Scouting Kentucky Offense

To say Florida has dominated this rivalry would be a gross understatement. The Gators have won 22 in a row. While some of those games have been close, most notable the 1993 game in which Chris Doering caught the game winner in the closing seconds, most have not been. Florida has owned Big Blue on the gridiron the way the Wildcats used to own the Gators on the hardwood.

To put it in perspective, the last time Kentucky beat Florida:

Ronald Reagan was the President
Galen Hall was the coach
Tim Tebow had not been born
I was thin

Kentucky is 2-0 and coming off a 31-27 win over Louisville that saw each team score two TD in the fourth quarter. The program is actually in the best shape it has been in years. Kentucky can actually claim an on-field accomplishment Florida can't match; they have won bowl games the last three years.

Kentucky Offense ----

They are primarily an I-formation team and have three primary playmakers that Florida has to be concerned about. The trigger man is QB Mike Hartline who is an accurate passer (70%) but only one play has gone for more than 30 yards. He's only been picked once and doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He's more of a game manager than game changer and is averaging about 200 yards a game in the air.

RB Derrick Locke is their best football player on the offensive side of the ball. He averages almost six yards a carry (23-133, 2 TD) and has the potential to make a big play as a runner, receiver or kick returner. They have pretty good depth behind him in Alfonso Smith (17-83) and Moncel Allen (9-56, 1 TD). The FB rarely touches the ball.

Randall Cobb is an excellent athlete who has given up trying to play QB and is improving as a WR. In the first two games he's been very productive (13, 12.8, 2) and is clearly their go-to guy. Chris Matthews (10, 9.1, 1) is a JC transfer who gives them a big target on the other side. Another big target is TE T.C. Drake (3, 14.3).

Like Tennessee they start four seniors on the offensive line, but these guys are not at the Vols level talent wise. Not at all. The center, Jorge Gonzales is the best up front. The tackles are big but don't move great but they hold their own. Hartline has not been sacked in the first two games, and that'll be a challenge for a Florida pass rush that has not been very productive.

Overall this is a solid offensive team, but not a scary one. They throw the ball better than Tennessee does, but the Vols are much better on the ground. I expect Kentucky to have a similar gameplan to Tennessee. However they will try to use a possession passing game to help them move the chains more than what Florida saw last week. I don't think they can run on the Gators like the Vols did and that wasn't all that much. Still don't expect Locke to approach the 96 yards Monterio Hardestry gained unless he hits a long one.

Tomorrow we'll look at the Wildcat defense and special teams.


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