Our weekly Friday prediction podcast brings you the latest on the Florida Gators football team as they travel to take on the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night in Lexington.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre also break down the game to tell you who has the edge on each side of the ball plus they give you three guys to watch on both sides of the ball.
To conclude the podcast the guys give their score prediction on the game plus look at some other games around the SEC.
Andrew: Hello, Gator Country. It is Thursday. You guys are listening to this on Friday. One day till Florida vs. Kentucky. Nick, heading into the week I didn’t expect the game to create this much hype, but as the week’s going on it’s kind of created some hype. I don’t want to say that this should be a good game, but I’m actually pretty excited that Florida’s going to get tested on the road against Kentucky. I think we’re going to finally see what this team’s made about. I guess, what excited do you feel, and what have you gotten from the players this week about this game?
Nick: Kentucky fans are drinking that Bluegrass bourbon. They are very excited for this game. I know the stadium, despite places, professional and college, around the country looking into make their stadiums smaller, Kentucky made theirs bigger, and they sold out this game this weekend on Monday. There’s a lot of excitement. Kentucky fans, we had Matt Jones on the podcast on Wednesday. Kentucky fans feel like they match up skill wise against Florida. I shot that down really quick when I asked who was covering Demarcus Robinson, because there is nobody on Kentucky’s roster who’s covering Demarcus Robinson. There is an excitement. The players, Keanu Neal hit us with the old Muschamp saying, the nameless faceless opponent, this week, but everyone’s kind of tired of hearing about the streak. Quincy Wilson’s 19 years old, so what’s a 28 year streak mean to him? The streak is almost double his age. It’s not something that they buy into as far as the players, but they are ready to start SEC play.
Andrew: Yeah. I think it’s a streak that is maybe a little overrated, maybe not overrated. I mean, Florida has beaten them 28 times. That’s pretty good.
Nick: I think it’s more for the fans than the players. You know what I mean? These players now the streak is so long that there isn’t a player on the roster who was alive. I wasn’t alive the last time. I’ve never seen Kentucky football beat Florida football in all of my years of living. I think it’s lost among the players. I think where it’s really brought up is in the media and us and fans who have been fans for three decades and who have lived through all of this. Matt talked about finding heartbreaking ways to lose to Florida, and fans remember that stuff more than the players.
Andrew: When was the last time? Was it ’86?
Nick: ’85 was the last time that Kentucky won, 1986 the winning streak started, I think.
Andrew: I’m 28, and I’ve never been alive for it. I think it’s a thing, like it would be different if it was 28 games in a row in baseball, where that was one year. It wouldn’t even be one year, because the most you play is 16 games. It’d be a little different. That’s over a long period of time. I think if you’re actually looking at this momentum may be in Kentucky’s favor, because of last week and because of how close, and they still feel robbed. Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio told us he feels robbed that Florida won last year. Maybe the momentum’s there. Maybe that’s something Florida can go in with it, take advantage of it.
I also think that last week’s game against ECU pissed them off enough and woke them up enough that I think they go into Kentucky focused. Mac said they’ve had three good days of practice so far in Gainesville, and that’s something he didn’t see last week. I think they’re focused, and I think that last week’s game was good. I think had they blown last week’s game out 61-0 or 65-0, whatever, against ECU that I think they go into this game overlooking, and then I think you may be scared that Kentucky wins this game. Right now I think Florida does go in focused, and I think that helps them out a lot.
Nick: Yeah. You and I we do all right over here as far as getting some information that maybe the UAA doesn’t want us to have, but we didn’t hear anything leading up to the ECU game about bad practices, but it was something to a man every player said. We got a little high on ourselves. We got a little excited, got a little content that we had won a game and didn’t take that week seriously. I think maybe if you have that bad week of practice and then go out and win 45-0, win 50-0, maybe that starts to sink in, like we really don’t need to go as hard as we have been all off season during the week, because we’re that good. We can just run over opponents on Saturday.
That’s a bad message to send. Hopefully you would think that maybe a close call with ECU is a wake up call. I think getting Kentucky, while these players grew up only knowing Kentucky as a pretty bad football program. It is the first week of SEC, and starting off 1-0 in conference is important. I think even if the players themselves individually can’t get up for the opponent in Kentucky, they can get up for its conference play. This is SEC. This is our season right here.
