The South Carolina football team will return to Williams-Brice Stadium after its bye week to welcome the Florida Gators into town for each team's third SEC game of 2023.
In his Tuesday press conference, head coach Shane Beamer said the bye week allowed several players on the injury report to make significant progress toward returning. Beamer said redshirt freshman offensive lineman Cason Henry will be out this week, but he expects him back “hopefully by the end of the month,” while redshirt senior offensive lineman Jakai Moore will be back on the field on Saturday.
The return of senior wide receiver Antwane “Juice” Wells Jr. is doubtful, according to Beamer, which marks his third consecutive game missed due to a foot injury he sustained against Georgia.
“The injury is really healing well,” Beamer said. “Certainly don’t want to put Juice out there before he’s ready and don’t want Juice going out there without the right mindset as well.”
On the defensive side, redshirt senior defensive back David Spaulding was a full practice participant, as well as redshirt sophomore defensive lineman T.J. Sanders, who brought home Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week honors earlier this season. Additionally, graduate student edge rusher Drew Tuazama is back with the team after missing the last game for a “personal reason.”
Besides recovery time, the bye week provided the players and coaches with an important opportunity for a mental "reset," according to Beamer. The team practiced Monday to Wednesday last week but took the rest of the week off until late Sunday.
Beamer said that, with no opponent to prepare for at the beginning of the month, the coaching staff was able to re-evaluate personnel and schemes, including how they intend to play more guys on defense. They particularly focused on the linebacker rotation and creating opportunities for more snaps for redshirt senior Bam Martin-Scott and freshman Grayson “Pup” Howard.
Offensively, Beamer addressed the offensive line concerns and said the team spent the bye week looking for the right personnel for the unit.
“It may be an adjustment, but let’s just get the five guys out there and get some continuity,” Beamer said.
The team hasn’t spent any time talking over its previous loss to Tennessee and didn’t get in-depth with the game plan against Florida over the bye week, according to Beamer.
“They’re college students just like everybody else, and they have problems just like everybody else,” Beamer said. “The off-weekend was good for everyone.”
Heading into Saturday’s game against Florida, Beamer said the team is excited to get back into Williams-Brice Stadium after two weeks without a home game. South Carolina has yet to lose after a bye week since Beamer took the reins as head coach, with defiant wins against Florida in 2021 and Texas A&M in 2022.
Beamer said the team will look for a better result than that of last season, when the Gators took a 38-6 victory in Gainesville.
“We’ll have to play really, really well on Saturday,” Beamer said. "But (I) like our team, and I liked the way we've worked today in practice."
South Carolina will host Florida in its second SEC home game of the season on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium at 3:30 p.m. The game will be available to watch on the SEC Network.