Kentucky prediction time

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This should be the most sure-bet prediction there is for Saturday night’s game: The struggling Florida offense will start slow and get shut out in the first quarter for the fourth consecutive game.

I’m tempted to go with that. But I have a feeling the offense is going to come out much sharper in this game and actually put together at least one scoring drive in the first quarter. The reason I feel this way is because I have a strong sense John Brantley is really starting to figure things out and play with the confidence he seemed to be searching for in those early games.

He’s definitely starting to show that he can manage the game and convert some big third-down plays, which he did several times in Knoxville last Saturday. What’s helping his confidence is he’s getting great protection from his veteran offensive line and his receivers are starting to make plays for him. Carl Moore bailed him out at least twice with tough catches a week ago. So did Jordan Reed.

After responding in a favorable way in the second half in such a tough environment a week ago, I think the offense has a chance to start growing up in a hurry now — something the coaches have been stressing has to happen.

I think the defense is starting to gain its identity, too, especially up front and in the secondary. The group that’s shown the most improvement over the course of the season is the linebackers. Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins have a chance to become big-time players by the end of the season after what they’ve shown in recent performances. Both are playing much better, and with much more confidence, than they did in the first two games.

The big concern on defense is those busted coverages in the secondary that led to two long touchdown passes against the Vols.

So, here’s my prediction: The offense is going to play better, but the defense is going to have its hands full with Kentucky’s dynamic offensive players — wide receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb and super-fast tailback Derrick Locke, who also is capable of hitting the home run in the return game.

It’s going to be another tense (and intense) game in The Swamp, but it will have a happy ending for the Gators.

Prediction: Florida 38, Kentucky 31

39 COMMENTS

  1. I think the defense is better than Robbie is giving them credit for… I think the Gators will be pumped up and focused on Saturday night in the Swamp. Kentucky slipped past Louisville 23-16 in its only road game this year, and – with all due respect to Louisville – The Swamp is a much more formidable place to play, especially at night. Gators win 34-21.

  2. Whatever spread Andreu gives, you can automatically add 10-14 points in the Gator’s favor. He likes to talk the team down so he can say I told you so when they don’t do so hot. He knows nobody remembers a correct prediction unless it is predicting an outcome that is somewhat surprising and adverse to the reader’s interests. He and Dooley also have Ron Zook and Steve Spurrier pictures above the visors in their vehicles. They may be Gators but they give the current coaching staff no credit due to the fact that media guys believe college football can’t survive without themselves and their colleagues (talking empty heads) and Meyer and Co. correctly disagree.

  3. I think our defense gets the right amount of credit. They’re young and improving, and very talented. That means big plays, both good and bad. Our front four is SICK, right through the two-deep. The LBs and a certain safety still get fooled sometimes. I expect our running game to get in the groove this Saturday. KY is a legit SEC team, but odds are we outplay them in all three phases. UF 30, KY 14.

  4. One big play last week for a TD was on Will Hill. His first game back and he took the mid crossing in-route instead of supporting his CB. I’ll chalk that up to lack of playing this year. He’ll be sharper.

    If the D-line can create pressure everything else will follow–the interceptions, the short plays, etc.

    Endurance and conditioning will win this one for the Gators again. With the talent to rotate often, the 4th qtr belongs to the linemen.

    The offense will improve when Brantley stops staring down his target and once he has the confidence to have to ‘touch’ on the ball instead of bulleting everything–that’s a sign of nerves and lack of trust in receiving corp. I want to see receivers catching on the run. Time to elevate the offense boys. Good luck.

  5. i totally agree with you Blake. Also, Andreu likes it when the Gators lose so he can act like he knows something about football. Between andreu and dooley, the sports section of the sun is a joke!!! When u make Strange and Adams of the KnoxVegas paper look good you are a joke. By the way Pattyboy, urban hasn’t opened practice for u!!

