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Gators Favored, Cats the Favorite

Two SEC 2-0 teams will play on Saturday night. One is a perceived as a former national power. The other is Kentucky. While I do think that the Wildcats could end the ugly losing streak, we may need to pump the brakes a little before ordering the 3-0 t-shirts. Florida is still an extremely talented team with a roster stocked with All Americans.

Here are some interesting points of interest:

Florida’s 1st year Head Coach Jim McElwain’ public tirade may act as a team bonding catalyst

The highly-viewed video highlights the Bull Gator belittling his legacy running back in an expletive laden coaching moment. RB Kelvin Taylor’s post-touchdown throat slashing gesture deserved correction. I’ve got no problem with what McElwain did nor the manner in which he did it. Just sometimes, incidents like that can bring a team together. It can also tear teams apart. We’ll see Saturday.

UF’s offense is highly inexperienced

This week’s opponent’s depth chart is fluid at best. Based on projection, the starting 11 have only 44 combined starts. Seven of the eleven have less than two career starts including two true freshmen running backs of which one will be starting on Saturday. RBs Jordan Cronkite and Jordan Scarlett may be young, but both were US Army All-Americans.

Gator defense is more seasoned

As a group, it has 121 combined starts; however, injuries have plagued that side of the football. LB Alex Anzalone is highly doubtful. All American corner back Vernon Hargreaves III is probable but will most likely play. LB Antonio Morrison is returning from last year’s season ending knee surgery but is back on the field. Safety Keanu Neal missed the first two games due to injury but is expected back for Kentucky. Much like UK, suspensions have also defensively factored.

The defensive secondary is the team’s most talented position group

And, on Saturday, you’ll see plenty of them. Florida employs a 4-2-5 defense. This means; four defensive linemen, two linebackers, and five defensive backs or more commonly referred to as the Nickel package. The Gators will at times input another DB in Dime packages. UK will see the Dime on 2nd/3rd and medium to long plays. Cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves III and Jalen Tabor are both elite. Most if not all of the starting five are considered NFL prospects. UK receivers have regularly been releasing from the line of scrimmage by out-athleting both Louisiana and South Carolina. Their fundamental and technical growth will be tested this weekend.

Florida’s defensive line is on average, smaller than UK’s past two opponents

The group goes 6’3″ 279 lbs. However it is fast, aggressive and highly disruptive. Patrick Towles will face the best secondary and defensive line he’s seen in 2015. Not included in the starting rotation is 5-star prospect turned Gator, CC Jefferson. At 6’2″ 255 lbs., he fits their outside pass rush intent.

The Wildcat slayer WR Demarcus Robinson was demoted to 2nd team in week two

The BBN best remembers Robinson by his 11-reception, 216-yard Swamp performance. He’s joined at receiver by yet another true freshman, Antonio Calloway. Sophomore Brandon Powell returns and is best utilized in the slot as well as on special teams.

Quarterbacks Will Grier and Treon Harris have started one game respectively.

In two games, Grier is 26-35 for 317 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s completed 74% of his passes. Harris has gone 19-27 for 269 yards and 2 TDs. Harris’s completion percentage is 70.4%. On the ground, the pair are both averaging close to seven yards per attempt.

Preparing for both presents problems. While statistically similar, the games are noticeably unique.

McElwain’s offense features multiple tight ends, personnel groupings, and formations

Josh Forrest will be called upon to act as a linebacker and an assistant coach on the field. You will see more motions than in the first two games. By utilizing TEs, organic bubbles or natural running lanes are created against the 3-4 defense. Much like in Columbia, the Cats will be facing a team that features the running game.


What does all this mean? Florida is favored, but Kentucky is the fan and talking head favorite to win the football game. This isn’t the Spurrier or Meyer Gators, but they’re still dangerously skilled and desperately want to start the SEC season off 1-0. Kentucky is off to a fast yet second half inconsistent 2-0 start. Most proclaimed that a 2-2 September would be the best case scenario. I had the Cats 3-1 but did pick it to lose in Columbia. Something’s got to give. See y’all at Commonwealth Stadium.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

