Scouting Report: Kentucky Defense

While Florida faces a great challenge trying to slow down the Kentucky offense, they have a great opportunity to produce big numbers against the Wildcats defense. So far this season teams have had a lot of success against this unit.

Kentucky gives up 195 yards a game on the ground and another 187 through the air. Only Eastern Kentucky and Florida Atlantic have failed to score 20 against them. They are pretty basic in their approach and try to make you earn it play by play rather than all at once. It'll be another challenge to the Gators' ability to be patient and take what's open while still seizing on opportunities for big plays.

One thing Kentucky has done well however, is force turnovers. The Wildcats have forced six fumbles and grabbed ten interceptions. Florida by comparison has forced just eight turnovers, total.

Defensive Line ----- The Kentucky defensive front is led end Jeremy Jarmon (6-3, 268) who has 6.5 sacks and is second on the team with 36 tackles. Tackle Ventrell Jenkins provides a decent inside push with an additional four sacks. They are bigger in the front four than Florida is, and they use their size reasonably well.

Linebacker ----- Kentucky has one of the SEC's best linebackers in Wesley Woodyard who seems to have been around a long time. I voted for him as one the ten semi-finalists for the Butkus Award. Woodyard is the weak side guy and averages eleven tackles a game. He is also quite good in coverage, although I doubt he can run with Cornelius Ingram. Micah Johnson and Braxton Kelly will make quite a few tackles as well.

Secondary ----- The defensive backfield is led by cornerback Trevard Lindley who has two interceptions and is a very good tackler in run support. The safeties Roger Williams and Marcus McClinton are solid if unspectacular players who try to keep everything in front of them.

Overall this is a unit Florida can and should impose its will on. The key will be to stay patient without totally giving up taking some shots deep; well, that and taking care of the football.

Special Teams ----- In recent years Kentucky has been very dangerous returning kicks, but that has not been the case this year. The biggest reason for that is the absence of the injured Rafael Little. As a result, Kentucky has not had a kickoff return of over 33 yards and no punt return longer than 18. They cover punts well, but have allowed two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Both the punter Tim Masthay (42.9) and kicker Lones Seiber (10-12 FG, long 48) are quite good.

If special teams are going to be a difference in this game it'll be the Gators making a big play with a Brandon James return or a blocked kick.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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