Tag Archives: Kentucky

Tyler Murphy and the Kentucky Streak

Note: This was written before learning about the injury to Dominque Easley.

Unexpected consequences from the weekend, Gator Nation!

I have heard many different reactions to the news that Jeff Driskel was out for the season. The fact remains that he was our starter. His record in the last two years is 13-3 with wins over LSU, South Carolina, and FSU in that span. That demands respect regardless of the miscues and the missed opportunities (Miami, UGA and Louisville). So I’m not going to jump up an down that we have a new QB in spite of our offensive struggles. You do have to keep in mind that we will play the remainder of this season (UGA, @ LSU, @ SoCAR, FSU and Arkansas) with no QBs who have ever started in a Gator uniform or have started a collegiate game in their career. Sobering I know.

That said…..there is room for hope. I think being Jeff Driskel has been the hardest thing about him being QB. He’s thrust into the limelight. We’re told he’s in the mold of Tim Tebow (big, strong and fast). He’s expected to produce gaudy offensive numbers. I think in the last 16 games he’s tried to do way too much at times. It’s those times when he has tried to do more than he is actually capable of doing is when we turn the ball over multiple times in a game and lose. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have had high expectations, but some people handle the burden better than others. If you go back to the play where he breaks his leg, he held the ball way to long in the hope that the play would finally develop and he would have some place to throw it. Can’t knock the desire to win, but realistically, we needed him to throw the ball away and move to the next play.

Enter Tyler Murphy. Exactly how many of you knew who are backup QB was? Ok—now that you’ve fibbed a bit—how many figured he’d play the majority of just one game this year? Nice. Now we’re starting to come back to reality. Tyler Murphy had absolutely no pressure on him in the world. We need to praise the fact that he is very diligent in his preparations and was ready to go when called, but this guy has NOT been getting the majority of the snaps in this offense. While he had his miscues on Saturday, he never tried to do more than he was capable. He was solid, relaxed and let the defense set the offense up to score when needed. It’s gonna be really, really, really different this weekend at Lexington.

Last weekend, Tyler Murhpy woke up on Saturday “hoping” to get into the game. This weekend he enters having taken all the snaps in practice and expecting to start…on the road…against a Kentucky Wildcat team that really, really, really, really, really wants to end this streak we have going on against them. Really!

I liked what Tyler Murhpy showed us this past weekend and I’m optimistically hopeful this weekend where I will be in the stands for the game (Go Gators!). I do not have unrealistic expectations though. This will be the perfect environment to test his mettle on the road against a team that will try its hardest to win. They are undermanned, lack the speed and talent to keep up and will probably face what will be the best defense they will face all year, but they are inspired. Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops has a slogan that is everywhere in Lexington that says “Attack Every Play”. So while they will be smaller on both lines, they will still do this all game long.

The Streak has taken on a life of its own. Each more and more is written and, believe me, UK knows that they will never be considered a successful football program until they end it. They never thought that a cold, damp day in 1986 was the last time they would win against us.  The QB for Kentucky at that time was a guy named Bill Ransdall.  He played high school ball about 5 miles from where I grew up in Kentucky.  He was four years ahead of me in school and, while he didn’t go to my high school (which was 9 miles from my house..go figure) it was a big deal to have a local talent as the QB for a collegiate program.  It was a good win, but if you were paying attention to Florida in the 80’s it was not a conceivable notion that we were headed to be one of the conference dominant forces at that time.  We were good, just not that good.

Now 27 games later, the Wildcats are aching to end this streak. They were fortunate a couple years ago to end a similar streak to Tennessee. If they get this one off their backs, it will be like a quickening of epic proportions for them. They had two chances in the streak to end it and both occurred a decade at a part in 1993 and 2003. The most notable being 1993’s Wuerffel to Doering. What does 2013 have in store for us?

The streak is going to end. That’s why I don’t put much faith in them. None the less, even with our loss of our starting QB, we still have depth that Kentucky does not and a defense that will be relentless. That should be our saving grace, along with a solid offensive plan…and maybe a kickoff returned for a Gator TD. Join your local Gator Club this weekend where Victory is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Tune in tomorrow for the weekly game summary.

Go Gators!

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Auburn Game Takeaways

Primary logo for all UF athletics since the ea...

Primary logo for all UF athletics since the early 1990s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A relatively efficient win for us, Gator Nation.

The biggest takeaway from the game this weekend at Auburn was our efficiency on offense—our ball movement was exceptional—and the hitting open jump shots on the road. The road wins are by far the most important thing to us right now because it is the best we can do to prepare for the SEC and NCAA tournament. The more hostile the environment, the better it is for the team in preparing for the tourney.

We were so efficient the other night that Patric Young didn’t really even need to contribute in the rebounding department. Auburn boxed him in all night and that gave everyone on the perimeter open 3’s to shoot with 25 assists along the way. Hitting over 50% of our 3’s was huge. Having Casey Prather and Michael Frazier II step up and have solid games is also helping negate the loss of Will Yuegete.

