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<p>T.J. McCoy (59) prepares to snap the ball during Florida's win against South Carolina on Nov. 12, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

T.J. McCoy (59) prepares to snap the ball during Florida's win against South Carolina on Nov. 12, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

T.J. McCoy didn’t have time to think before going in to play against South Carolina on Saturday.

After he saw backup center Tyler Jordan go down with an injury on Florida’s first offensive play, the redshirt freshman put on his helmet and trotted to the huddle for what would turn out to be the first extended playing time of his college football career.

He felt the butterflies but knew there was nothing he could do about it.

The third-string center was now the starter in the heart of Southeastern Conference play.

“I wasn’t really shocked,” McCoy said.

“It was just like, ‘Wow, I’m about to play my first SEC game against a good opponent.’ It was kind of surreal.”

But McCoy — and the rest of Florida’s makeshift offensive line that has been hammered by injuries — didn’t let the moment get too big for him.

Even with three backups taking the majority of the snaps, Florida’s offensive line held its own during its 20-7 win against the Gamecocks, allowing Jordan Scarlett and Co. to rack up 171 rushing yards while only giving up one sack.

“He really saw it as an opportunity to show that he’s not a back-burner-type guy and that he’s dominant and that he knows his calls,” sophomore offensive lineman Fred Johnson said of McCoy.

And with starting center Cam Dillard out, starting left tackle David Sharpe likely out and Jordan a game-time decision, McCoy and the rest of the backups-turned-starters will have another opportunity against LSU on Saturday to show their performance wasn’t a fluke.

“Right now I just have a servant’s attitude,” McCoy said. “Whatever they need me to do, that’s what I’m going to do.”

McCoy grew up learning about Florida’s success from a person who experienced it firsthand.

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His father, Tony McCoy, was a defensive lineman on Florida’s 1991 team — the first Gators team to officially win an SEC title — and was on the sidelines during the game Saturday.

McCoy said his dad, who is recovering from a battle with leukemia, would always tell him about the atmosphere and the energy of playing in The Swamp.

“He didn’t do it justice,” McCoy said.

“It was awesome scoring touchdowns and just being with my teammates and getting a good win.”

But it wasn’t just McCoy who stepped up on the offensive line.

Redshirt sophomore Kavaris Harkless saw extended playing time on Saturday after Sharpe injured his ankle in the first quarter.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pound lineman moved inside and played left guard while usual guard Martez Ivey slipped outside to take over for Sharpe.

And with Jordan having to start the game at center in place of Dillard, Johnson moved back into the starting lineup and played at right guard.

With pieces rotating and experience on the offensive line a concern, quarterback Austin Appleby huddled the group together.

“Come on. We’re good,” Johnson remembered Appleby telling them. “We’re fine. It’s time to go.”

Appleby didn’t skip a beat.

He practiced with them through most of training camp as the No. 2 quarterback.

“Those were my dudes,” Appleby said. “I’m actually more comfortable with them.”

It showed.

Appleby looked poised in the pocket and had ample time to throw the ball. He finished the game with 201 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17-of-21 passing.

“We’ve got so much talent on this team that it doesn’t matter who’s out there,” Appleby said. “If we play to our standard, we’ll be successful.”

Contact Jordan McPherson at and follow him on Twitter @J_McPherson1126.

T.J. McCoy (59) prepares to snap the ball during Florida's win against South Carolina on Nov. 12, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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