  6. I agree with you on Dooley..he seems to become more anti gator each week. I have almost stopped reading him. His observations are always way off. He needs to get with the program or get another job..unhappy with gatorsports.com lately!!

  7. Danny/Blake,

    What games have you two geniuses been watching? I live away from Florida and deal with people who have no idea about the Gators all the time. You guys think Andreu and Dooley like when we lose? Good lord………

    Kentucky has playmakers. We have a young, talented, aggressive but inexperienced defense and an offense that is improved but still trying to find itself. His prediction is on the money. You guys better get used to the fact that #15 isn’t walking through that tunnel and National Championships are not a birthright. Anyway, I enjoy both Pat and Robby’s work……keep up the good work.

  8. I hear this every year come UK and Vandy time… it’s always this “upset alert” mentality with the Sun staffers. Watch out, it’s “mighty” Kentucky! FACT: Urban Meyer’s Gators have absolutely dominated Uk in his first 5 years in the sense of 244-84, 89-12 in the last 2 games. UK has scored a total of 10 offensive points combined in their two trips to Meyer’s Swamp. UK, of course, should be respect, but lets face it, they’ve feasted on cupcakes in their first 3 games and have only 3 or 4 real playmakers on their team, with a smallish DL and anew coaching staff. Florida just has too much for UK this year… again. No way is this game close IMO.
    Florida – 38, Kentucky – 7.

  9. Swampthang, I’m with you! Will Hill got embarrassed last week and almost cost us a game! He will be on a mission this game. I can assure you that Janoris Jenkins laid the wood to him andnthe other Safties this week about pass coverage. Look for Hill to hand out a few sleeping pills, as well.

    The comments about Dooley are on the mark. He is constantly trying to take a shot at Meyer. It’s obvious that hen think Meyer should roll out then red carpet and let him have full access. However, After Dooley stirred up that crap last year and caused Meyer to have to deal with a bunch of
    nonsense, I wouldn’t let him have any more access than the common fan!

  10. I hope the coaching staff gets it together this week also. The first 2 timeout in the first half of the Tenn. game were on the staff, they couldn’t get the plays in on time. That led to the team sitting on the ball at the end of the half and not running the 2 minute offense. Then the first timeout in the 2nd half the same, on the staff late getting the right players on the field and the play in on time….
    What’s the problem??? Please tell me we have a 2 minute offense!

  11. Here’s hoping Meyer and Co. open up the passing game a bit (let Trey run the freshman-Tebow package, if that’s what it takes to get Brantley more throws). Kentucky has some talent and they’ll be jacked up, thinking this is best shot to beat the streak. But Gators D is solid, esp. with linebackers coming around. Plus special teams will pull off a block or run back. Gators, 31-21.

  12. Kentucky’s best shot at breaking the streak was in 2007 when they had a team loaded with multiple playmakers… not this year. Remember, as much as Dooley and Andreu talk up potential upset to UK, the Cats are still the same team we’ve blown out the last two years, minus a good number of key personnel they had from last season.

  13. Don’t understand some of the hatred towards Dooley and Andreu. You make it sound so personal. They are just doing their job and are entitled to their opinion just like you and I. They are in the media and have a forum for it. Most of us don’t. You don’t have to agree with them but I don’t believe it has to be so personal. They are not trying to hurt anyone. On balance I believe they do a very good job based on what they get paid and the fact that it’s technically a small town newspaper they work for so they are about as good as your going to get. Just don’t like to see all the hatred in what is a Gator website. Go Gators!!!

  14. Steve OB

    I think the reason some people make it personal against these guys is because, atleast in Dooleys case, he is a jerk. I know if you dont like what Dooley does on his radio show he will basically tell you that its HIS show and he will do what he wants and if you dont like it, listen to something else. So its hard not to hold personal grudges against people who make jerks of themselves but very hypocritically are always criticizing other people whether it be about job performance or personal issues. Dooley is always harping that if a coach is “anti media”, then Dooley is “anti” that coach. That shows you how big a a jerk he is. As a media member, you should be unbiased but if Dooley doesnt like your attitude towards media people, he will rip you apart. Great journalism skills!!!