All of that said….we have an interesting road on the way to the SEC tournament.

We are at Missouri this week and then have Arkansas visit in a contest, I’m sure is circled on the calendar by this group of Gators. Not to mention games at Tennessee, and at home against ‘Bama and Vandy. The regular season would have culminated with a game at Kentucky, but that doesn’t look as impressive now that they are down their most dominant inside player. None the less, this is crunch time of these Gators. They need to treat these games seriously as preparation for tournament time. We only go 7 deep right now without Yuegete and we aren’t the tallest. We have limitations. There just needs to be a continual focus on proper execution.

Exciting times. I hope you’re catching this season. It’s a good one to be watching.

Go Gators!

The Wildebeest and Beyond

Anyone watching Gator basketball?

I ask that because this season is shaping up to be some of the finest roundball we’ve ever played as a Gator team. I went back and watched highlights from the 2006-2007 teams and have to admit that they were a level-above most teams they played. The two National Championships speak for themselves.

Our team this year is much smaller and about as thin as those teams Championship teams were.  We had a great initial run in the SEC schedule winning 10 in a row, but lost last week at Arkansas.  Truth be told, Billy has never had great success at Arkansas on their home floor.  The loss, while very unexpected for this team, was not surprising overall.  We weren’t going to continue the harassing defense every game and the hot shooting from 3-point land.  We were due for a lull.  As it turns out the last three games have been a bit of a lull overall.

Our 3-point defense has been incredible all season holding opponents to 27 percent shooting…the last three games have seen opponents shoot 41 percent including the Razorbacks 8 of 18 from three point range.  That’s not how we’ve been winning games and it appears that Billy has been working the team extra hard the last few days at practice in preparation for the Kentucky Wildcats.  Both Sunday and Monday’s practices were defense-centric.  The other reason is that we will be without Will Yuegete for the remainder of the regular season.  That’s absolutely gonna hurt when we full court press moving forward because Yuegete is the centerpiece of the press and how the ball moves is dependent on how Yueget reacts.  We’ve had enormous success with our press and let’s not forget his near 7 rebounds a game.  Yep—this is going to come back to bite us.  Here’s hoping we get him back near the end of the regular season.  Yuegete’s arthrocopic surgery went well (according to his tweet) and now it is on to the physical therapy with the athletic trainers who are in the top tier of their business.

I digress.

Our defense is key to our success and that all starts with Scottie Wilbiken out front.  We have not been the same team when “The Wildebeest” is starting and playing well.  It is not strange that all three of our losses happened when we did not have the services of Wilbiken or we had poor play by him.  He’s been the bedrock of the defense and has shut down some of the best scorers in the league.  We’re getting ready to go against Kentucky at home.  If we are to contend with their talent and athleticism, we will need The Wildebeest at his most intense best.  Further we will need significant contributions from Casey Prather and Michael Frazier II.  Frazier has proven reliable at three point range and an adept rebounder.  We need Prather ball-hawking on defense.  It also wouldn’t hurt to have Patric Young dominate the middle against UK’s 6-10 and 7 foot post players (Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein).  Our inside shots will not come easy and if our 3-pointers aren’t falling our main recourse is defense….it’s has to be seriously intense.

The game tomorrow night is on ESPN at 7pm EST and 4pm PST.  If you’re not watching the Gators play this season, it might just be time to start tuning in to their games.  We are playing very well as a team.  We have some more work to do, but this team has bought into what Billy is selling.  Maybe you should buy some too.  If your local Gator Club is hosting a viewing part, that would be a great time to join them since Victory, especially over Kentucky basketball, is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Gator's Home Court

Gator’s Home Court (Photo credit: jimmywayne)

Monday Morning (Speed) Rant

Courtesy of the I Hate FSU page on Facebook.

A quick and dirty on this weekend, Gator Nation!

I love the shutout, but I fear it was more to do with UK’s inept offense than our defense. We had several blown coverage plays that could have netted the Wildcats points, but they were unable to capitalize. Not having their starting QB didn’t help either. Still….gotta like a shutout.

I’m a big fan of Mike Gillilslee. Throughout the years he has been a model of consistency and professionalism. I’m hoping he does get 1500 yards this year and 24 TDs. That said…Matt Jones will be the future of the Gator ground game. Sorry, Mack Brown.

Offense needs to get on track quicker in the SEC games. If we want to beat LSU next week, this is imperative. I think our defense can contain LSU’s offense, but we need to score on them consistently throughout the game. Not in just the second half.

We’re +5 in turnover ratio. We’re heading in a good direction on this stat.

I’m disappointed that Jacoby Brissett did not get a chance to pass the ball at all. If the offensive line were better, it might be him out there instead of Driskell.

On the flip side, I also understand why Muschamp is running the ball as much as he is. He’ll win far more games with a good running attack than just passing.