Andrew: No disrespect to Mac, he continues to say this isn’t the same Kentucky team, and it’s not, but let’s stop for a second and not make Kentucky out to be college football champions this year. Matt Jones tried to feed us some glorified sunshine pumping bullshit that Kentucky was going to beat Missouri and then possibly beat Auburn and be in the SEC championship game. Hold up, buddy. You beat Lafayette by 7, and you beat an awful South Carolina team 26-22 on the road.
Nick: And that was a South Carolina team that lost Connor Mitch, their starting quarterback, in the middle of the game and had to turn to a walk-on, who’s now their starting quarterback.
Andrew: The walk-on did actually do better, but it’s like had you beaten Wisconsin then turned around and beat Auburn, then I would believe your sunshine pumping.
Nick: They’re real excited. It’s ending streaks, and that’s something that we’ve talked about. The win over South Carolina ended a 22 game road losing streak in the SEC. That sounds excruciating.
Andrew: It does, but, again, like I said, let’s not make things out to be that Kentucky’s this wonderful new thing on the block and this, that, and the other. It’s still Kentucky football, who still barely won two games against very bad opponents. Louisiana Lafayette is not very good this year.
Nick: Vegas isn’t buying them either. Florida’s the 3 point favorite on the road. For Kentucky they’re not even favoring at home. Vegas isn’t buying into that. They do really like this running back duo that they have, Jojo Kemp. Gator fans will remember he’s the one that fired the team up last year talking about how great it would be to return to Florida and how great it was going to feel to celebrate, and then Stanley Boom Williams. Boom, averaging 10 yards per carry this year, 24 carries, 242 yards. That’s getting the job done. I don’t care who you’re playing against, that’s getting the job done.
Andrew: Yeah. You’re right. Here’s a stat that I want to throw at you real quick, and this is something you and I were talking a little bit about off the air. In two games against a very bad Lafayette offense and a bad South Carolina offense they’ve given up 442 yards on the ground. I’m going into this game last week, and I’m thinking Florida’s offensive line is going to have their work cut out for them, because this is a defensive line that played pretty good last year. I see these numbers, and I’m sitting here thinking, the Gators may run for 100. They should.
My way of thinking is this. Is Kentucky’s offense better than years past? Sure. Is Patrick Towles a good quarterback? Sure. He’s a gunslinger. He’s either going to be on, or he’s going to be off. Do they have some good running backs? Sure. Those two are okay. You got some receivers that are okay. Can Kentucky’s offense put up enough points on a good Florida defense that’s going to be fired up with Keanu Neal back, Vernon Hargreaves back? Can they put up enough points? I’m not sure. You like Florida’s chances on offense scoring against this very bad Kentucky defense.
Nick: Yeah. Here’s the thing. Lafayette and South Carolina both ran the ball a ton, so a Kentucky fan might say, Lafayette ran the ball 47 times. That’s why they got so many yards. Hold on, they averaged 5.26 yards per carry. South Carolina averaged 5.7 yards per carry. So it’s not just they’re running it a lot. It’s they’re running it a lot for big chunks of yardage too. I don’t know if Florida wants to get into a shootout. That didn’t work well for them last year, but based on what we’ve seen from Kentucky that three-headed beast with Kelvin Taylor and the Jordans in the back field I don’t know, even though Florida’s offensive line isn’t great, I don’t know if Kentucky has an answer to that.
Andrew: That’s the thing for me. You get Martez Ivey back. I think Martez should play, probably doesn’t start, but I think he plays. Then I would be interested to see how does Kelvin Taylor respond? Does he respond like Demarcus Robinson did last week? I probably think he does. I think he possibly does, and that could turn out very well for Florida.
Nick: In the time that I was out at practice this week Kelvin Taylor was first in running back drills. Nothing is changed. On paper, yes, he’s the third running back. Last week Demarcus Robinson was the third receiver and led the team in targets, catches, and touchdowns. This is shown to be Mac’s way of discipline. Hey, you’re not going to start a game. You’re going to be publically embarrassed maybe by having your name listed under guys who you’ve already beaten out on the depth chart, but when it comes down to brass tacks, when it comes down to it, Jim McElwain’s trying to win a football game, and Kelvin Taylor helps you win football games. He will play, and he will play a ton Saturday. Unless he fumbles, which is what happened to my boy, Jordan Scarlett last week. Six carries for 24 yards, but had that fumble, even though Florida doesn’t lose it, you really don’t see him touch the ball much after that. If Kelvin doesn’t fumble he’ll play.
