COLUMBIA -- Steve Spurrier was again busy deflecting his personal connection to this week's meeting between his past and present -- Florida and South Carolina -- for the SEC East title when he stopped himself.
Sometimes the Ball Coach just can't help himself.
"They do have my name up there, though," Spurrier said at his Tuesday news conference.
The 1966 Heisman winner and coach of the 1996 national championship team was one of four inclusions in the Florida Ring of Honor's inaugural class. He went back for the ceremony in 2006, even as a coach at USC.
"Some of our freshmen will go in there (Saturday) and say, 'Did coach play ball here?' " Spurrier said, inducing laughter. "I'm serious. They may not have known that I played there or coached there."
The storyline of Spurrier's return to Florida is probably a little tired.
"That's been too long ago. It really has," Spurrier said. "We already hashed that out about six years ago, five years ago."
But this year's version, his third time taking USC to the Swamp, is glaringly different. There's something on the line.
With a win, South Carolina will play in the SEC title game for the first time.
"We haven't been in this position until this year," Spurrier said. "So, we'll see what we can do."
Both teams enter the game, a 7:21 p.m. kickoff on ESPN, at 6-3 and 4-3 in the SEC's East Division.
It's interesting to look through Florida's lens at this game. The faithful have sort of gotten used to Spurrier's return.
Additionally, before and after the Ball Coach, the Gators have gotten accustomed to winning the SEC East. Florida has won 10 of the 18 division titles since the 1992 expansion.
In short, Florida expects to win Saturday, a thought propelled by the two teams' results Saturday -- the Gators' demolition of Vanderbilt and South Carolina being handled by Arkansas.
Gators coach Urban Meyer began immediately trying to build up fans' steam for the "division championship game."
Sunday, on his TV show, he implored fans to wear blue, head to toe, and to be "out of control."
Over the years, Meyer has mentioned his respect for Spurrier and what he did at Florida.
And some of Meyer's current players do recognize Spurrier's legacy in Gainesville -- which includes seven East titles and five outright SEC titles -- even a decade or so after he left.
"Personally, I love coach Spurrier," Gators center Mike Pouncey said. "He's one of the only head coaches that I wait for that I really like meeting after the games. I try to meet him after every game just because of his history here at Florida. He's a great coach and he's a great guy."
Spurrier has repeatedly said that this game isn't about him.
"This is about South Carolina trying to do something, not me personally," he said on Sunday.
But, rest assured, there's something additional to it, although he would only let it out if the Gamecocks were to win. Spurrier has repeatedly said he pulls for his alma mater when his current team isn't involved.
Well, at least one South Carolina freshman will know that Spurrier once played and coached at Florida.
"He relates back to (Florida) sometimes," USC running back Marcus Lattimore said. "He had a good quarterback, Danny Wuerffel. He talks about him all the time, that he was a good leader. He won the SEC there. He knows what it takes. He's got to relate back to that, so we can get to that level."
Spurrier was that CB C.C. Whitlock (concussion), LT Jarriel King (concussion), C T.J. Johnson (knee) and QB Connor Shaw would be healthy enough to play Saturday at Florida.
Spurrier echoed secondary coach Lorenzo Ward in saying, though, that walk-on Marty Markett might get the start over Whitlock, based on performance.
Lattimore (knee) said he ran OK during conditioning drills Monday. He expects to be 100 percent by Saturday. He said he intends to take all his reps in practice.
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