Preview: Florida Gators @ Kentucky Wildcats – Saturday, September 24, 2011 – 7:00pm

Later than usual because I was playing the role off plumber this morning as we had a slight sink mishap is the TBG household. All is well, but some choice words were uttered as water that should be going down decided to come back up. After the situation was resolved and everything was put back together, I sat down to begin a preview that should have been up a day or two ago. Better scheduling to come, although I’ve been promising that since sometime around the day TBG started. Oh well, at least I’m consistent. On to the preview…


The Facts

Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats
When: Saturday, September 24, 2011 – 7:00pm
Where: Lexington, KY
Broadcasting: ESPN, ESPN3.com, Gator Radio Network, GatorZone, Sirius 217, XM 200
Records: Florida: 3-0 (1-0), Kentucky: 2-1 (0-0)
Point Spread for Those that Enjoy Betting on Florida Football: Florida -20
Over/Under for Those Mentioned Above: 44
Betting Score That Would Calculate To: Florida 32-12
Scoring Offenses: Florida: 37.7, Kentucky: 19.3
Scoring Defenses: Florida: 8.7; Kentucky: 13.3
Our Gators’ Win Factor (See Here): TBG: 95, OEW: 95

10 Things About Kentucky From Wikipedia

Learn a little something about the school of the opponent. And some football. But mostly the school. And not much football. The school. Got it? For more football, keep scrolling.

1. Kentucky is home to 16 colleges, a graduate school, 93 undergraduate programs, 99 master programs, 66 doctoral programs, and four professional programs. I don’t know what other schools have, but that seems like a lot.
2. The University of Kentucky began as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky and was a part of Kentucky University. Oddly enough, Kentucky University isn’t part of the University of Kentucky today. Instead, it became part of Transylvania University.
3. Lyman T. Johnson became the first African American to attend UK when he was admitted as a graduate student in 1949.
4. Before the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, UK operated 14 community colleges.
5. Kentucky is home to 15 libraries. That – like the various programs – seems like a lot to me, but could be perfectly normal. I can count the times I stepped foot into university libraries on one hand. Then again, I went to school before wireless Internet existed.
6. The Wildcats nickname came about in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1976 that Kentucky would have a costumed mascot.
7. The men’s basketball team was the first ever to reach 1,000 wins. It was also the first to reach 2,000.
8. Among the 28 fraternities present at Kentucky is the Triangle Fraternity. I had never heard of it despite the fact that it has been around since 1907.
9. 91.3 FM WUKY was the first university owned FM radio station in the country.
10. Notable alumnus: Ashley Judd.

When The Gators Have The Ball

What you’re hoping for here is excitement, firepower, and downright dominance. The Florida offense has been good, but hardly great. It’s hard to really complain as we’ve seen improvement in some areas, but others haven’t shown us too much yet. With the October gauntlet looming, it’s time for the Gators to put their foot on the gas pedal and not take it off. It would boost the confidence of the players, coaches, and fans if Florida were to come out and dominate this side of the ball from the first minutes of the game.

Oh John Brantley, you model of efficiency. So maybe that’s a little much, but he’s becoming a game manager of sorts and that’s exactly what many of us predicted. Brantley doesn’t need to light the world on fire. He doesn’t need to be Tim Tebow or Danny Wuerffel. Brantley just needs to be careful. He needs to manage the game and limit mistakes. He did enough in the first three games to help the Gators to wins. You don’t have to like what he’s doing or not doing, but for now it works. As the season continues, Charlie Weis will have to open him up a little more. And he’ll have to work the wide receivers into the offensive game plan. Three receptions for the receivers and tight ends against Tennessee is a problem. It didn’t impact the outcome too much against the Vols, but eventually that lack of production could hurt the Gators. Facing Kentucky is the perfect time for Weis to fix it. Work the receivers into the passing game early and often and give someone…anyone…a chance to shine.

Ah the run game. There’s something we shouldn’t have to worry about. As if Chris Rainey weren’t a weapon already, he is quickly becoming one of the nation’s most dangerous. With Jeff Demps as option 1B, there’s not much to worry about here other than the offensive line giving them room to do what they do. It would be nice to see Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown worked in like they were against UAB, but I’m sure we’ll all be just fine with Rainey and Demps having their way with the Wildcats defense. Clock control is an important aspect of a Weis offense and these two could provide that all night.

When The Wildcats Have The Ball

108, 91, 100. Those numbers are Kentucky’s national rankings in passing yards, rushing yards, and points scored per game. As you can tell by the two triple-digit entries and the other one in the 90s, they aren’t having the best offensive season so far. Therefore, we have a near ideal matchup for the Gators’ defense.

Pressure for the defensive line was present against Tennessee; now it needs to remain so. Dominique Easley, Sharrif Floyd, Jaye Howard and Ronald Powell are tasked with planting Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton into the Lexington turf repeatedly. By getting pressure on their own, the line will leave Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins to control the middle of the defense and not support the blitz if they don’t have to. That pressure can no longer be a question mark heading into upcoming games against Alabama, LSU, etc., etc., etc.

Despite a passing game that ranks 108th in terms of yards per game, Newton has improved each week. He put the ball into the air 41 times last week against Louisville and completed 27. The Wildcats came out on the losing end of the scoreboard, but may be on to something by committing more to the pass. Newton will have to test the Florida secondary and the Gators’ need to be tested. With the exception of two many pass interference calls for an entire season, the secondary – like many other units – is showing us more each week. They appear to be more confident in their abilities, but the penalties need to be cut in…not half…cut out. I won’t even give you the number again, because you already know it, but Florida gave up far too many yards against Tennessee. The score was closer than the game should have been and defensive penalties were a big part of that. Discipline must improve.

Special Teams

Caleb Sturgis is off to a great start to the season, but I wish we saw less of him.

Outcome

Another matchup, another game in which Florida is the favorite. This was expected so we aren’t near the shock point just yet. The Gators need to come out of the gate and put points on the board early. The red zone offense needs to up its efficiency and not settle for field goals. There’s plenty to be excited about, but points are being left on the field. Florida should have little trouble with Kentucky, but we need to see a full 60 minutes. Remember what starts next Saturday.

About The Bull Gator

I like orange and blue things.
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4 Responses to Preview: Florida Gators @ Kentucky Wildcats – Saturday, September 24, 2011 – 7:00pm

  1. V. Money says:

    On the contrary, TBG, I still want to see a lot of Sturgis…but preferably on PATs.

    Also, if you count athletes as notable alumni, the list expands to include former 'Cats such as Pro Football Hall of Famer George Blanda, NBA championship coach and exec Pat Riley, and former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb.

  2. The Bull Gator says:

    Go for two.

  3. V. Money says:

    Even Lane Kiffin winced at that idea.

    Regardless, it's a very positive sign when the team scores above 37 points a game and the coaches still see plenty of room for improvement.

  4. The Bull Gator says:

    Agreed.

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