17 Comments for Gators Favored, Cats the Favorite

  1. Pass/Run
    1:14 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    I still look for Fla defense to lock in on the run more in this game. The 1 offensive strength/consistency we have shown the 1st 2 games is our running game. If they are able to stop our run with their base defense it will be very tough for us. I look for them to bring another defender or 2 in the box and make Towles, who’s known for being inconsistent, beat their stud DB’s. I think our recievers are talented enough to get open, and I have the utmost confidence in Dawson, so I think this game will be won or lost on Towles finding them and making the right decisions. And his ability to call the right audible depending on what he sees. It will be very very important to impose our running game on them to take a bit of pressure off Towles. I think the defense will come to play, but we will need to do a much better job defending 1st down. Giving up 309 yds to SC will not cut it against the Gators. Go Big Blue!!

  2. jopo53
    1:28 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    Florida tends to run the nickel, but I think if they do that on Saturday, we will eat them alive. Our O-Line and RB’s will have their way with them. Once they leave the nickel, the DB’s will have a much tougher time stopping our WR’s. I think this week our offense will be more consistent in the second half and our defense will step up and show signs of maturity, limiting the amount of points on the board and creating turnovers. Cats win 35-10.

    • Rise
      3:13 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      I like your confidence and enthusiasm, but you do realize we are playing a SEC team not called Vanderbilt? No way we win by three touchdowns.

    • Booby Petrino
      3:24 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      Rise, the well-known troll is back at it. I thought you were in hiding bc yall are 0-2, but here you are crawling out of your hole. Just in time for me to say, after tonight yall will be 0-3, bitch!

    • jopo53
      3:50 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      Just watch and see. The QB’s are going to be rattled once they come into CWS on Saturday and will have lots of trouble settling in. GO BIG BLUE!

    • Elk
      4:12 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      I have to agree with Rise on this one. I don’t think he’s being a troll. Florida, whether they are down or not, is still Florida. They have the athletes to compete with anybody if they can get it all together. And, as we all know, history has shown that teams tend to get it all together by the time they go up against us.

    • Mmmm, nooooo.....
      4:34 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      “Rise” is a well known troll around these parts…

  3. RICK
    1:32 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    Well said guys, Ky 31 gators 17

  4. Gitback Coach
    1:47 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    Lots of analysts like to “count stars” and certainly the Gators have many more “4-star” and “5-star” recruits than the Cats.

    However, Gators’ head coach McElwain also laments the “entitled” mentality that he’s currently battling in his first year of leading the program.

    Sadly, with the “stars” comes the “entitlement.”

    I like the Cats in another close one (6 points or less), but won’t be surprised or disappointed if Florida steals (another) one in CWS.

  5. Terry from Hazard
    3:34 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    Cats 100 Gators 0. Write it down.

    • SCCat
      4:10 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      i love this prediction and I fully endorse Terry from Hazard for any future score calls.

    • Ha!
      4:19 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      John Short would be proud! 😉

  6. Mathlete
    4:09 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    The swamp rats have looked vulnerable against two vastly inferior opponents.

    Having 2 QBs is not better than having 1.

    Their D-line is vulnerable to our 3-headed monster of a running game, so they’ll have to bring up a defender to try to help the rush defense and that will leave their secondary in one-on-one matchups with our corps of receivers.

    We’re as evenly matched as we’re going to get against Florida for a long time, and we owe them one for last year. It’s time to end this streak.

  7. glenn
    4:44 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    Solid stuff, Freddie. I have to chuckle at the “Hargreaves…is probable but will most likely play”, comment. One thing for sure, We won’t sneak up on them. I expect to see a very fired up Florida team and they still appear to be superior to us on paper. Then again we played them so close last year. Can’t wait!

  8. JRock
    5:11 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    “Florida’s defensive line is on average, smaller than UK’s past two opponents

    The group goes 6’3″ 279 lbs. However it is fast, aggressive and highly disruptive.”

    If this is the case, then we run it right down their throats, correct?

    • JRock
      5:17 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

      PS – Stoops is keeping JoJo’s mouth quiet this week, isn’t he?

  9. Dale
    8:45 pm September 17, 2015 Permalink

    First Ky crowd MUST make a difference the entire game! Patrick must take control of his team, game plan, correct audibles, thus right decisions! Playmakers for Cats all over the field! Defense hold serve off field quickly! Then after me waiting 28 years we WIN!! Please end this NOW!