It’s Kentucky week. But we’re not going to talk about The Streak. It has no bearing on this game, therefore it is irrelevant.
Earlier this week, coach Dan Mullen said it’s important for the Gators to focus on themselves, on what they need to do to grow and become a better football team than they were a week ago.
So, I’m going to be coachable this week. I’m going to focus on Florida.
The Gators certainly showed some positive signs on both sides of the football. And there’s no denying Feleipe Franks has been coached up big-time by Mullen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson and is a much more confident and capable quarterback than a year ago.
But Franks is still in the early stages of his development under Mullen. The key here is for him to make steady progress from week to week, game to game. He took a positive first step in the opener. This next step could be a little trickier because he’ll be facing an SEC defense that is world’s apart from what he went up against a week ago.
Given that, Franks and the offense probably will not enjoy the free flow they produced against Charleston Southern. There will be some negative plays — some sacks, maybe some turnovers, some missed opportunities. What’s critical is how Franks responds to them. So, keep an eye on that.
If I’m Mullen, one of my biggest concerns this week would be the performance of the offensive line in the opener. It was shaky at best, especially in the running game, where there was barely any push. The line will face a much stiffer test against an SEC defense. If the Gators have problems running the ball, it’s going to be problematic for Franks and the passing game. So, keep an eye on that, too.
On defense, the plan is obvious: shutdown (or slow down) star tailback Benny Snell, then harass inexperienced quarterbacks Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak, who were both shaky in the win over Central Michigan last Saturday.
The Gators will execute their game plan on defense, and that will take some of the pressure off Franks and the offense.
As for the offense, there will be some bumps and curves in the road to navigate, but the Gators will find their way to enough points to win the game.
Prediction: Florida 28, Kentucky 17.