You can't question the offensive play calling in terms of going down field in the passing game, at least following this game. Through the first three games of the season there were certainly not many down field passes as defenses dropped in coverage and took away the deep throws. Against Kentucky, the first four first-down calls in between the Gators own 10 yard line and the red zone, were throws of at least 14 yards down field and four of the five were more than that. In all of the 18 passes in the game, seven were thrown on first down.
Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis played it conservative inside his own 10 yard line on the second drive and that may have been passed down from the head coach. He also went a little more conservative when the Gators built a 28-3 lead and started running the ball a little on first down. However, when backup quarterback Jeff Driskel entered into the game, Weis went right back to the play action mid to deep passing game on first down.
John Brantley had a good outing. He still had a throw or two into coverage, but overall he managed the game well and was able to hit the long touchdown to Gerald Christian looking off the safeties and then making a great throw. He was also able to pick up a couple of early third down conversions through the passing game.
Back up Jeff Driskel didn't fare as well and went 0-3 with an interception of a well thrown ball, but one that left his receiver high and dry and hit hard to cause a deflected pass for the interception. Driskel also had a fumble that was lost to Kentucky. That didn't look good in the eyes of the coaching staff.
There isn't much more you can say about the running back starters. Both went over 100 yards on the day, both have repeatedly shown they are reliable and can turn any play into a game breaker. Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey are just very good football players. While Rainey might not be the best running back in the country, it may be safe to say that he is the best pound-for-pound football player in the country.
Mike Gillislee looked fine, but he can't fumble to the referees. He had a 60 yard touchdown and certainly can run the ball, but again, turnovers aren't going to sit well with the coaching staff. Trey Burton did his thing again and I think will be big in the Alabama game.
Frankie Hammond stepped up a bit and certainly made a nice catch and run after the catch on the one medium pass. I still would like to see Deonte make a play on that first pas of the game. The ball is up in the air, you are a senior with elite speed and the strongest receiver on the team, own that ball. The deep ball from Driskel was underthrown to Quinton Dunbar albeit 45 yards down field and across both hashes on the throw, but again Dunbar didn't make the play. It will happen in my opinion, I don't know who or when but some receiver will make a couple of big plays and it may become contagious,. We will have to see. They just need someone.
Major props to Gerald Christian for the touchdown, but he also made a great third and long catch on the second series of the game to get a first down. Christian made good strides on Saturday for sure. I wish we would have seen more from A.C. Leonard, but I will hold out for this week when he, Jordan Reed, and Christian are able to go against Alabama.
Every non true freshman offensive lineman played in the game except Ian Silberman. Could that mean redshirt? Possibly.
The line gave up a couple of pressure on blitzes Saturday and one of them allowed the shot on Brantley that knocked him out of the game for a spell. They have to work on that and it is probably just a communication thing up front that needs to b fixed. But, the fact is this offensive line is blocking in the running game at an elite level and blowing open some huge holes for the running backs. This has allowed the Florida offense to rank tops in the conference in rushing so far in the early season.
The defense continues to play great and gathering in four turnovers on the night is what they want to do, especially scoring on the one like Jaye Howard did.
The real weakness on the night was playing the screen. This may have been a great eye opener for the staff as Alabama will try the same I am sure, but Kentucky was able to screen the boys to death early on. The defense does get some props for figuring it out eventually, but the screens led to really most of the success Kentucky had on the evening.
The interior of the defensive line was in the backfield all night long on Saturday. The edge rushing was good and William Green got most of the time at the one end spot and mainly used in passing situations which Kentucky seemed to be in most of the night.
I liked that Leon Orr and Earl Okine got in the mix early and seemed to play fairly well, even against a not-so-good team. Tevin Westbrook and Kedric Johnson also saw some extended playing time and that is hard to get in SEC play.
Lerentee McCray was in there a lot and I still say he is the best pass rusher.
If I had to pick a culprit for the busted screen assignments it would have to be the linebackers. Totally suckered in a few times, the screens went for long yardage because the linebackers were nowhere near the play.
Outside of that, Jon Bostic was a monster on the night. He really played well. So did his backup Michael Taylor, although Taylor sure looked slow of foot after catching that interception and running it back. I swear Omar Hunter almost passed him to lead block for him.
I thought it was Matt Elam's best game and I expect to see more from him. He had the interception and two pass break ups and seemed to be in the right place most of the night.
Caleb Sturgis is now 11 for 11 on the year in FG's after going 2 for 2. That included a 45 yarder. He is also booming his kickoffs and the kick coverage was pretty good until the last one of the game.
I would lie to see a little better punting, but it is okay at the moment.
Solomon Patton didn't have a good return game for kickoffs and that was disappointing, that needs to be better.