South Carolina Three Keys: Florida


South Carolina did exactly what it needed to do against Vanderbilt last week. Not only did Spencer Rattler have an outstanding day, he did so within the confines of the more simplified offensive scheme the Gamecocks had used to great effect in their better performances of the 2022 season.

By Matt Zemek

Rattler completed 16 of his 23 passes for a crisp 186 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn’t asked to do too much, and when that’s the case, Rattler is a better, more efficient quarterback. Now South Carolina is off to Gainesville to play the Florida Gators in the Swamp in a battle for SEC East positioning.

Keep Rattler on a short leash

It’s obvious that the Gamecocks are not going to bench Rattler this year, and that’s fine. Coach Shane Beamer has likely settled on the idea that doing so could hurt the Gamecocks (or Beamer) if they tried to recruit another top transfer. At any rate, Beamer needs to make sure that Rattler isn’t throwing large quantities of passes for the rest of the season, even if things aren’t working out. The measured approach against Vanderbilt has to remain the template for success. It’s one thing to lose a game here and there; it’s another to completely destroy a kid’s confidence by forcing him to be who he isn’t. South Carolina has to remain disciplined with Rattler and not think he can chuck the ball around the yard. The staff has to hold the line, and it shouldn’t be viewed as optional.

Be ready for the weather

It’s hard to know what type of environment the Gamecocks will be facing when they make it to the Swamp. With Hurricane Nicole currently raging, there’s every possibility this game could be very wet and therefore very difficult for the skill players who will be asked to handle the ball. Should that be the case, Beamer needs to have his team ready for any type of environment, even having a game plan for related bad-weather scenarios. If we’re being completely honest, inclement weather might actually help the Gamecocks since they don’t pass as often as other teams and, as we have noted, should not want to be in a position where they have to throw a lot.

Let Anthony Richardson make mistakes

This is not a vintage Florida team. This team needs some recruiting cycles in which to accumulate top talent and is not ready to be an elite 2023 SEC contender. Florida’s primary quarterback, Anthony Richardson, has almost as many interceptions as he does touchdowns. He is also a 55% passer whose best receiver has a modest 471 receiving yards on the year. Not only can South Carolina bulldoze this team; the Gamecocks should be able to force Florida’s offense into turnovers in bad weather and control the way this game is played.

Florida unraveled against Beamer’s Gamecocks last year. Why not make it two in a row?

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