The Kentucky Wildcats Football team is 3-0 and coming off a win over South Carolina 23-13.
The Gator defense will have to face the two main threats that led the Wildcats to that exact victory. Kentucky Wildcat Quarterback Stephen Johnson has thrown for over 560 yards on the season and is the team’s second leading rusher. Kentucky Wildcat Benny Snell, Jr., meanwhile leads the team with 272 rush yards and three rush touchdowns.
Because Kentucky will be looking to run the ball, it’ll be crucial for Florida to tackle well, especially in the open space.
Tennessee Volunteer running back John Kelly rushed for 141 rush yards against Florida.
The Florida Gators will have to a better job at tackling and wrapping a guy up.
“We had great pursuit to the ball… it was more of when you’re coming up on a guy, we need to square him up and wrap up and make sure we get him to the ground,” senior safety Nick Washington said.
That’s something that’s been hammered home to the Florida Gators this week in practice.
[photo is from gridiron]
Cornerback C.J. Henderson's former head coach said he is happy for Henderson.
“I’m happy for him because he is getting on the field as a freshman,” Columbus head coach Chris Merritt said. “He’s getting on the field in critical situations, and a couple of times the quarterback has hit him in the chest with the ball and he has done with it what he needs to do with it afterward – and that’s get it in the end zone.”
Chris Merritt is not surprised by the early success C.J. Henderson has achieved.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach some kids that have been drafted,” Chris Merritt said, “whether it was Pat Lee who was an All-SEC corner at Auburn, or Deon Bush who is with the Bears right now. Athletically, C.J. is right there in the mix with those guys.
Chris Merritt said C.J. Henderson picks them up and puts them down.
“He’s got the length, he’s got the speed and he picks them up and puts them down. He’s got himself in a prime spot right now, if he continues to develop, to be very successful.”
C.J. Henderson was part of a terrific secondary at Columbus in 2016.
“C.J. was part of a secondary here last year that was special,” Chris Merritt said.
[photo is from gator country]
The Florida Gators offense was horrific against the Tennessee Volunteers and was not consistent by any means But there was one shining light despite all the gloom.
Florida Gators freshman Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney was marvelous, showing playmaking ability and lateral quickness.
Florida Gators Freshman Receiver Kadarius Toney used his elusiveness and speed which allowed him to earn 40 receiving yards on just 4 touches.
The Florida Gators gained at least one first down on every possession where receiver Kadarius Toney had a touch. This is huge for Florida football head coach Jim McElwain and his staff who are searching for answers on the offense.
Florida Gators True Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Feleipe Franks threw the ball to Receiver Kadarius Toney a total of 8 times and Toney caught 5 of them.
The Gators coaches found an explosive playmaker in Kadarius Toney.
[photo is from gator country]
Here’s a closer look at the Florida Gators’ full 2018 Football schedule
Charleston Southern, Gainesville, Sept. 1
Kentucky, Gainesville, Sept. 8
Colorado State, Gainesville, Sept. 15
Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 22
Mississippi State, Starkville, Miss., Sept 29
LSU, Gainesville, Oct. 6
Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 13
Georgia, Jacksonville, Oct. 27
Missouri, Gainesville, Nov. 3
South Carolina, Gainesville, Nov. 10
Idaho, Gainesville, Nov. 17
Florida State, Tallahassee, Nov. 24
[photo is from gatorvhatter]
Florida offensive guard Tyler Jordan said he is noticing some change in Florida's offensive line.
Florida offensive guard Tyler Jordan said the offensive line wanted to show the world they could run.
“We took a step this weekend of being able to show the world that we can run the ball,” said Tyler Jordan, “We have to keep doing that week after week.”
The Florida Gators only rushed for a total of 11 yards against Michigan in the season opener. The Gators ran for a total of 168 yards against Tennessee, I think it shows Florida has improved a little up front but Michigan is a better team than Tennessee.
Florida offensive guard Tyler Jordan said the biggest problem in the beginning of the season was the offensive line's lack of communication but that has changed.
“You look back at the film and nobody really got beat. It was just that we didn’t communicate the play right,” Jordan said. “We did a lot better job of that this weekend.”
[photo is from scout]
Florida Gators cornerback Duke Dawson practiced with the Gators Tuesday but was limited as he is trying to recover from a concussion he obtained against Tennessee.
Florida Cornerback Duke Dawson did not participate in contact drills.
Florida Gator football head coach Jim McElwain said Duke Dawson is "highly questionable" to play against Kentucky but Duke Dawson tweeted that he is fine and expects to play against the Wildcats.
"The concussion protocol that everything goes through, that's something that every program has," Florida football head coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday. "We'll see. We'll follow it to the T, just like we always have."
Jim McElwain also said linebacker Kylan Johnson remains doubtful to play against Kentucky due to a hamstring injury.
Kylan Johnson missed practice Tuesday but did his rehab Tuesday morning.
