By LARRY VAUGHT
Florida coach Jim McElwain noted Monday that Saturday’s game at Florida will show Gator fans that this is “not the same old Kentucky” that Florida has beat 29 straight times — the nation’s longest win streak. On top of that, the Cats are coming off a 44-35 loss to Southern Miss where they blew a 35-10 lead.
“We’re really looking forward to this week as we move forward to a 3:30 game, national television (CBS) against a team that is hurting little bit. Obviously, they had a 25-point lead, only had the ball 15 (plays) in the second half,” the Florida coach said Monday.
“Kentucky was going up and down the field and stopped themselves a couple times. They’re going to come in here obviously with that mentality where the last time they played in this stadium probably felt they could have won the ballgame.
“You know, a lot of things that go into that, but more importantly for us, opening of SEC play. Earlier than last year, so we have to grow up and grow up soon. Looking forward to that transformation as we go into this ballgame.”
So what is different about UK, which took Florida to overtime two years ago and then had chances to beat the Gators again last year in Lexington before losing.
“These guys are really good,” the Florida coach said Monday. “You can tell the influences (the coaches) have had in three years,” McElwain said.
He also complimented Kentucky on its commitment to upgrading facilities.
“Each year they get just a little bit better and you can see how opportunistic they are on defense. They’re a team that led the SEC a year ago defensively as far as scoring touchdowns and they haven’t let off this year,” the Florida coach said.
Then the coach pointed out a few things that makes one wonder how much he really knew about the Wildcats.
He talked about quarterback Drew Barker being an “experience guy” despite having made just three starts now. He talked about how UK used “three legitimate backs” even though Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp were UK’s backs last week. He also said UK has a new coordinator in Eddie Gran, but the same “system tree.” Pretty sure Gran would not agree with that.
“The different personnel groupings that they play cause you issues. Everything has a run-pass option. You can see the quarterback has a real command on what he’s doing and his numbers in efficiency show that, especially after you see what he did last week,” McElwain said. “Up front, they’ve got linemen back that have played in this league and they understand that it takes. So, I look at this as one heck of a challenge for the Gators this week.”