Welcome to A Sea of Blue's Virtual Tailgate for week 4. What we do here, for those of you new to the VT, is serve up a virtual meal of delicious food native or popular in the state or city of this week's opponent, who happens to be the Florida Gators. That means we'll be serving up a virtual meal of Florida food specialties, drinks, and goodies.
After we virtually eat and drink, we'll talk about the game today, look at the Wildcats' chances versus the Gators down in the Swamp, and just generally get ourselves ready for a little college football.
For those of you frustrated with the Wildcats' on-field performance this year, this is a chance to sit back, relax, and chat with friends about the team. We want to try to keep it positive in here, but as this is just a friendly get-toghether, the only real rule is be nice to you fellow commenters, and apply the Golden Rule. If you have to rail against the Wildcats, fine, but do it nicely.
Now, let's get on with the fun!
It's early in the morning, and to me, it almost doesn't matter where you are or what your excuse for having an alcoholic beverage at this time in the day. If you must drink early, there is really only one thing that will do, and since this is an early game, today's cocktail is:
Bloody Mary (via floridagirlindc)
Now that's a Bloody Mary even a tomato juice hater could love.
All right, time to move on to the apps. When I went to New Orleans for the Final Four, I tried a little of this and was surprised at how good it was. Never had it fried, but seeing as this is Florida and that everything fried is automatically good, let's have a little:
Fried gator bites (via jasonlam)
Fried alligator baby! Perfect appetizer size with some dipping sauce. Sounds good to me!
Now for the entree. We can't have Florida fare without seafood, so how about another Florida favorite:
Shrimp tacos (via BobbyProm)
I love fish tacos, but these look really, really awesome. Florida is famous for shrimp, n'est ce pas?
For those with seafood allergies, we do have an alternative:
Fried chicken and waffles (via pointnshoot)
If you're from the South, and Florida is definitely south, you're familiar with this classic.
Side dishes? We got a good one:
Damn Good Fried Okra (via nickgraywfu)
The caption says it all.
But what are we going to wash all that down with? To me, this meal just screams for citrus, and nothing goes better with a little slice of Florida orange than:
Blue Moon Belgian Wheat ale with orange (via RickC)
One of my very favorites, and just a perfect compliment to all this.
Finally, desert, and what on Earth could be more Florida for desert than:
Key Lime Pie (via ralph and jenny)
Have we served this before in our VT? Probably. Do I care? Not on your life. Good stuff.
Okay, now that we're fed, let's talk a little football. If you haven't read Ken's preview, be sure to do so. Where Kentucky is at a real disadvantage in this game, besides being in the Swamp where the Gators have owned us lock, stock and barrel including some really lopsided wins, is that Will Muschamp has turned Urban Meyer's spread offense into a pretty straightforward, but effective, running attack. He pounds the ball up the field with big, strong, fast backs and basically grinds teams into the dust from whence they came.
That's not so good for UK, who is an embarrassing 97th nationally against the run. Many UK fans, including me, would not have been surprised if I had said the 'Cats were dead last against the run in all Division I, but we're only close. Unless Rick Minter can find a way to fix the rushing defense, it's hard to see how Kentucky can find a way to win.
At this point, I want to stop and update everyone with the injury report courtesy of CollegeInjuryReport.com. First, Florida
|09/21||2:22pm||Chaz Green||OL||Probable||Ankle||Sophomore OL Chaz Green was held out of last Saturday's game against Tennessee, though he was available in an "emergency" situation. Muschamp labeled him as probable for Saturday against Kentucky.|
|09/21||2:12pm||Dominique Easley||DE||Questionable||Knee||Easley was hurt in week 3's game against division rival Tennessee. The Junior DE has been using crutches as a precaution. Coach Muschamp says he remains questionable for the Gators' game against Kentucky Saturday. Easley has 8 tackles and 1 sack on the year.|
|09/21||2:08pm||Matt Patchan||OL||Out||Pectoral||Patchan has yet to play this year due to a strained pectoral muscle. Coach Muschamp said Patchan will not play Saturday against Kentucky, and is unsure when he will return. Sophomore Chaz Green and junior Kyle Koehne have started games at right tackle.|
|09/12||8:07pm||Ronald Powell||DE||Out For Year||Knee||Powell suffered a torn ACL in the spring. The junior led the Gators with six sacks in 2011 but has suffered a setback while recovering. Powell will miss the entire 2012 season. Senior Lerentee McCray will start at Powell's Buck position. McCray recorded 25 tackles last season.|
|09/12||8:05pm||Jelani Jenkins||LB||Out||Hand||Jenkins had surgery on an injured thumb this week and could be out up to four weeks. Jenkins was third on the team in 2011 with 75 tackles. True freshman Antonio Morrison is likely to replace Jenkins in the starting lineup while he is out.|
|09/12||8:03pm||Cody Riggs||CB||Out||Foot||Riggs broke his right foot in week two and is expected to miss the next four weeks. The junior had 31 tackles in 2011 and had been playing in nickel and dime situations this year.|
|09/04||11:01pm||Drew Ferris||LS||Out||Clavicle||Ferris suffered a broken collarbone in the season opener and is out indefinitely. The junior played in 13 games last year and will be replaced by RS freshman Kyle Crofoot.|
|09/02||3:43pm||Kedric Johnson||DL||Out||Knee||Junior reserve lineman Kedric Johnson had surgery on his dislocated knee a couple of weeks ago and is out indefinitely.|
|09/02||3:41pm||Michael McNeely||WR||Out||Foot||Sophomore reserve receiver Michael McNeely broke his foot during camp and is expected to be out six weeks.|
|08/21||2:32am||Colin Thompson||TE||Out For Year||Foot||Thompson will have surgery this week to insert a pin in his foot. The incoming freshman will likely redshirt the season, according to coach Muschamp.|
The biggest loss is Dominique Easley, and that is good news for Kentucky's passing game. Jelani Jenkins is also a big loss for Florida.
