Coaches: Game evolves past Spurrier angle

By ANTONYA ENGLISH, Times Staff Writer
Published November 5, 2007

GAINESVILLE - Two years ago when South Carolina and Florida met, the primary focus was on Steve Spurrier coaching against his former team and new UF coach Urban Meyer. Last season, it was about Spurrier returning to Gainesville for the first time as an opposing coach.

Both think the game has evolved beyond the two coaches.

"Yeah, I think it has," Spurrier said Sunday. "I know I was certainly hoping, and I'm sure Florida was hoping that this game might decide the Eastern Division about three weeks ago. But we've gone into a tailspin and Florida lost to Georgia. But I think it's just South Carolina vs. Florida now."

South Carolina 6-4, 3-4 SEC has lost three straight and is out of the East race, but No. 17 Florida (6-3, 4-3) remains mathematically in the hunt in its final conference game.

"I think it's about competing for the championship of the SEC East," Meyer said. "We're beyond that (Spurrier vs. Meyer) here as a team and a coaching staff."

SAVING TEBOW: After being sacked six times against Georgia two weeks ago, quarterback Tim Tebow didn't go down Saturday, a tremendous help to his bruised right (nonthrowing) shoulder.

"I called him late last night," Meyer said. "I caught him late and, once again, Tim's not the most honest guy when it comes to dealing with an injury. He's defensive about it: 'I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine.' And he said, 'I didn't feel it. I didn't get hit one time on the shoulder.' He made a comment to me that now this week he thinks it's going to be as close to 100 percent as it's been because he didn't get hit one time."

INGRAM'S INJURY: If you're wondering why in the midst of that offensive barrage against Vanderbilt you didn't see much of tight end Cornelius Ingram, it's because he's hurt. "He sprained his ankle against Georgia and didn't practice really all week," Meyer said. "He played okay. I don't know statistically if he even touched the ball, but he was hurt all week."

STATUS UNCERTAIN: For the second straight week, running back Chevon Walker and safety Jamar Hornsby did not dress because of off-the-field issues. Meyer said the redshirt freshmen may not return this season. "There's a chance they may be (done), there's a chance they'll be back," he said.

LAST WORD: "Obviously it was a mismatch. Looked like a Division III team trying to play an SEC team. Maybe a Division III team could have slowed them down a little bit better than we could. They ran right through us." - Spurrier on Saturday's loss to Arkansas in which Darren McFadden tied an SEC record with 321 rushing yards (film review took away 2 of his yards Sunday). South Carolina is 104th nationally in rushing defense, giving up 206 yards per game.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.