JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Not only is former Gators coach Will Muschamp returning to the school that fired him just two years ago, but the first-year Gamecocks coach will be in the stadium for Florida's "Senior Day," when most of the players honored will be guys Muschamp recruited to Gainesville.
"It's going to be different," Florida receiver Ahmad Fulwood said. "I haven't had him as a coach for two years, but to actually be playing against him is something different."
The No. 22 Gators (6-2, 4-2) are coming off an ugly 31-10 loss at Arkansas last week.
A win against South Carolina coupled with Kentucky beating Tennessee, would wrap up the SEC East Division title for the Gators. If the Gators falter against the Gamecocks (5-4, 3-4), who have won three in a row, they also could lose control of the division race.
So Muschamp has a chance to spoil his former team's season.
Muschamp has downplayed his return this week, declining to dissect his four years at Florida or offering insight into what it might feel like to be on the visiting sideline.
"I have been there before," he said earlier this year. "Some Gator fans wanted me there when I was there."
Being a visitor in the Swamp probably won't be as daunting as it once was, especially given Florida's mounting injuries.
Austin Appleby will make his third start at quarterback in place of injured Luke Del Rio. But McElwain said he's "not afraid" to play freshman Feleipe Franks. Appleby threw for 440 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception, in his two previous starts.