Kentucky will limp into Saturday’s contest with the ..."/>

Kentucky will limp into Saturday’s contest with the ..."/>

Kentucky Wildcats Football: Gameplan and execution for Florida


Kentucky will limp into Saturday’s contest with the Florida Gators fresh off of the heels of a tough loss to Louisville. Florida was able to handily put away Tennessee last week in the swamp (in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated), but will be surrounded by a bit of uncertainty themselves. Will Muschamp was brought into Gainesville to replace Urban Meyer this offseason and he has been a spark plug for the team in the early season. While the team is young and relatively inexperienced at several key positions, the recruiting prowess of Muschamp’s predecessor has left the program with a roster full of young, but capable athletes headlined by a running back tandem that features two of the fastest players in America in Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. Kentucky will look to jump-start some energy into the program after an upset loss to Louisville and break a quarter century losing streak to the Gators.

What you really need to know about Florida
This team is built on speed and has plenty of it to go around. While Rainey and Demps are going to get the headlines, the athleticism of the Florida linebackers, defensive line, and offensive line is really what sets them apart. This will be the first road game of the Will Muschamp era, and while the Cats will be a big underdog, there are some unknowns surrounding the Gators themselves. The lack of a proven receiver has left the running back tandem of Demps and Rainey as not only the team’s top two rushers, but the top two receivers as well with eight and eleven catches respectively. The defense has been stifling early in the season and has held opponents to 30.7 rushing yards per game on their way to only allowing 8.7 points per game.

Players you need to know for the Gators
#1 – Chris Rainey – The versatile running back for the Gators is giving Florida fans a flashback to the days of Percy Harvin. As the teams primary offensive weapon, he attacks defenses playing as a traditional running back, a slot receiver, and as a receiver out of the backfield. He has the type of speed necessary to turn a short completion into a 50+ yard touchdown.
#28 – Jeff Demps – As (arguably) the fastest player in college football, Jeff Demps has unquestionable world-class speed. He is currently averaging 6.8 yards per carry and is a threat to break a long run at any time.
#6 – Jaye Howard – If there’s one position that you can never have enough athletes, it’s on the defensive line. Howard is a relative freak of nature in that he is 6’3 and 303 pounds, but can move like a 230 pound tight end. The Kentucky offensive line is sure to have their hands full with him.
#52 – Jonathan Bostic – As the leader and leading tackler of the Florida defense, Bostic is one of the top linebackers in the conference. He has 3 tackles for a loss on the season to go along with a sack and 16 total tackles.

Top 3 matchups to watch
UF’s Chris Rainey VS. UK’s Danny Trevathan
Rainey is one of the fastest and most versatile running backs in the country. Danny Trevathan is one of the fastest and most versatile linebackers in the country. As a Florida native that was passed over by the home-state Gators, you can bet Trevathan will have something to prove in this game.

UF’s Jaye Howard VS. UK’s Larry Warford
The Kentucky offensive line has struggled with preventing pressure up the middle against WKU, then CMU, and again last week against Louisville. Warford will be tasked with preventing one of the country’s most athletic front-four from again disrupting Kentucky’s plays in the backfield. Sure to be fed up with the criticism, expect Warford to take a leadership role this week and show the country why he was so highly regarded heading into the season.

UF’s Jelani Jenkins VS. UK’s Josh Clemons
Florida’s Jenkins is a very athletic linebacker and he should cause all kinds of problems for the Kentucky offense. He frequently covers the running backs and tight ends on passing plays in addition to being utilized as a blitzer as well. Clemons ability to shake Jenkins and pick up his blitzes might be one of the biggest tasks he will face in his career at UK, and he’ll have his first crack at it on Saturday.

Potential breakout players
E.J. Fields – As the rest of Kentucky’s receiving corps have struggled through the 2011 season, Fields seized his opportunity and caught every ball thrown to him against Louisville. While some people might write this off as a one-game wonder, he’ll have the opportunity to really make a name for himself against an aggressive Florida defense.
Mike Douglas – While he hasn’t played a meaningful snap this season, Douglas was a highly touted prep player when he committed to Kentucky. After bulking up about 30 pounds since his arrival in Lexington, Douglas looks the part of a true SEC defensive end and is sure to want a shot at Florida after they overlooked him as a prep player. Collins Ukwu’s injury this week should give him the opportunity.
CoShik Williams – The oft-forgotten “other guy” in Kentucky’s stable of tailbacks could get a shot to make some noise again this week. With Raymond Sanders nicked up, the staff is unlikely to want to place the entire burden of the rushing game on true freshman Josh Clemons. If Williams gets the opportunity, he could build on his solid performance last week.

Key for a Kentucky win
This week is going to be very interesting for the Wildcats. For the first time this season, they will be able to play the role of the underdog as they head into a game that no one thinks they can win. If they can execute the game plan and capitalize on Florida’s mistakes, Kentucky could pull off a huge upset in Commonwealth that would bring the goalposts down (if they didn’t lower them immediately anyway). If the Cats go into this game intimidated and make the same mistakes they’ve made in the first three games, this one could be blowout city. Regardless, I’d like to see the team look like they’re having fun and enjoying themselves. Let’s face it, they’ve finally got nothing to lose.

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