Gators guard against over confidence

The last time Kentucky beat Florida, stone-wash jeans and parachute pants were in fashion.

The last time Kentucky beat Florida, stone-wash jeans and parachute pants were in fashion.

But UF head coach Will Muschamp said the school's 24-game win streak against Kentucky won't come into play when the Gators play their first road game of the season at the Wildcats.

Muschamp said he doesn't expect Florida to come into the game overconfident, despite not losing to Kentucky since 1986.

"I told the guys this morning -- it's a season of one-game series,'' Muschamp said.

Florida (3-0) was impressive in its Southeastern Conference-opener, a 33-23 win over Tennessee. But the Gators still have areas where they can improve. Florida was whistled for 16 penalties for 150 yards against Tennessee, including six pass interference penalties.

The Gators also dropped five potential interceptions.

"We've got to clean some things up and play smarter," Muschamp said. "We have to do a much better job."


--Florida RB Chris Rainey was named co-SEC offensive player of the week, while PK Caleb Strugis earned SEC special teams player of the week honors. Rainey finished with 233 all-purpose yards and blocked his school-record fifth career punt in UF's 33-23 win over Tennessee. Sturgis went 4-for-4 on field attempts to improve to 9-for-9 for the season.

--Florida coach Will Muschamp said he won't hesitate to take the ball first if he wins the coin toss. Even though Muschamp's background is defense, being a former defensive coordinator at LSU, Auburn and Texas, he trusts his offense with senior quarterback John Brantley and new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

"I want to be aggressive with our football team," Muschamp said on his Sunday coach's show. "They understand that. Even though I'm a defensive coach, I really feel our strength right now is offensively. We're playing very well, we're starting the games fast. I'm going to put the ball in John Brantley's hands and let him go at it."

Florida scored a touchdown on its opening drive against Tennessee and has scored points on all three of its opening drives this season.

-- Muschamp said Florida's five potential dropped interceptions will be addressed this week in practice. "It's nice to be there, but you've got to finish," Muschamp said. "You don't get your name in the paper for dropping one."

SERIES HISTORY: Florida leads 44-17 (last meeting, 2010, Florida 48-14)

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Overall, Florida has been better in the red zone season, converting 15 of 16 overall scoring chances inside the 20 and 9 of 16 for touchdowns. But offensive coordinator Charlie Weis would like to see more TDs and less field goals. Florida QB John Brantley has relied on throwing the ball to his running backs early this season, but may need to get the receivers involved if teams start to key on covering RBs Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps and Trey Burton. WR Deonte Thompson has had issues with drops again early this season, while WR Quinton Dunbar has yet to deliver on the big-play potential he showed in the spring.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Florida held Tennessee to minus-9 yards rushing, continuing its season-long ability to stop the run first. The Gators rank first in the nation in run defense, allowing just 30.7 yards per game, and have yet to allow a rushing TD this season. UF's young secondary had issues in pass protection against Tennessee with penalties. Freshman CB Marcus Roberson had an interception against Tennessee called back on a questionable pass interference call. Florida is coming off a season-high three-sack performance against Tennessee after having just two sacks in its first two games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If you can make an offense one-dimensional, it'll give you a chance to win a lot of football games," Florida coach Will Muschamp, on UF's ability to stop the run the first three games this season.


THIS WEEK'S GAME: Florida at Kentucky, Sept. 24 -- Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) will look to continue its strong start to the season with its first road test. Kentucky (2-1) hasn't beaten the Gators since 1986 and is coming off a 24-17 loss to Louisville.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Florida must avoid a letdown after an emotional win against Tennessee. Kentucky's offense has struggled early this season, but the Gators must go into the game with an emphasis to stop freshman RB Josh Clemons. Clemons is averaging 5.2 yards per carry with 2 TDs. On offense, Florida must avoid turning the ball over against a Kentucky defense that ranks seventh in the SEC in yards allowed (314.7 ypg). Look for senior QB John Brantley (3 TDs, 2 interceptions) to continue to throw short and intermediate routes if that's what the defense is giving him.


RB Chris Rainey -- Rainey has been the speedy, big-play cog of UF's offense so far this season, leading the Gators in rushing (306 yards) and receiving (214 pounds). He'll need to continue to find ways to work in space while opposing defenses focus their attention on him.

QB John Brantley -- Brantley has done a strong job managing UF's offense so far, throwing for 637 yards with 3 TDs and 2 interceptions. If teams key on stopping Rainey more, it may open up some shots for Brantley to take downfield to connect with his receivers.

DL Sharrif Floyd -- Floyd's mere presence helped the UF defensive front against Tennessee, but he also was active with three tackles, a pass deflection and two quarterback hurries. The 295-pound Floyd is versatile enough to play both DE and DT.

LB Jelani Jenkins -- Jenkins has dropped several potential interceptions this season, but he's also been active in Florida's mixed defensive fronts. Jenkins is tied for second on the team with 13 tackles and also has one sack and one quarterback hurry.

SS Matt Elam -- Elam recorded his first career interception last week against Tennessee. The sophomore is being counted on as the leader of a secondary that includes true freshman CB Marcus Roberson and true freshman FS De'Ante Saunders.


--LB Dee Finley will return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for the Tennessee game following a misdemeanor arrest for resisting a law enforcement officer.

--TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) is questionable for Kentucky

--OL Trip Thurman underwent shoulder surgery and is out for the season.

--CB Jeremy Brown (knee) will be out for at least a few more weeks. "It's more serious than first thought," Florida coach Will Muschamp said.

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