Kentucky football doesn’t appear to be headed in the right direction. The crushing loss to Southern Miss last week was bad enough, but against Florida this team showed no sign of life and was completely shut down by the Gators. The offense couldn’t do anything, the defense couldn’t stop anything, special teams lapsed, and the Cats reached 30 straight losses against Florida in perhaps the most embarrassing way possible.
Drew Barker got benched, the defense gave up 45 points, MacGinnis clanged a kick off the upright and out, and Kentucky managed just one lousy garbage time touchdown. It wasn’t exactly a game for the ages.
Here are some takeaways from this week.
The starting quarterback position may not be Barker’s anymore
Call me crazy, but when you throw more interceptions than you throw completions, your job security probably isn’t going to be very high. Barker was as underwhelming as could be this week, as he threw for just 10 yards, and had 2 completions and 3 interceptions. When he was benched for Stephen Johnson, Johnson more than quadrupled Barker’s passing yards on his first (and only) completed pass.
The front seven can’t defend the run
It was clear from the start what Florida’s game plan was: run it right down the throat of Kentucky’s big men, and Kentucky couldn’t stop it. The Gators racked up 244 yards rushing, the majority of it coming from Lamical Perine, who had 105 yards on 17 carries, putting him at an average of 6.2 yards-per-carry. Until Kentucky’s defense shows that they can stop the run, SEC running backs will be more than happy to rack up hundreds of yards on them game after game.
The Cats do not have the ball enough
This was a big problem in the second half last week, and it carried over to this week’s entire game. Florida dominated Kentucky in time of possession, as they had the ball for 37:26 of the game, while Kentucky had it for 22:34. This stems from several of the team’s weaknesses, as their 4 turnovers cut several drives short, and their defense’s inability to stop the run keeps them out on the field for extended periods of time. Their inability to sustain a drive showed too, as they had just nine first downs and went 4-12 on third down conversions.
The defense can’t tackle
This is part of why they can’t stop the run, but this defense makes tackling look really difficult. All too often Gator ball carriers would break loose for extra yardage, or drag their defender three, four or five yards past the point of contact before being brought down. This happened a few times on third down, keeping Florida’s drives alive and allowing them to score. Again, this was an issue last week in the second half that led to the comeback, but it was a problem from the first snap this week.
Boom Williams ran the ball efficiently
This is about the only positive takeaway I can find, aside from the one touchdown the Cats scored. Williams had a yards-per-carry average of 5.5, which is pretty impressive. The problem is he only got 12 carries, so he ended up with 66 yards. Nonetheless, it’s something to build on for next week, and we hope he can continue to pick up that kind of yardage with each carry.