Scouting Kentucky Defense and Special Teams

Over the year, I believe the biggest reason the Gators have dominated this rivalry is that Kentucky has not been able to slow down the Gators very often. Florida has always had a big advantage in speed especially when Florida's offense was on the field. It looks like more of the same this year as far as I can tell.

Kentucky does not have great personnel on defense but they are solid and well coached. They are giving up 18 points a game, 148 yards on the ground and 110 through the air. The Gators should be able to move the ball on the ground without much resistance.

Up front Kentucky is similar to Tennessee in that they have just one guy with size, 6-4, 308 DT Ricky Lumpkin who has 2 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. The other tackle, Luke McDermott is smallish, but runs well and has been effective on screens. The DE are not all that impressive. Still, there will be many eyes on No. 94. That's the jersey worn by Taylor Wyndham, the guy whose sack led to Tim Tebow's concussion in last year's game. He is their most effective DE and made a big play in the Louisville game forcing a fumble early in the fourth quarter.

I think the best defensive player on the team is WLB Danny Trevathan who is a really good player. Trevathan leads the team with 25 tackles and six tackles for loss. MLB Ronnie Sneed is okay in the middle while the SLB spot is a weakness. I look for Florida to play a tackle at TE and run strong side frequently.

The secondary has two good safeties in Winston Guy and Michael Bailey who are better tacklers than cover guys. Bailey has the only interception in the back seven of the Wildcats defense. The corners are certainly not in the class of departed all-star Trevard Lindley. The Gators ought to be able to ramp up its rather anemic (151 yards/game) passing game against this group.

Overall, this defense is nowhere near as talented as Tennessee, but might have a little more depth.

Kentucky Special ---- We've already addressed the Wildcats dangerous return men in Locke and Cobb. Cobb has a 50-yard punt return for a TD while Locke has a kickoff return long of 37.

They have allowed a kick return for a TD this season. The punter is very good and the kicker is pretty bad… and Ryan Tidlotchka is both. He's averaging 48.2 on punts and only 1-of-8 has been returned – though it was for 28 yards. He is 1-3 on FG.

All in all Kentucky should not be able to end its 23-year losing streak to the Gators if Florida learns to play in the first half. The biggest concern has to be the skill people on the Kentucky offense. This defense is no better than last year when the Gators racked up 31 points in the opening quarter.

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