Florida coach sees UK as “one heck of a challenge”

Florida's defense overpowered UK's offense last year. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Florida’s defense overpowered UK’s offense last year. (Vicky Graff Photo)

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.”

 

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  1. Coach talk, plain and simple. Florida has to be licking their chops! All they have to do is run the football!

  2. Florida was not able to run the ball against UMass, about as poor as UK against USM, 107 yds on 29 carries. Florida passed the ball 44 times against UMass for 256 yds.

    Clearly if Florida is able to have its own way with its running game, the Cats are in big big trouble, but I don’t believe they can pick the UK secondary apart for 256 yards like they did against UMass.

    I look for a much closer game on Saturday. I think Florida should win again, but I don’t think they cover the 16 1/2 point Vegas line, and I believe the Cats enter the game with a punchers chance to get out of there with a W.

    1. Your logic is sound Prof. However, the line backers will have to play much, much better. They were out of position much too often Sat. If we can get solid LB play and the D-line can hold its own, we can win this one. It may be 7 to 6 but we can win it. These players will have to man up through.

    2. Hope you are right Professor

  3. We have been out of position, no penetration into backfield, no push off the ball, poor tackling, no gap protection since Stoops came. Think it might be time for Eliot to get fired up and give a motivational speech to his troops? Good luck with that.

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