GAINESVILLE -- It's blog swap time. Gator Clause caught up with Kentucky Wildcats beat writer Brett Dawson of the Louisville Courier-Journal on Thursday and exchanged five questions about Saturday's opponents. I answered five questions about Florida and Mr. Dawson returned the favor, answering five questions about Kentucky.
Here's a link to Brett Dawson's blog, where you can read my answers to his questions, CLICK ME! (If it's not posted yet, then keep trying throughout the day.) Brett Dawson is one of the premier sportswriters in the country and we're honored to have his insights grace this blog!
And now ... five questions for a Kentucky Wildcats beat writer:
5. Kentucky has got some pretty impressive losing streaks in the SEC. Would UK rather defeat Florida or Tennessee this season?
Florida. The Tennessee streak is longer (24 games to 22; the first- and second-longest active streaks in what I still erroneously call Division I-A), but the Gators are the nation's No.1 team, and Kentucky remembers the shot in the arm the program got in 2007 when it beat then-No.1 (and eventual BCS champ) LSU. A win against the Vols would be sweet for the Wildcats, but for now the Gators are the biggest target in college football for anyone, and that includes UK.
4. Does UK have the defensive personnel to copy Tennessee's game plan against the Gators -- shut down the passing game?
The short answer is probably not. Last week, Louisville picked on what was expected to be a really strong Kentucky secondary. I still think that secondary is good enough to give anyone (including Florida) some problems. But I know Tennessee didn't give Tim Tebow a lot of time to make decisions, and Kentucky hasn't gotten any real pressure on the quarterback in its first two games. Defensive coordinator Steve Brown doesn't like to blitz, preferring to get pressure with his front four, but there's been no indication so far that those guys can get to the quarterback against an offensive line the caliber of Florida's.
3. Three keys to victory for the Cats?
First, don't turn the ball over. Kentucky ran four offensive plays in the third quarter last Saturday against Louisville and still gave up only six points. They do that against Florida and the Gators won't be settling for field goals. Second, don't miss tackles. Sounds simple, but the Cats' tackling against Louisville was putrid, and Louisville is no Florida. Any missed tackle can turn into a touchdown. Third, take a few chances. Kentucky isn't a trick-play team, and you won't see much of that. But don't be surprised if the Cats put Randall Cobb at quarterback in the Wildcat formation more than they have the first two games in order to create a little confusion for the Florida defense.
2. Score prediction?
I'm thinking something like Florida 42, Kentucky 13. But I think I've been officially declared the Worst Newspaper Guy in History at Predicting Scores. If I haven't been, I should be.
1. I'm flying into Lexington early on Friday (as are many Florida fans). What's the best state or national park near the town?
The best thing the state has to offer is Mammoth Cave National Park, but that's a long drive (2.5 hours) for a day trip. For a shorter drive (about 45 miles), your best bet is Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade, Ky.