There are two words for this game from a Kentucky standpoint -- horror show.
The 'Cats were not ready for this game in any respect -- mentally, physically or emotionally. Florida won effortlessly, and Kentucky was in no way competitive. The Gators exposed UK's weakened defensive state and inept offense with an athletic and powerful offense that our defense had no possibility of stopping, and a solid defense that was more than a match for Kentucky's offense most of the day.
Florida's athletes are so much better than Kentucky's that it's almost a professional vs. college disparity. That doesn't mean that UK can't compete in the SEC -- Florida unquestionably has the most athletic team in the league by a good margin, and against a conventional offense with conventional college athletes, UK's defense has done well. But against a spread offense that seeks to isolate their outrageously athletic skill players on linebackers, it looks like a joke -- there is no way to run down a Demps or a Harvin from behind, and that fact was demonstrated in spades today.
Congrats to the Gators. They played a great game against an unprepared and athletically inferior team. It's a good lesson for the 'Cats, and one that will provide no end of opportunities for Brooks & Co. to point out areas for improvement. Obviously, special teams coach Steve Ortmayer has some work to do, at the very least. Three kick blocks? That's a debacle, and there are no other words necessary.
This game also gives Kentucky a serious reason to reexamine their offensive strategy. Randall Cobb has now proven beyond reasonable doubt that he needs to spend way more time at quarterback. I am not going to be hard on Hartline, he is poised and plays hard, but he simply doesn't have enough help at receiver even with Cobb there, and he can't do anything with the football in his hands if nobody is open. Not only that, he is rapidly losing the confidence of the offense, and that was obvious today.
But with Cobb at QB, he can hurt you so many ways that you have to play much more honestly. I said this before, but I also said I trusted Brooks to get it right. I think that we can safely say that in this game, at lest, he didn't. If this didn't convince Brooks and Phillips that Cobb needs more time under center, then perhaps we have reached the point where their decisions need to be seriously questioned. I know, I know -- both have forgotten more about football the last time they broke wind than I will ever know, but the evidence of the eyes is tough to refute and in this case, quite convincing.
Not that it would have made much difference in this game, though. As they say in horse racing parlance, Florida was, "Much the best," and I think the score did and would have reflected that fact no matter who UK's quarterback was. Looking for positives, I saw that Moncell Allen had a good game, and so did John Connor and of course, Cobb. Tony Dixon and Alfonso Smith simply did not impact the game much at all, and we do need to try to figure out whether that was all because Allen was running against the tired and the second string, or if he can make a difference in our anemic running game.
In the end, this was one of those "old Kentucky" games. As I have said before and will say again, there is no reason not to expect these kind of blowouts during a season. UK is nowhere near the quality of a Florida or an LSU yet athletically, and it will take years more of effort to get anywhere within a hundred light-years of the same galaxy where they reside. Combine that with a homecoming crowd and coming off a bye week against a banged-up defense, and well, this is what you will often get.
Kentucky can take solace in the apparent fact that nobody else got badly hurt, although Lumpkin did limp off at one point. In a week, we may be able to restore some of our defensive strength and hopefully will come back strong in a winnable game at Mississippi State. But it's time for Brooks and Phillips to look themselves in the mirror and decide whether they are going to play strictly for the future, or decide to embrace the here and now on offense. I'll support either decision, but I won't enjoy the former as much as the latter.
Either way, I am a fan of this team even in the occasional epic failure. Whether I agree with the coaching decisions or not, this blog will support and defend this team, including the coaching staff and every one of the players against all enemies, foreign and domestic ... err, wait, I ... had a flashback there for a second ...
Oh, well, it's off to Rupp Arena for the Sugarland concert for me -- hopefully, some of you as well. Tough loss. Well played, Gators. Go Cats!