|09/21||2:41pm||CoShik Williams||RB||Doubtful||Hip||The junior has not practiced all week following the loss to WKU. He is expected to make the trip to Florida, but is doubtful to play on Saturday. Kentucky has a stable of backups that include Jon-Jon George, Ray Sanders, and Dyshawn Mobley -- all expected to see action Saturday.|
|09/17||9:34pm||Bookie Cobbins||WR||Probable||Suspension Served||Cobbins sat out the week three game serving a suspension for a violation of team rules (marijuana) but has been reinstated to the team. The RS freshman reserve is upgraded to probable for Florida.|
|09/17||9:32pm||Raymond Sanders||RB||Probable||Suspension Served||Sanders sat out the week three game serving a suspension for a violation of team rules (marijuana) but has been reinstated to the team. The junior backup is upgraded to probable for Florida.|
|Shoulder||Smith bruised a shoulder in the week three OT loss to WKU and is questionable to return at Florida. The sophomore made 60 pass attempts vs. WKU, connecting on 37 for 332 yards and two TDs, but threw four INTs.|
|09/15||11:27pm||Cartier Rice||CB||Questionable||Quad||Rice has a quad contusion and is questionable to play at Florida. The senior missed most of the summer with the same injury.|
|09/14||6:07pm||Trevino Woods||OL||Out||Ankle||Backup lineman Trevino Woods has an ankle injury, and the senior has been ruled out for WKU.|
|09/14||6:06pm||Gabe Correll||TE||Out||Hip||Senior Gabe Correll is dealing with a hip flexor and is ruled out for the WKU game.|
|09/06||11:39pm||Glenn Faulkner||S||Out||Ankle||Faulkner has an
|09/06||11:36pm||Josh Clemons||RB||Out||Knee||Clemons suffered a knee injury but the results of an MRI showed no structural damage. The sophomore is projected as the team's starting tailback this fall after rushing for 279 yards and two TDs in 2011, however, his knee keeps swelling up. Clemons had the knee scoped recently is expected to miss the week two contest.|
|09/01||11:04pm||Anthony Kendrick||TE||Out For Year||Academics||Kendrick did not meet academic requirements and will miss the 2012 season. The junior has played in 18 games the past two years, starting two, and will continue to practice with the team while getting his class issues straightened out for next fall.|
I've upgraded Smith to probable, but he will play. Not as sure about Cartier Rice, but Kentucky's secondary really needs him. I think Trevino Woods will be available for Florida also. CoShik Williams will not, though, and its looking like he's going to have an injury-riddled season at this point.
What Kentucky really needs to do is get off to a fast start, and that has been a problem for the Wildcats all year. When they get the offense clicking, it is potent, but it seems they start off in a funk and just can't get the thing started until the second or third quarter. Against Florida, that would be deadly.
Another thing I mentioned on Larry Glover's show last night is the Wildcats need to stop throwing deep for the sake of it. Make Florida stop the short passing game first, and if they don't, keep using it until they do.
If UK pulls out a win here, it would do wonders for Phillips, but probably not enough in isolation to keep him another year. If you told me that UK would lose to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers but would turn around and beat Florida at home snapping a 25-year losing streak, I'd take that trade. A win here and Phillips would be helped a lot, but he'll still need a lot more, in my opinion.
Anyway, regardless of the coach, let's cheer this team on today. The open thread will be posted, as usual, about 15 minutes before game time.