Notebook: Gardner-Johnson says Gators will extend streak over Kentucky to 32 games

Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (23) celebrates after sacking Charleston Southern quarterback London Johnson during the Gators' season opener Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Lauren Bacho/Staff photographer]

Talkative Florida safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson wasted no time Monday providing the Kentucky Wildcats with some bulletin board material for the week.

Gardner-Johnson had a quick response when he was asked about the Gators’ long winning streak against the Wildcats.

“It’s 31, right?” he said. “It’ll be 32 after Saturday.”

He then went on to elaborate on his prediction of a UF win Saturday night.

“They’ve got some good players,” Gardner-Johnson said. “They’re disciplined. They play us hard every year. They’re coming in with a chip on their shoulder that they can beat us.

“It’s in The Swamp. Our team is capable, and we know what’s going to happen Saturday. We’ve just got to go out there and play, execute our game plan and just do what we’ve got to do.”

It’s safe to say the Wildcats will be seeing Gardner-Johnson’s comments throughout the week.

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Reese might return

Starting middle linebacker David Reese missed the opener with an injured ankle and his status for Saturday’s game against Kentucky will be evaluated later in the week, UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday.

“We were hoping he would be back this week, so I have to get with our training staff on him,” Mullen said. “I don’t think he’s going to practice early in the week. Hopefully, at the end of the week he can be ready to go.”

Cornerback C.J. McWilliams (unspecified) is expected to return this week after sitting out the opener, while safety Shawn Davis (unspecified) is out for the second straight week. Freshman wide receiver Jacob Copeland (knee) remains out. Mullen said he should be back in a week or two.

Starting defensive tackle T.J. Slaton left Saturday’s game with a shoulder stinger, but returned and is good to go this week, Mullen said.

Safety sack leader

In Todd Grantham’s attacking defense, the safeties have numerous opportunities to blitz. Is it conceivable that the Gators could be led in sacks this season by a defensive back?

Through one game, the sack leader is Gardner-Johnson, who had two against Charleston Southern, including one on the Bucs’ first offensive play.

“If it happens, it happens,” Gardner-Johnson said. “I’m just playing the 11 games we’ve got left. I’ve got a great bunch of guys around me on the d-line. I feel like guys are going to catch me sooner or later.

“I’ve only got two. But that’s more than I’ve ever had playing football. Hopefully, I get more. Hopefully, there’s more to come and Coach Grantham keeps calling them.

Tale of the QB tape

After watching the tape of Saturday’s opener, Mullen gave high marks to starting quarterback Feleipe Franks and backup Kyle Trask.

Franks threw five touchdowns passes in the first half.

“Overall, I thought he threw the ball well,” Mullen said. “His decision-making, there were a couple here and there. He made one wrong read and a couple I wouldn’t say bad decisions. He could have done something different, but I wouldn’t put it in the bad column. Overall, I thought he made very good decisions throwing the ball.”

Trask started the second half and scored on a 12-yard run in the third quarter. He completed all three of his pass attempts for 22 yards.

“I thought he did really well,” Mullen said. “I would have liked to have got him some more reps. I wanted to give everybody the opportunity to get in the game.

“When Kyle was in there I thought he did a great job. The first play the ball gets launched over his head and he gets us back into field goal range. He ends up scoring a touchdown on another drive. I thought he did a really good job.”


    • My first response was – Oh no! When you say stuff like that all is does is fire up your opponent and make them play harder and more focused because you disrespected them. It serves no benefit other than someone just running his mouth and boosting his own ego. Does that mean we’ll lose? No. But, it doesn’t help us in anyway whatsoever! There is nothing positive about it. This is how you lose ballgames – guys getting cocky and running their mouths! That’s why it’s called trash talking because it belongs in the trash thrown out with the rest of the garbage. Play with heart and passion and don’t trash talk like Tim Tebow! Go Gators!

    • I like the talk, and it was not mean spirited…just confident in his team and the streak is 31 for a reason. He elaborated and gave them credit. Chauncey is a good player that was on Shannon’s non aggressive that took that away from him. His freshman year was sensational.

  1. I don’t put this on the same category in that there was no questioning of the Kentucky player’s ability, but I prefer our guys not guarantee wins. Still, it is out there, so now the team has to win, right? As for motivating Kentucky, I am sure they are plenty motivated already.

    • Nothing any football player says to the media means anything after one second into a football game. What means something is the team that executes better and scores more points. Florida has done that vs. Kentucky for 31 years in a row. I fully expect they will do that again next Saturday night in The Swamp, and even if Kentucky does choose to cover the Florida wide receivers in the red zone this time.