Andrew: Cronkrite’s probably going to start, and good luck for a defense that’s very bad to stop that three-headed monster. I don’t think you see Mark Herndon in the game. I think you see it being reduced to that three man rotation. This is a good test for this offensive line. I think you’ll see the rotation dwindle down some. You’ll get more continuity. I think you’ll get these guys will be more comfortable with each other as the rotation dwindles down to probably just six or seven in the game on the offensive line. Then at receiver I think they’ll do well with C’yontai Lewis probably being out. I think you go with McGee and Goolsby. Greg Nord kind of dropped a hint that McGee’s going to have a big game. He’s going to throw him some balls. If they’re able to get the passing game going, guess what? The running game’s even going to be more open. Then Cronk, Scarlett and KT, they may be visiting that end zone quite a few times on Saturday.
Nick: That’s true. I have a question for you. Kind of blindsiding you with it. Florida is playing on and counting on a lot of freshmen and redshirt freshmen, guys who have yet to experience what it’s like to go on the road. What are your thoughts on those guys being depended on heading into what will be the most hostile environment they’ve ever played in? We talked about it last year before Tennessee, how would Treon Harris respond in Knoxville? What would a guy like Martez Ivey, where communication is so key on the offensive line, what does a like Martez Ivey do when there’s 70,000 fans who don’t necessarily like him, because he’s not wearing their jersey? What does he do? How do those guys respond?
Andrew: I think Martez is going to have to rely on that inside guy to be a big help for him. I think you and I have talked about this a lot. If Riles, if it’s Halter, if it’s Thurman, whoever it is playing right guard, or left guard if Martez is playing left tackle, he’s going to have to rely on those guys a lot. The one thing though that I will say that is interesting for me is how does Antonio Callaway respond? I know the next question’s going to be he never hears the snap count anyway. Sure, but is he going to hear that crowd blowing whistles? They’re going to be trying to throw Callaway off. How is Callaway getting off the ball? Is he still getting off the ball with the same burst that he has been getting off the ball with, or is he a little slower getting off the ball? In a McElwain offense where it’s a lot of timing is his timing thrown off?
Ivey does cause concern, because he does have to hear the snap count. He is looking for that, but I think he has someone inside to rely on. I’m more focused on how does Callaway respond? Does Callaway end up having a big game there? Is he able to still get the burst off that line, or is he kind of hampered by that overall? Then if Will Grier starts or plays, whatever he’s going to do.
Nick: That was my next go to. If we’re talking about communication, how about the quarterback?
Andrew: Right. Then you’re sitting here and thinking, is he still able to get his checks off? Is he still focused in on the game? You haven’t seen that, because in Gainesville where there’s 90,000 people they’re shut up, and they’re quiet when he has the ball. It’ll be interesting to see with Will. If Treon’s there, Treon’s been through the hassle of 103,000 in Knoxville. This should be a walk in the park for him, but it will be interesting to see how Grier is able to go through his checks. For McElwain, this is big for him with Grier, because this could be make or break with Will, because this is exactly what McElwain’s looking for, how does he respond? Does he respond really well with the crowd, or does he kind of go in a shell and back up as far as his progression goes?
Nick: No disrespect to Kentucky, but bigger stadiums and bigger games are coming down the line. We’re talking about road game at Missouri. That’s a great crowd. You would never know that one of the end zones is open there at that stadium. It gets loud there. Then, of course, Death Valley is a game right after that. This is, to me, a very interesting, like you said, kind of a try out, a test for Will Grier. How does he handle that hostile crowd, because, yes, Kentucky is sold out, and it will be hostile? Fans have been waiting almost three decades to beat Florida, so they are itching to see that win. When you go down to Death Valley, like Les Miles says, Death Valley is where dreams go to die. I think this is a good test, maybe on a smaller scale, of what’s coming down the line for Grier and for some of those younger players.
