Ahead of the Saturday night showdown with Florida, one matchup has been highlighted by more than any other and it’s not at a skill position.
Florida’s defensive line enters with the most sacks in the nation and second-most tackles for loss. They’ll face an experienced Kentucky offensive line that boasts the reigning SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, Landon Young. Last week the SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic named UK’s offensive line as the best in the conference. He joined Kentucky Roll Call Friday morning to break down the clash between the two units.
“I think when teams are running the ball, Kentucky has the advantage. I think in obvious pass downs, Florida may have the advantage,” Cubelic said.
“I don’t think Kentucky has a guy as twitchy, as quick as Josh Allen was a year ago to be able to sort of bend the pocket and affect things from the outside. I think Florida’s offensive line is a little bit better in pass protection than they are in the run game. I think Kentucky’s offensive line is the opposite. I think Kentucky’s offensive line’s — probably their deficiency in the pass game is not as big as Florida’s in the run game, but Kentucky’s a bunch of maulers man. Logan Stenberg has been an absolute joy to watch this season. Drake Jackson’s having a really good year. Landon Young’s having a nice year.”
Cubelic’s biggest concern for the Cats is in obvious passing situations. Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard, arguably Florida’s most impactful player, can turn Sawyer Smith’s first start into a disaster. To avoid those situations, UK must be able to effectively run the football.
“I think they can control the ball on the ground and obviously if they can do that, they’re going to make life easier for Sawyer Smith who’s making his first start in a Wildcat uniform.”
If Kentucky’s offensive line protects Smith, Cubelic believes the Cats will win.
“I’m not sure Kentucky can afford a turnover. Maybe one, but if they get up to two or three, I don’t see Kentucky finding a way to win the game. He’s gotta protect the ball and make good decisions. If he does those two things, I think Kentucky can win this football game. I picked Kentucky to win this game. I’m confident that Kentucky will run the football. That will open up just enough in the play-action. Defensively, you’ve got a quarterback that I think you can rattle easily. Now, it’s going to be on those guys up front for the Wildcats to get in the backfield, affect the pocket and do it.”
You heard it from Cubelic first. Cats by 90.