Kentucky Football: Cooking Up Confidence?


Nov 23, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Jojo Kemp (3) runs the ball in the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

On November 26, 2011 the Kentucky football team removed a heavy burden off of their shoulders when they defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 10-7 in Commonwealth Stadium. That stopped a string of 26 consecutive defeats to the Vols. Since then the Cats haven’t had to multitask. They have been able to focus solely on their other dreaded quarter of a century long losing streak against the Florida Gators.

Kentucky last beat Florida 10-3 on November 15, 1986. Unlike the losses to Tennessee, the games against Florida have been one sided beatings. Historically, what little confidence Kentucky has had heading into the game has evaporated like mist before the first quarter comes to an end.

This year Kentucky heads to Gainesville 2-0 and has been in control throughout in both contests. That hasn’t been the case for quite some time. They are gradually trying to distance themselves from the futility of their recent past. Confidence is beginning to brew.

Defensive end Bud Dupree started the week off and kept it short and sweet. He threw in the hash tag and the retweets and favorites followed quickly. The fan base echoes his sentiments. This exudes quiet confidence, nothing inflammatory here.

Tight end Steven Borden is the son of a famous father. A famous father who thrived in a profession where trash talk, confidence and bravado were vital. Borden is manifesting an inner determination to redeem himself after dropping a touchdown catch against Ohio. It may be a big catch, it could be a key block to spring a long run. We shall see.

Either way, Jackie Smith feels his pain.

Running back Jojo Kemp took the cake. He got in a parting shot that got the Gators riled up. They even made a poster out of it. The “walking out with a victory and rubbing it in their faces” line has put some sizzle into this game for sure.

My initial reaction was that Jojo should lay low. That said, Kentucky has been laying low for 27 years so in this series so why not spice it up. Mark Stoops wasn’t exactly thrilled when he got wind of Kemp’s zinger. So much for preparing his team for the Gators without incident. Earlier in the week we talked with the voice of the Cats, Tom Leach, on our radio show and he said that Stoops’ anger wasn’t an outward show, it was legit.

So we’re basically at the it is what it is point now. What’s been said can’t be unsaid. The talk has been talked. Kentucky needs to walk the walk and keep Florida from vaulting out to an early lead. This will allow the young guys time to get acclimated to The Swamp. If they’re able to hang around and let this confidence grow anything could happen.

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