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Cats Need to Get Physical Against Florida



After a week of rest, the Cats are going to have to turn up a few notches to match the physicality of the ranked Florida Gators. With a little experience playing against Will Muschamp teams, the one word that comes to Stoops’ mind when he thinks of the Gators is ‘tough’, “They want to play physical, they’re (pause) VERY good defensively, maybe as good as anybody we’ll play this year. ..They want to control the football, take time of possession and be physical in the run game and take their shots off of that.”

The defense is defined by shutdown cornerbacks and a disruptive defensive line. Three of the corners Stoops’ has “known for quite some time”, bringing tons of experience to the table. To complement that experience, they’re new addition Vernon Hargreaves has already made a splash, nearly getting the Gators a W with an interception against  Miami that would’ve been a touchdown, if only he hadn’t put his toes on the out-of-bounds line before seeing green grass in front of the end zone. Finding open passing lanes will only be more difficult if the OLine can’t slow down the Florida DLine, “they’re very disruptive and very dominant up front.”

The Gators took down Rocky Top last week 31-17 in one of the uglier football games you’ll ever see. Jeff Driskell went down with an injury, but it won’t change the defense’s preparation too much, “it changes a little bit, not a whole lot. Both guys can run the ball a little bit when they want to. Certainly Murphy showed some athleticism and some speed.” The added dimension of having a running QB in the read option changes how the defense plays, but Stoops knows that they won’t abandon they’re ‘under the center, run it downhill’ mentality:

“It gets to be a numbers issue with how many guys you are committing one way or the other when a QB can run the ball, it’s an added dimension. With them, they’re quite physical when they want to be as well so when they get under center, it’s a lot of down hill running. They’re not getting away from that. I know Will, and how tough he wants to be and how tough his team is on offense and on defense.”

The biggest take-away from the game for Coach Stoops was that you can’t allow Florida to have a lot of take-aways defensively, “Well the only thing I take away from it (Saturday’s game) is something that’s very obvious: you can’t turn the ball over against the Gators. They feast on that and are very good and very disruptive defensively. You can’t turn the ball over, you have to be very smart and conscious of the ball.”


Speaking of take-aways, the Cats are the only team in the SEC that has yet to intercept an opposing Quarterback. With only 2 interceptions since the 2011 season, Stoops isn’t pleased with the lack of turnovers but acknowledges the secondary’s improvement as a whole, “It’s disappointing. When we have the opportunities we need to come up with the catches. We had one bounce off our chest in the last outing. That can’t happen, you’ve got to catch the ball especially against quality opponents. When you get an opportunity you have to make the most of it.”

The Bye Week gave the opportunity for the staff to assess how much they have improved so far. How the team prepared for games was an issue early on, but now they have learned how to conduct themselves in a business-like manner throughout the week. It has allowed the defense to install more ‘wrinkles’, making them much harder to scout and adjust to offensively. The added preparation and awareness is allowing Stoops to take off the proverbial gloves and get after the Quarterback, “I see our awareness getting better defensively and that led us to play a little more aggressive the last time we played and hopefully we will continue to build off that.”

Other Stuff You Need to Know

– After sitting out a week to rest his injured right shoulder, Max Smith will be back to practicing full-go this week, “He’s going to practice, he’ll be on a ‘pitch count’. We’ll keep an eye on how many throws he’s making maybe just to let him ease back into it.”

– Florida is the only opponent I’ve never seen Kentucky beat. The 26-game losing streak is certainly something in the back of the player’s minds, but the staff isn’t going to make it a focal point, “We won’t get into all of that. Sure, I think it’s motivation I do. I think it needs to be talked about but that can’t be the focal point.  We have to get better everyday and that’s been my message since I got here.”

How much do the Gators care about the streak? It was the headline of Florida PR’s weekly game notes.

florida gives NFs

– Jalen Whiltow has had a bunch of shaky starts so far. Last week Jalen said that he gets so amped up, that he feels like he just needs to get hit one good time to settle down. It’s strange hearing that from a QB, something Stoops has never heard before, “not on the offensive side of the ball I know that (with a little laugh). It is something to think about with how we handle him. I gotta get on our psychology team.”

With the alluded “Let’s Get Physical” in the headline, I can’t help but think about this great clip from The Office every time I hear the phrase. Enjoy

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

8 Comments for Cats Need to Get Physical Against Florida

  1. Big Mike in The Wood
    2:18 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

    Big Opportunity missed here. 1980’s lets get physical music video post would have been more appropriate.

  2. OK
    2:18 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

    “Need to get Physical”.

    Woo Hooo! Finally! An epiphany from the football beat writer.

    I hope we didn’t give away too much information to the Gators. Shhhh!

  3. AnthonyBBN
    2:18 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

    I feel if you have a headline with Get Physical in it there needs to be a picture of Olivia Newton John in there somewhere.

  4. AnthonyBBN
    2:20 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

    Great Minds Big Mike.

  5. SeaCat
    2:26 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

    Shaq is buying into Cousins!
    Let’s talk about that. ESPN

    2:52 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

  7. Big Mike in The Wood
    3:19 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

    Thats actually not a bad way to get married. Don’t get me wrong the Louisville part of it is hideous, I mean all that red? But replace the team and that would likely be my favorite wedding to attend of all time. Cheap, fun and efficient. Considering the divorce rate these days thats actually incredibly smart.

  8. JRock1966
    6:20 pm September 23, 2013 Permalink

    For real? “Last week Jalen said that he gets so amped up, that he feels like he just needs to get hit one good time to settle down.”