Kentucky was poised to take a 10-7 lead over Florida into halftime, but then, disaster struck. After the offense failed to get a first down, which would have enabled Terry Wilson to take a knee and run the clock out, Max Duffy punted the ball away with less than a minute left…and Florida’s Kadarius Toney returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. Momentum squelched.
5??0?? YARD PUNT RETURN TD ?
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 28, 2020
This was the second major special teams error of the day. In the first quarter, Florida faked a punt on 4th and 2 and got the first down. Two plays later, the Gators scored to go up 7-0. Kentucky’s former special teams coach, Dean Hood, left the program in December to take the head coaching job at Murray State. When asked if he regrets not naming a new special teams coach, Mark Stoops deferred to specific plays, namely the punt return for a touchdown, which he chalked up to a shank by the otherwise stellar Max Duffy.
“I wouldn’t say regret. I’m disappointed in certain plays. We have a Ray Guy [Award] winner that just missed a punt. I mean, I love Max [Duffy] and Max is our guy but he missed a punt. We’re going dead left. He shanked it right. He knows that. I’m not going to give up on Max. He had a bad — and the same guy that is coaching and talking to our snappers, our holders, our kickers, our punters is the same guy the last five years [Quality Control Assistant Louie Matsakis], so nobody talks to the coaching staff — nobody has changed that talks to those guys.”
Still. Getting an actual special teams coordinator should probably be a priority heading into next season.