The last time South Carolina ventured to Gainesville to face Florida, its lineup was littered with freshmen.
Quarterback Jake Bentley was the most notable one, but receiver Bryan Edwards and running back Rico Dowdle had their fair share of touches for the Gamecocks, while defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum and linebacker T.J. Brunson logged snaps on the other side of the ball.
That youthful South Carolina team fell 20-7 in The Swamp, though players came away with valuable road experience. During a meeting with the media Tuesday, Bentley broke down the mental progress the Gamecocks have made since that game.
“Just how more mature we are as a team from last time. I think I was talking to Bryan about it. Just how last time, with me, him, Rico and D.J., T.J. — all of us were just so young. We got down, I think, by 10 or 14, and we thought we were down by 50. I just remember that vividly, kind of being on the sideline and the whole mood of the game. No one had positivity. Because we were so young, we just got down on ourselves. But I think that’s the biggest difference this way, the way that guys stay positive and battle back. That’s the biggest thing I remember, just thinking about how much we’ve matured since then.”
Bentley and company are hoping that maturity pays off when South Carolina (5-3, 4-3 SEC) visits the No. 19 Gators (6-3, 4-3) at noon ET on Saturday.