other on Saturday. The two coaches have trained together in Georgia for four seasons and Grantham said this week they know each other very well.
Bobo was UGA quarterback coach from 2001 to 2006, then offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2014, while Grantham served as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach from 2010 to 2013, including associate head coach the last two. years. The two will meet in Gainesville in Bobo’s first season with the Gamecocks.
The Florida high school must show some improvement on Saturday after being embarrassed in the opener against Ole Miss. The Gators’ pass defense had its worst performance under Grantham, allowing Matt Corral to throw for nearly 400 yards and give up 10 receptions to Elijah Moore for an inexcusable 227 yards.
Shi Smith of South Carolina will be hungry for another great game, following his 140-of-10-catching performance against Tennessee. He’s No.1 target for transfer quarterback Colin Hill and the Gators can’t let Smith dominate like Moore did against them. Returning Shawn Davis to safety will help their cause.
The tackle was a huge concern for the Florida defense in Game 1. UF missed more than 20 tackles against the Rebels, allowing Corral to scramble and clinch the first downs. Many college football teams struggled to tackle due to the long layoff, so a bit of neglect was to be expected.
Nonetheless, the Gators got rid of the rust last Saturday and can’t have another performance like this. Cornerback Kaiir Elam said the tackle is all about ‘wanting’ and concluding with the right technique. This has been fixed in practice this week, but only Saturday’s game will tell if the issue has been fixed.