On The Mark: UF’s QB Situation And Why The Drought Ends Saturday
09/28/2013 12:54 PM
Let’s be honest, in the last twenty years, if Florida put a good team on the field – no matter what kind of team was in blue and white (even bowl-worthy teams) – the Cats virtually had zero chance against the Gators. But I think this year is different. Be ready for a dogfight in Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night. The pieces seem to be setting up perfectly for a Kentucky upset – starting and ending with UF’s QB situation. So, with that being said, here’s why I believe the 26-year drought ends now.
Okay, granted, the Gators do come into this weekend ranked 20th in the nation, and that may seem like a tall order for this young Kentucky team. I get that. I totally get that – especially considering they lost to a struggling Western Kentucky team to open the season. But when you’re talking about a drought of 26 years, you must look deeper than that. Allow me to explain.
For starters, look who our coach is now – Mark Stoops from Florida State. I bet he knows a thing or two about Muschamp’s play-calling and defensive schemes. Stoops was 2-1 against the Gators while at Florida State, and he’s coming into this week after a bye week – giving him ample time to prepare and put healthy guys on the football field. It’s also imperative to quickly note that Commonwealth Stadium will be rocking for a NIGHT GAME on Saturday. Let’s not forget, Kentucky has had some of their biggest (and most exciting) victories come at night when the fans are out in full force (i.e. #1 LSU and #9 Louisville in 2007). Now, when you combine all these factors with the fact that the Gators will be operating with a new quarterback leading their offense, you begin to see why the drought may be ending very soon.
Red-shirt Junior, Tyler Murphy, has been named Florida’s starting quarterback after Jeff Driskel suffered a season-ending, broken fibula last weekend. Murphy is an athletic, dual-threat QB, and some Kentucky fans are worried that this change may throw off Stoops’ original game plan the Cats had been working on all bye-week. But I say this… I’d rather have an unproven guy like Murphy coming into Commonwealth with 100% of the pressure on his shoulders. And, as far as fearing a running, athletic quarterback, the Kentucky staff seems confident in their ability to contain him. Look at the job Kentucky’s defense did in the first half against Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater when they were fresh. They seemed to have more trouble stopping WKU’s Doughty, who was a pocket passer that ended the game with -5 rushing yards. If the Cats can get to Murphy early and capitalize on some of his mistakes (limiting mistakes themselves, of course), I think the pressure will mount on a Florida team that doesn’t have a big playmaker or proven leader.
There’s no denying that the chips have fallen Kentucky’s way so far leading up to this game. The Cats have an opportunity to come away with a huge victory on Saturday night. In my opinion, Kentucky couldn’t make a bigger statement around college football and to the recruits at home than with a win against Florida in their first SEC contest of the season.
Below the Fold
Subscribe and get the latest KSTV Sports info delivered to your inbox.