COLUMBIA, S.C. - Wednesday afternoon, athletic director Jeremy Foley and university president Bernie Machen made a somewhat rare decision in releasing a statement defending Florida coach Will Muschamp and his job security.
The sentiment and sign of support was not lost on Muschamp, who was asked about the statement Saturday night.
"I'm very appreciative of Jeremy and Dr. Machen. Thank goodness I have two guys who see the big picture and understand where we're headed with the program, where we were and in a two-year period what we've accomplished and understand the circumstances we're in right now," Muschamp said. "More than anything, where we're headed. They're in the day-to-day operation. It's rewarding to have a strong athletic director and a strong president that's willing to stand up and fight for what's right. I appreciate that very much."
After a game that sealed Florida's first five-game losing streak since 1979 and made two wins in two final games - one against No. 2 Florida State - necessary to make a bowl game, Gators players continued to stand by their coach as well.
"I just know that he's with us and we're with him," sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., said. "We all we got. We're just going to keep fighting."
-- SUSPENSION --
Florida chalked up its seventh suspension of the season Saturday night. Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson had previously been listed as "day-to-day" with an ankle injury but missed the South Carolina game for other reasons.
The Gators announced during pre-game warm-ups that Roberson had been suspended for a violation of team rules.
"He had an ankle. I don't know if he would have played anyway," Muschamp said. "I'll meet with him Monday."
Florida's previous suspensions this season had been handed out to Darious Cummings, Loucheiz Purifoy, Antonio Morrison, Demarcus Robinson, Latroy Pittman and Quinteze Williams.
-- QUARTERBACK SITUATION --
Skyler Mornhinweg went 10 for 13 for 107 yards and one interception in his collegiate debut. Two hours before the game, junior starter Tyler Murphy was out running through minimal drills with graduate assistant Chris Leak but it appeared the decision had already been made for Mornhinweg to start. Murphy never threw a pass during the brief session.
The plan all night was simple. Run as much as possible and throw as little as possible. After three quarters, Mornhinweg was a perfect 5 of 5, and the Gators had racked up 36 rush attempts.
"We weren't going to put a lot on him as far as asking him to do a bunch of different things," Muschamp said.
Muschamp denied recent rumors that Mornhinweg will definitely be Florida's starter the rest of the way.
"(Murphy) is not out for the season," Muschamp said. "I don't know about this week. He's got a sore shoulder, AC sprain, very similar to what he had before. It's all about time and healing and I don't know yet."
-- FIELD GOAL STRUGGLES CONTINUE --
One week after benching Austin Hardin for senior walk-on Brad Phillips, it was Hardin and walk-on junior Francisco Velez who made the trip to Columbia. Hardin received the nod at kicker but promptly missed his first attempt, a 32-yarder after a 12-play, 61-yard drive that stalled inside the 10.
Hardin is now 4-for-11 on the season.