I can’t believe that Jordan Reed took that hit and immediately bounced right back up. I hurt all over after that play and I’m 7000 miles away. I don’t think he’ll be able to do that against LSU, UGA, SoCar and the rest.

Despite the shutout and 38 points scored, I’m sensing that this team is far more focused and sharper when they are on the road. That game on Saturday lacked a lot of intensity on our sidelines.

Kentucky‘s pass rush is nothing compared to LSU’s. Driskell holds the ball too long. He will not be able to scramble as well against LSU’s speed. Our rushing game has to pick up yardage in two weeks.

Jordan Reed likes to hop up and make catches. He doesn’t run his routes very well. He makes beautiful catches though. I’ll take ’em, but he could be infinitely better.

We gave up 150 yards on the ground to UK—a team that couldn’t get to 50 against WKU. I’m thinking we will need to do better than that in October.

Zero fourth quarter points allowed so far this year by our defense. Nice!

One sack by the defense. Not so nice.

Might be an odd time for a bye week this week, but one thing is for sure, we will have more healthy players available for LSU than we did last year. I’d always prefer the bye week before UGA—-mainly because Spurrier liked it that way. Can’t say that I’m agreeable to the timing, but I’ll take it this year. Hope the administrators see fit to putting that bye week back in front of UGA.

Last, but certainly not the least, if you want to taunt that ‘Nole fan who is always nearby, let them know that no one has ever won the National Championship and given up more than 35 points in a regular season game—EVER! Then tell them the score of their game this past weekend. Buuwahahahahaahah (evil laugh onomatopoeia).

‘Nuff said. Go Gators!

Not So Wild-Cats

Photo by Lee Force via Facebook. Go Gators!

We’re getting the big heads, Gator Nation.

After two very hard fought Victories on the road with a complete defensive shut down of the opponent in the second half, we are now headed back home to face an unassuming challenger in the Kentucky Wildcats.  We’re hearing all this talk about hanging “half a hundred” on the Wildcats by our offense.  Not sure that anyone realizes that we’ve only done this six times in 62 meetings….and we’ve only had one half out of six where our offense clicked.  I’m all for scoring more points, but let’s not put the cart before the horse.  Let’s talk some football…

Kentucky was beat by a very bad Western Kentucky Team last week that was absolutely pummeled by Alabama.  So as logic dictates, we will now score 187 points on Kentucky.  Let’s take a closer look, shall we.  Kentucky has running attack that is minimal compared to Florida’s at this point and they rush by committee with Jonathon George leading the way last week and Raymond Sanders leading the team overall.  Regardless, they put up only 44 yards rushing against WKU.  Their QB, Maxwell Smith, on the other hand is quite prolific and has spread the ball around to 11 different receivers and has almost 1000 yards passing to date.  If you are not keeping track that’s about 500 more than we have.  They have also tallied 30+ points twice this season…which we’ve only attained once.  I will not-so-quietly point out that we played horrible in our one game at home this season.  OK, in all reality we win this game, but I can’t buy into the talk about hanging half a hundred on Kentucky until I see us be more consistent on offense…and defense.  Let’s face it our first halves this year have not been impressive….and we’ve brought serious firepower to our Kentucky games before and almost got beat (1991 Shane Matthews leads a late TD to secure a win and the SEC against a UK team that down 28 points in first quarter only to trail 28-23 in the 4th, Wuerffel to Doering, Chris Leak‘s 21-point deficit come from behind Victory in the 4th quarter, 2007 where we matched TD for TD and no defense was played in a 45-37 game, etc).  We’ve had the blowouts as well, but like I said, we had the firepower.  We appear to have firepower this year…but this jury is still out until I see more.  We’re still gonna win, though.

The second half against UT was good for the Gator collective.  We are beginning to see the development of this Gator team.  The defense seems to be further ahead of the offense at this point, but neither has put together a complete game this year.  That’s really what I would like to see from the defense this week.  Kentucky is more or less one dimensional.  Our secondary needs to step up and shut down the Wildcat passing attack.  We were able to do so for a half against UT, but I’m looking for the the “Package, Total T!” (read: The Total Package) this week.  I’m not concerned with 50 points, I’m looking at ZERO as in a shutout this week.  If our defense is getting better and playing better as a team then that’s my goal for this weekend.  We will win this season with our defense shutting the other team down and putting our offense in a position to have more scoring opportunities.  The letdowns in the past have come as a result of big games played before and after the UK game.  We had a big game last week and a big one next week—regardless we have to focus on THIS week.  Strangely, I was at all the games I mentioned in the paragraph above, so no worries this year, as I’m 7000 miles away from this weekend’s game.  I going all in on the defense this weekend and just looking for a great game running by Mike Gillislee and adding positive numbers to our turnover ratio (currently at +3).  Florida 35  Kentucky 0.  Game time is 12:21pm EST, 9:21am PST and 7:21pm here in Kuwait, so it’s breakfast on the west coast and a reasonable time here in the Middle East. I hope you are joining your local Gator Club where a 26th straight Victory over the Wildcats is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!