  2. Nice try sport! Tampa, don’t think you have a clue as to what you’re talking about! GATOR SINCE 1965! Remember SOS to Richard Trapp or Charlie Casey? They let their play on the field do the talking; I just happen not to support loud mouths giving extra motivation to opponents! You think Mullen supports this Foolishness? I Doubt it seriously…

    • I think the way you said it, 11 — got guys riled up. My preference is no trash talking, unless of course you fully intend to back it up on the playing field. Still, I like quite confidence myself….and last year we weren’t in any position to say jack shyt. To each his own tho.

    • gator11. This is not 1965, thank goodness. Times have changed and the players have changed as well, sp…. (I wanted to insert “sport” here, but that would be disrespectful). So I will type, “sir”, instead. Much more mature sounding, too. And, yes, Mullen supports the enthusiasm and confidence in his players. And Mr. Gardner has both of those things to go along with his highly-skilled talent to back up his so called “big mouth”. And if you are not aware, Chauncey is perhaps the most talkative and spirited player on the Florida roster, and his teammates love him for it. And so does Gator Nation, with the exception of at least one person.

    • Richard trapp was a great receiver and good baseball player but it’s a different day. But he was a different type of person in that he was combining an NFL career with law school and like most attorneys was pretty careful in general . I’m unable to find Johnson’s major but it could be psychology. Normally agree there is no upside in bulletin board stuff but our guy may see some fragility at Kentucky and is pushing a few buttons on purpose.

      • Sorry for the Richard trapp his autograph when I was a kid. I can remember everything except the score of the game…we won of course. Funny the stuff that sticks with you in life. Hopefully Gardner Johnson is doing the same out there these days.

    • Truth! Nothing to see here….it will be 32. 32 is the next number right?! AND, I am sure he was asked a question by a reporter…AND he was complimentary of their players and program, but feels like his team AT HOME, will win.

    • I’ve never seen fsu look this impotent. Their O-line is getting crushed on every play. Francois will be lucky to survive the season. VT left so many points on the field it should have been 45-3, and half their D was in high school last year. These guys are in real trouble. Taggert looked like a lost puppy in the post-game he may be in over his head already

    • Rick…weren’t they? The offense was offensive, and I have seen offenses with more creativity in Tampa Bay area high school programs like Plant and Hillsborough. The o-line got obliterated and their defense wore down due to being on the field so long.

    • I thought he was OK at Western Kentucky (a good fit for him–A Div. II school trying to move up), which is a long, long way from the ACC. Welcome to the Big Time of College Football. There are some ‘cupcake’ games in the ACC, but NONE in the SEC. Maybe there’s an opening back at West. KY. I know there ain’t gonna be an assistant job open for an ex-FSU coach.

  3. I hate it when people talk trash. It creates additional psychological baggage for the players and I believe it even makes the team more vulnerable. It is sad to see that some people feed themselves off of this kind of trash talk.

    And more importantly, when this is brought up by a prestigious sports website like Gatorsports as a piece of news clip, it aggrandizes the grudge and puts the prestigious website in a trash-talker status as well.

    As an alumnus and a hard-core Gator engineer, I’d like to see some class act by first winning and then acting gentlemanly.

  4. act like a gentleman with class? since when? this is just who we are …. we talk trash… remember “have you ever seen a duck pull a truck” … how did that work out for us?? Dobbs looked like an All-american…. i dont know if its good or bad, but it’s not changing… if you talk smack, back it up…. this is a game we should win. If KY cannot beat us last year, when they clearly had the better team, its not gonna happen in 6 days…. we will be 2-0, mark it down…..

    • Respect your opponent, especially SEC foes I don’t care how many times in a row you have beaten them. Keep your mouth shut before the game and busy yourself with preparation to win. Act like you’ve been there before when you win and remain respectful. Always remember that they could take you down next year. No need to talk trash because that’s what it makes us all look like.

  5. Geez. What is a confident, talented, hyper competitive football player supposed to say when asked about the streak? Spout out cliches that make old guys feel comfy? I sure hope not. If you cannot discern the difference between the remarks of Gardner (respectful yet confident) and actual trash talk (belittling and boastful), then you probably need to stick to watching golf or figure skating and their participants’ robotic uttering of meaningless tripe.

  6. NWIA TB… I’m with you. It seems like CG-J was asked a specific question about the streak. He answered. It was probably one of several questions he was asked. Andreu likely chose to highlight the response to that specific question.

  7. These are young men. They talk smack. He didn’t say anything about himself at least above. He said they are coming after is and was respectful of their talents. He believes we are better. Smack with respect is part of having swagger. If he’d used I instead of we then I’d say he was wrong. BUT if you’re gonna talk the talk you gotta walk the walk. GO GATORS.