Andrew: The thing for me with these guys is to go in there knowing you’ve got to do your job. The thing for me also is this is not an offense that is a lot of checks, like a spread offense, so it shouldn’t be a problem for that. Another thing we haven’t hit on is Cameron Dillard. This was his first road start in his career as a center. Is he able to communicate his calls? Is he able to hear the snap count? That’s a lot on Cameron Dillard as well. Does Cameron Dillard focusing so much on that affect his assignments of pass blocking? It’s a question that you and I can speculate on all day long, but until they get their feet wet in the game it’s kind of an unknown thing. I do think they’ll respond well. I think that they’ve been in some hostile crowds. Cameron Dillard’s been in some places, he just hasn’t played. I think they’ll be fine.
Nick: Then what are some of the keys that Florida’s defense, for the defense it’s the exact opposite. They’re used to playing with 90,000 in the Swamp going crazy. Now they’re going to be playing in a quiet atmosphere. You can’t really draw energy from the crowd. What on defense are the changes you make when you’re on the road?
Andrew: I think one good thing about this is with Anzalone out you’re going to have to have a lot more communication, especially if they go to the dime defense. The quiet crowd will allow a guy like Vernon or like Kiki, Keanu Neal, or a guy like Marcus May to kind of communicate things as well. You kind of have to feed off of yourself in this. You don’t feed off the crowd. On defense you have to kind of feed off yourself in this. I think motivation’s enough there. I don’t have the numbers right in front of me, but it was a shootout for Florida last year. They have some responding to do.
Nick: Let’s talk about something on defense here. A lot was made, it was a lot of fun to follow this off season about who DBU is. Right now DBU is not Florida. Yes, you haven’t had everyone there. You missed Marcus May and Keanu Neal in the first game, missing Keanu Neal and Vernon Hargreaves in the second game. We expect everyone to be back there on Saturday. This is a statement game. Right now Florida is 88th in the country, allowing a ton of yards through the air. To me, with Towles, who’s one of the most experienced quarterbacks, with a confident Kentucky team, this is the game for me for the defensive backs to make a statement. Looking at you, Vern. Looking at you, Quincy, Jalen, Keanu, Marcus, Marcell. You all wanted to be called DBU. You haven’t been through the first two games. National stage, 7:00, prime time, show me something.
Andrew: Agreed. Show me something. Here’s the thing for me a little bit too. You did go up against two kind of pass happy teams who dinked and dunked a little bit.
Nick: And you’re ahead of New Mexico State, so they’re pretty much ditching the running game early playing catchup.
Andrew: Exactly. I don’t do too much on that. The one thing I will say is I do expect a crap load of more pressure this week blitzing. I do expect the defensive line to get more pressure. I also expect Collins to mix it up a lot, go man some, go zone some. I think that this defense is hearing it a little bit. We can say all we want about Quincy and Jalen being good replacements for Vern, and I have the utmost respect for Quincy and Jalen. They did great jobs this week, but it’s simple. Your leader was out on your defense. It was a little bit of a letdown. You didn’t have probably your best safety in Keanu Neal back to the first two games. That was a weak spot on the other side. I don’t put too much stock into that, because if you remember, especially last week, there was a lot of short 5 yard catches that were missed tackles that turned into 10, 12, 15 yards. Guess what? That all goes against the passing yards. Let me see this week. Let me see next week. If they haven’t turned it around then I’m starting to wonder what’s really going on with this defense.
Nick: I think if I would put them in order of who’s leaders in the secondary it would be Keanu Neal first, actually. Then Vernon Hargreaves, and then Marcus May after that. Marcus May’s been around the longest. Keanu’s kind of taken that leadership role as far as almost being like a dad to these guys. It wasn’t a good performance in either game really, but definitely not against ECU. Talking about some of the missed tackles, Keanu Neal took the initiative, text everyone in the secondary so after the team meal on Sunday everyone else goes back to the dorms, Keanu Neal gathered everyone around and the secondary went and watched film. So hats off to Keanu for taking that kind of leadership role.