  15. No doubt the two long TD’s by the Vol’s were on busted coverages, but I’m pretty sure that had a lot to do with the Gators being very concerned about Tennessee running on them. S
    As noted earlier, they were playing 5 D lineman many times. I do think they got surprised by Simm’s willingness and ability to throw the ball deep. A lesson, perhaps for the Gator’s offense? In any event, with Kentucky’s more balanced offense coming in, I think we’ll see improved coverage downfield, and fewer sacks, as the D focuses on keeping Cobb in the pocket and the receivers in front of them. Once again, the Gators depth will begin to show itelf in the 2nd half.

  16. I like Dooley. He has some days that are better than others, but his heart is always with the gators. He is no more critical than half the fans on message boards. I have never found him to be a jerk and in fact have found him very cordial…and responsive to emails!

  17. Containment and coverage – this game is on the defense. I think our offense will come out improved, but still a work in progress. I’m not worried about this year because I didn’t put this team on a pedastal to begin with. The SEC defenses are much more improved than the 70’s and 80’s and is probably more due to the offensive changes by SOS in the 90’s along with the speed and athletes on both sides of the ball. It’s difficult to compare one team to another or believe that you can just churn out winning teams year over year with the turnover. However, I do see a lot of the 2006 team in this team. I get excited over that because I know that this team is capable this year but may prove to be a better team next year. For this game, I go with most of the posts that the Gators win by 10-14 points.

  18. You people are being absolute homers for the Gators if you can’t see that there are some SERIOUS problems that range from Addazio’s play calling, to snapping the ball, to Brantley’s ability to throw a good pass. There’s a huge difference between being a fan and being a blind homer who sees no problems.

    Florida 21 Kentucky 24 in an upset of the week

  19. Don, if being a homer means that we bleed orange and blue, I’d say that is fairly accurate and must not describe you. It’s about playing to win…which I believe they are doing. If we win every game, the rest takes care of itself. I’m not even sure you are a fan of this team, but if you like to bash coaches and players of a team, please go be a fan of another program.

  20. I really like Pat and Robbie, don’t get me wrong, they are very “entertaining”. But it cracks me up to see how Pat always says that everyone else is an idiot (except him of course)…lol. Anyways, there is a reason why Urban is the coach and Pat and Robbie are in journalism, and to be honest they do a great job, because they always want to sound so smart. I think Blake and Swampthang were right on their opinions.
    According to history and if history will prevail, the Kentucky game has always catapulted the Gators to new heights during a football season. Last year, and in 2008 after the Ole Miss loss, the Gators started rolling. This year will be no exception. Gators by 20, UF 34- UK 14.

  21. I’m in agreement with Swamp Thangs last paragraph totally, in addition the play book needs to be reviewed. It seems everything is outside the tackles. Sure we have speed but if you know the play is designed to go outside your speed is negated.Also on the whole the DEFENSE is doing a super job with the exception of the two blown coverages. Gators 31 – 13, GO GATORS.

  22. 1) Hate the comment, not the writer. I like Dooley—he‘s funny, he uses facts and good examples to make his point, and he’s not afraid to criticize the hoe team sometimes. Andreu is weaker in these areas, but he writes well enough. They lose credibility when they overstate their case, whine about access, or talk about the NFL… and I’m glad we have a place to comment on that. 2) I didn’t want to call Hill out—in some packages you expect a CB to handle man coverage—but it did look like he zigged when he should’ve zagged. Twice. 3) KY has playmakers who will explode if we make the mistakes we made against the Vols. Ball control would help, but I agree this one weighs heavily on our defense.
    4) Early timeouts, substitution problems, bad clock management and uninspired play calling are symptoms of a problem with offensive coordination. Addozmeyer better get its stuff together quickly. With a strong line and fantastic RBs, we should be sustaining drives. 5) Brantley does “lock on” too much, and the comment about his touch is dead on. I would love to see some calls early to get him in rhythm. I don’t mean bubble screens and swing passes; I mean slants and curls and TE underneath. A good play action post route would be nice. I really look forward to his growth. Let’s Go Gators!

