When looking towards the game this week against the Gators one stat continues to stick out–rushing yards. One of the hardest things to do in college football is to stay honest in terms of running a balanced offense. While the passing game is where games are won, you have to establish the run early. This Florida team becomes balanced more with speed than they do with strength, like most teams do. The speed at linemen to every athlete on the team seems to be overwhelming on tape. In the games so far we see that this Florida team is averaging 199.7 rushing yards per game, and averaging 203.7 through the air. This is what a head coach dreams of. This is averaging 403.4 total yards a game, which is telling because if you average 400 yards or more per game you should expect to average 28 points. The Gators average 23.7. While this statistic is not spot on it is above 21, which means they are close enough to being on the mark.
So now after absorbing all of those numbers what do they mean to us, the fans? Well we have to force Florida to rely on the rush this week. While their rush game is very good and averaging good numbers, we cannot let Murphy become comfortable in the pocket. We need our defense to step up and make plays early to rattle him. Whether that is an interception (which we do not have this season) or a monster sack, Murphy has to be off of his game. This allows our defensive line to stack the box and allows us to focus on their monster run game. While this is something that is easier said than done, it has to be the game plan.
Last week we played a great half against that team down the road, but this week we have to put two halves together. The run game this week will tell the tale of the winner. The ground battle this week means that one or both of the passing games is struggling. Time and time again we have seen a quarterback come in after an injury and flourish. The reason why is because the other team did not prepare for the quarterback that moved in to the starting role. This UK defense has now had a week to prepare for Murphy, and must force Florida to run.
While no team this season has out rushed Florida, Miami (FL) forced Florida to only gain 122 yards on the ground. By slowing the ground game down, the ‘Canes were able to force Driskel to make mistakes through the air. This game plan is even more important this week because Driskel is no longer the starting quarterback. It should be easier for the Cats on defense to pick up on tendencies that could lead to big plays this weekend. However, the bottom line is– can the Cats stop the ground attack? If the Cats slow down this powerful run game, get your storming shoes ready because we, the fans, will be on the field!