Getting him back, like you mentioned, missing Anzalone, having to play more dime than you’re used to. Florida plays a ton of nickel, but having to play more dime than you’re used to, being able to communicate on defense, and that’s something that even Keanu Neal would tell you, we struggled with at times last year. That’s something that the less crowd noise for the defense will help them this week in Lexington.
Andrew: Again, we kind of said this last week about ECU. You wanted to see how Florida responded after ECU put up a lot of yards against them in the bowl game. Let’s see how Florida responds to this Kentucky team that put up a lot of yards on them as well. I do think the offense should be able to control the ball more, if they are able to run the ball more. Guess what? That helps out the defense, and that makes the defense not be on the field as much. Overall, I like the favorable matchups for Florida in the game. We talk about the defense, but I still haven’t found a guy on the team that’s going to cover Demarcus Robinson. I hear Chris Westry, the freshman, is going to cover him, and I laugh.
Nick: Listen, 15 catches, 216 yards, 2 touchdowns, including the game winner. Kentucky had no answer for Demarcus. They have no answer for Demarcus. Their answer for Demarcus Robinson is the NFL draft, and that’s not going to help them on Saturday.
Andrew: Yeah. Good luck, buddy. He’s still catching balls. I think that the game overall sets up well for Florida if they come in and execute. If they have a ton of penalties in the game that’s going to hurt.
Nick: I think you would agree with me. It’s something that I wrote, and that I’ve said. The Florida team that came out last week with 12 penalties, shooting themselves in the foot, self-inflicted wounds, that football team might lose in Lexington. You can’t have a repeat performance of Saturday and say with 100% confidence that that football team that showed up last week will win in Lexington.
Andrew: No. If 12 penalties happen I think you’re looking at the Gators losing. That’s about the best I can say. I don’t think that you can say Florida wins with 12 penalties. I think I can without a shadow of a doubt that I highly doubt Florida has 12 penalties in this game. I don’t think they want a repeat of last week. I don’t think you’ll see many personal fouls, if any, after this game. Overall I think you’ll see a cleaner game with it.
One thing we haven’t even talked about is McElwain said that he’s going to play the hot handed quarterback. He’s not going to rotate. I think that’s a huge plus for this team, because whoever is playing well, whether it’s Treon Harris or Will Grier, I don’t have a dog in the race. Let the best man play ball. If Treon comes out, and he’s 10 for 10 and lighting the world up, let him play. If he fails, then you bring in Will. If Will starts the game, and he starts off 20 for 20, let him stay in the game. Let the hot man stay in the game and continue to score points. Don’t take the hot man out and allow Kentucky to get some momentum going and come back in this ball game.
Nick: That’s another thing is that you’re facing a confident team. Letting them hang around, so they’re going to come into the game confidently. The answer to that is to punch them in the mouth. Have something happen in the football game that creates doubt. What the coaching staff at Kentucky has done has built confidence in this football team. Kentucky has gone into games, Matt Jones said it, that the Hefty Lefty told him, we’ve gone into games back in the 90s, early 2000s where we were hoping that 30 things would bounce our way, and then maybe we’d have chance, after all 30 things fell into place perfectly. Kentucky’s coming into this game thinking, all we have to do is play our brand of football, and we’ll win.
They’re confident in creating something, something like that Brandon Spikes hit on Knowshon Moreno, something that sets the tone, that creates doubt in a player’s mind, like was coach feeding us a line all week, all off season? He told us this wasn’t the same Florida team, that Florida was down, that we were better. This looks a lot like it has the past 20 years. Creating that doubt early, if you don’t do that what happens is ECU, like last week, the longer a team who shouldn’t be able to matchup with you, the longer they can hang around the more the confidence builds. They look up in the 3rd quarter. It’s only a 10 point game. Look up in the 4th quarter. We’re only down 7. We could really do this. To create a scenario early in the game that puts doubt in the player’s minds I think will go a long way for Florida.
Andrew: Yeah. Come in, put your foot on their neck and don’t let go. That’s the best way to go about things is you have to go in and seize momentum, seize the momentum of the game, seize that from the very beginning. If they’re able to do that, then you walk on top probably. The one thing that you need to look at, in my opinion, is special teams. This is something we haven’t talked about very much. Special teams suck right now. Sorry to say that.
Nick: They are poor.