Florida football head coach Jim McElwain said he will provide another update on Johnson after his Wednesday Practice.
[photo is from Grid iron]
If Kentucky Football Head Coach Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats want any form of respect in the nation and the SEC, they will have to end the losing streak against Florida.
Last time Kentucky beat Florida was back in 1986.
“That’s probably like their Super Bowl, you know what I’m saying,” Freddie Swain said, considering the weight of the streak from the other side. “If I lost to a team that long, I mean, I’d try to win too. I mean that would be a big win.”
This is a huge game for the Florida Gators as well, becoming the first Florida team in more than three decades to lose to Kentucky would not feel too good.
Florida senior safety Nick Washington said the current streak is not a focus for the team, however.
“We treat every game as the most important game of the season. We’ve gone on a streak for a really long time, but that’s not the focus this week,” he said. “The focus is we play Kentucky this week so that’s the biggest game (of the moment).
Want respect? have to beat Florida.
[photo is from getty images]
Whenever you talk about the Florida-Kentucky football game, you have to talk about the streak.
The Florida Gators football program currently has a 30-game winning streak over the Kentucky Wildcats, which is now the fourth-longest in college football history and is the longest active winning streak by one team over another in an uninterrupted annual series.
Florida Gator football head coach Jim McElwain said the 30 game winning streak doesn't matter Saturday because the streak sits at 0-0.
“I’ll let you guys talk about it,” coach Jim McElwain said Monday. “Every year it’s different. You’ve got two different teams playing, so right now it’s 0-0.”
In this case, a potentially very different Kentucky team."
Last season, the Gators beat the Wildcats 45-7 at Ben Hill Griffin stadium.
The Kentucky Wildcats rank 3rd in run defense and 8th in fumbles, they also rank 107th in passing defense giving up 288.7 passing rads per game.
Florida football head coach Jim McElwain likes what Kentucky Wildcats football head coach Mark Stoops has done with the football program.
“They’re playing the way he wants it played. I think they’ve done an outstanding job of fitting those pieces,” Jim McElwain said. “They’ve got big, long corners that can really disrupt you on the outside. They’ve got some, what I’ve noticed is they’ve really increased their size on the inside. And you alluded to it, nobody’s running the football on them. Then when you’re not running it, it makes you one-dimensional. So I think that’s a credit to what he and his staff have been able to do."
Jim McElwain said Kentucky's football program has a come long way.
“They’ve done some really good things there as a program emphasizing football. They’ve really given him some good things there to recruit to and obviously he’s done a heck of a job. I’ve seen it come a long ways. I mean, like you said, when I look all the way back this is a totally different Kentucky football team.”
Biggest play-makers on offense for the Kentucky Wildcats is running back Benny Snell who rushed for 1,091 in 2016 and quarterback Stephen Johnson who passed for 569 yards in three games with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
[photo is from al.com]
The Florida Gators rushing offense rank just 117th nationally, averaging just 89.5 yards per game.
Let's just get straight to the point, the Florida Gators aren't getting it done up front.
Florida Gator Football Head Coach Jim McElwain identified one of the issues in the run game on Saturday.
Basically, Florida's Offensive Linemen weren't holding their blocks on defensive linemen long enough before trying to go block a Tennessee linebacker. This would allow a Tennessee defensive lineman to make a tackle on a Florida running back before he even got a chance to get past the line of scrimmage.
"We were getting off to go get them too soon. Part of it was some Mike (linebacker) ID issues that need to be corrected, all right? Where we make the proper run check and don’t ID it correctly, which in turn gets you (in trouble)."
Kentucky runs a 3-4 scheme.
The linemen in Kentucky's system will be looking more to hold up and occupy double-teams, leaving them free to make plays and that will force Florida to win their one on one.
[photo is from
We all know the finish to the Tennessee-Florida football game was amazing, a play we will all remember for a long time.
Now it's a new week and a new game to prepare for, Florida has to start preparing for the Kentucky Wildcats.
The Florida Gators redshirt freshmen quarterback Feleipe Franks received a lot of love for his throw that went over 60 yards to the end zone and eventually fell into the hands of Florida wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland.
Now Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks and the Gators are trying to prepare for the Kentucky Wildcats and to move on from Tennessee.
“You want to keep a level head. Especially at the quarterback position, you never want to be too high or too low if things aren’t going your way because that’s part of the game,” Feleipe Franks said. “But definitely off a big win like that, we enjoyed it Saturday and Sunday and now it’s back on Monday and we’ve got to prepare for Kentucky. We’ve got to beat them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, so we can have fun on Saturday. I think we enjoyed the win. It’s over now and we’re going to prepare for next week.”
Time to move on.
[photo is from alligator army]
Justin Stinson is a blogger who covers the Florida Gators, he mainly covers Football and basketball. He's also an recruiting analyst and a podcast host on the Gator Touch.