I’m so happy, Gator Nation.
One quick note, I stopped writing these regularly four years ago because of my job requirements in managing my social media footprint. Nonetheless, for the local Gator Club I told Shane I’d do more to help so this is part of that. All of that said….last week seemed to be a nice return to the norm. Yes, not a great opponent, but we took care of business very early and left little to doubt. That hasn’t happened in a loooooonnnnnngggg time. I’m so happy. Let’s talk some football…
I don’t have the stat book with me, but 53 points scored had to be the cumulative total for all last season and we blocked two kicks and returned extra point for a score. I’m not getting my hopes up, but I may just see a kickoff returned for a score this year as well and many of you know how much I like that!! It is like our special teams are special….in a very good way. I’m so happy. Back to reality for a bit. We were not exactly smooth early on, but we were effective. By our fourth possession we were rolling. Game was over at halftime and Feleipe Franks looked like the QB he was billed as in high school. Confidence is key with Franks. One game does not a leader make, but it is the best start we could hope. The added benefit to all this is the weapons around him. He does not have to do it all for the Gators to win. He also has a wealth of talent at receiver that will make it easier. For me the jury is still out on the offensive line and our ability to run the ball effectively against a talented team, but the pieces are there. Just for the record, I think Malik Davis will surpass Jordan Scarlett as starting RB. Likely will happen mid-season, but it is only a matter of time. I’m also willing to be wrong because it would be nice to have a reliable running game no matter who it is. I digress. I still question how good our O-Line will be. This week will show us much more about our team. I’m still happy, though.
We play at home against a Kentucky Wildcat team that has seen 27 straight senior classes graduate without ever beating the Gators. I am ok with this. Generally the formula is simple. The better team wins (which is usually us)….except last year which I have zero explanation of how UK lost. Even taking a defender off the field twice, they likely still should have won. This year, not so much. I believe we are the better team…and we are at home. Kentucky has one true equalizer in Benny Snell at RB. Our defense was great around the edges last week, but was not that impressive in the middle. I hope that was defensive gamesmanship and not that our D-Line is struggling. Kentucky’s plan is to run, run some more and pass enough to keep rush defense honest. This is where we will see how good our D-Line actually is because Snell is a premier RB. On the flipside, UK’s D-Line does have some talent and will be motivated given last year’s let downs. I’d expect them to try to disrupt Franks early and often because he clearly operates better as he gets into a groove. His accuracy…for those watching the game last week…was very good. Quick note: I am thinking Coach Mullen may open this game with a huge play downfield on the opening drive. He will want to capitalize on Franks’ good play from last week and set the tone early to build his confidence…and he has a cannon of an arm. We will see. If not, I’d bet big he does it against Tennessee. He’s a coach who goes for the jugular. We need that again. It has not been that way for too long. If Kentucky does not turnover the ball, this will be a close game. Last week they took control once they stopped giving the ball away. Same with us, we have to control the ball. I’m thinking it will be somewhere in the middle–not the total dominance of last week, but somewhat comfortable. Florida 35 Kentucky 17. I want to stay happy. We may not be for real yet, but we are a good team. Game time is 7:30pm EST, 4:30 PST. I will be on the west coast at my home away from home the San Diego Gator Club, but all the locals should head to Smokehouse Brewing Co. and join the Greater Columbus Gator Club where a 32nd straight Victory over the UK Wildcats is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.