  23. My prayers are with Mike Pouncey today. Mike: no more bad snaps that could cost us a TD or the game. Concentrate in what you are doing.
    To Brantley: Play relaxed man. Why thr0wing a bullet to Demps…when you are 2 yards away from him on the screen pass?
    Good Luck Gators!!! Play Hard, Play Well!!!

  24. Disagreeing with Dooley and Andreu is not “hating” on them for God’s sake, it’s just a difference of opinion. I very much enjoy Dooley and Andreu’s reports. My primary critique is that this upset alert the Sun staff sets off during UK or Vandy time every year has gone back as far as Spurrier’s first years as Gator HBC. It’s old hat, passe’, that’s all. No need to insinuate someone “hates” someone else for disagreeing with them. Lets ease up a little on the accusations, shall we? We’re all Gators here y’know.

  25. Ok man, this is the last column I read from you. Robbie, your predictions make me sick. Florida D giving up 31 to Kentucky?? at home??? Please, go write for the Knoxville or Tallahassee paper bc you do not deserve to be a Gator.

  26. Whoever pointed out the teams that KY beat, hit the nail on the head. And Floridas defense is not as inexperienced at people keep saying. Theres a lot of guys that returned from the 2 deep and half of the starters. Does a team have to return all 11 starters to be called experienced??? The defense had 2 blown coverages that led to TDs last week and other than that, then D has been air tight. Florida doesnt lose at home often under Meyer and its not going to be against KY. The offense will starting coming around eventually but right now they are doing enough to win. I cannot wait to see Robbies prediction for next week. I think Addazio needs to go, be fired, or just go back to oline strictly. The guy isnt a coach O coordinator. Thats the main problem with the offense, not Brantley. You cant run a pure spread with Brantley. They need to get back to how things ran in 06. Use Reed or Burton more as QB in running situations. And DO NOT run everything to the outside. Florida has done pretty well in my eyes lining up in I and running up the middle. Demps and Gillislee arent bad at doing that. Moody plays good after weve put the game away, not so much when the game is close.

  27. Well, well, well… and where’s DON now? Perhaps out celebrating FSU’s “return to dominance” after their second only win over a Div. I team with a losing record this year? Like I sai about the “upset mania” that starts every year with Uk and Vandy, this was yet another false alarm. The only way Uk was even able to score on UF was because of a cheap fake FG trick play and a take-down hold on UF’s Justin Trattou on their only TD pass that should have come back. That’s it? That’s what all the upset mania was about? A team that needed a fake FG and a non-called hold to score on us? The all-time combined score now of Meyer v.s. UK? 292 – 98. In UK’s three visits to Meyer’s Swamp, the Gators have now beaten them a combined 137-26. Luz’ ya Robbie, but once again, you pinicked over nothing my friend. See ya during Vandy week and all the panicked upset alerts which will precede a 30 point Gator victory in Nashville too. 😉

  28. WILBERG, we should fire a quality assistant like Addazio? Really, it amazes me that people can be so candid with our staff. SA held our program and #1 recruiting class together during Meyer’s leave of absense if you’ll remember. Addazio is an excellent OL coach and recruiter. I agree that he has his short-comings when it comes to OC, but I honestly believe he has potential, but tends to be far too predictable during certain down and distance situations. If Robbieis still reading this, I’d like to know what he thinks about SA being moved to the pressbox for a clearer view of the field and bringing Scot Loeffler down to the sideline to coach the QB’s directly as well as being made co-OC with override power if necessary. I think it could help this offense a lot.

  29. Good call Andreu. Between you and Dooley the Sun’s vast football knowledge has been on open display the last couple weeks. Of course this win had nothing to do with the coaching staff either and the OBC would have won even bigger, right?