Andrew: Poor, and that’s not just field goal kicking. The punt game’s poor. The kickoff coverage is poor, and I say that on kickoff return and kickoffs. They’re poor.
Nick: The kickoff return is okay right now. It’s not where you want it to be. When Florida was at their peak, when Urban Meyer was here, Brandon James was one of the biggest offensive weapons when he was on special teams. Any time a team lined up for a kickoff.
Andrew: You were scared.
Nick: Any time a team lined up for a punt there was electricity that ran through your veins, because Brandon James could take that kick, that punt, to the house at any time. Right now Florida’s averaging 25.5 yards per kick return.
Andrew: And that sucks.
Nick: Fifth in the SEC, but there’s no thought of Antonio Callaway’s going to break this. Brandon Powell’s going to break this. Then conversely, Austin Hardin’s only had five kicks return, but Florida’s averaging 46 yards allowed on returns, and a lot of that is missed tackles. Greg Nord told us yesterday it’s hard to replicate full speed kickoff coverage in the off season, because we’re not going to tackle full speed on special teams, but there’s no excuse. There’s no excuse for missed tackles.
Andrew: Not at all. The thing is Florida tried to work on that. They tried to work on kick coverage by allowing Hardin to pooch a few. I’m just going to simply say this. Right now as bad as their kickoff coverage is, Austin, just boot the thing through the stadium. Agree or disagree?
Nick: That’s an easy answer. Guys, you showed me that you can’t cover kicks. Austin, we’re not even going to put the other 10 guys on the field. We’re going to trot you out there by yourself on kickoffs. Kick the ball into the stands, because I’m sick of watching the other 10 guys miss tackles.
Andrew: Exactly. That’s the easiest way.
Nick: I wouldn’t do that, in case he miss hits one. You don’t want Austin Hardin out there with 10 guys ready to take his head off and one guy with the ball.
Andrew: His confidence would really be the crap. That would be really, really bad. Nick, let’s talk a little bit about some other games in the country. First, let me get your thoughts real quick, LSU vs. Auburn this weekend?
Nick: I am so angry. I know fans love night games, love night kickoffs for their team, but I would love a nooner this week. I have no complaints about my job. Let’s get that out there. I watch football for a living. It’s a pretty good job if you can get it, but I would love to be able to cover Florida at noon, and then kick back with some Kentucky bourbon and watch these games, because there are some good games Week 3, and that’s the one I’m most excited about. I love Ole Miss. Ole Miss is putting up video game numbers. Sure, they haven’t played anybody yet, but it’s like what we say when we talk about Will Grier. Will Grier played against some of the most atrocious talent in high school, and all you can ask when you’re playing teams or players that are so inferior is to dominate, and Ole Miss is dominating.
Nick: They’re doing what you asked, and you can say Florida hasn’t played great opponents. They dominated one game and squeaked out another win. The argument that we don’t know what Ole Miss is, because they haven’t played anybody I don’t buy into that, because they are dominating who they play.
Andrew: Let’s see what they do against Alabama. I saw a stat today, 15-2 or something ridiculous like that, of games Saban has had to return, a team that beat him the year before returned to play them the next year. It was something ridiculous. Let me go back real quick, Auburn vs. LSU is a 3:30 kickoff on CBS. I’m going to go Auburn here. Get some revenge against LSU. Still don’t think LSU is a very good football team. I don’t care what anybody tries to sell.
Nick: I’m taking LSU in that game.
Andrew: Are you?
Nick: I’m taking the fighting Les Miles, Fournettes to win that ball game. Will Muschamp’s defense—
Andrew: They’re going to run. Fournette’s going to run.
Nick: Will Muschamp’s defense has been an absolute joke so far this year. Are you kidding me? That is not what I expected from Auburn’s defense with guys like Montravius Adams and Byron Cowart back there. Did not expect them to look the way they did. Leonard Fournette is a man.
Andrew: LSU should call themselves the FCS LSU Tigers, or FBS LSU Tigers, and then they would definitely win, because Will Muschamp doesn’t like those schools.
Nick: Yeah. If LSU can somehow find a way to attack the midline with Fournette they should be able to roll over in this game, but I’m taking LSU. I’m taking Fournette. I got the Tigers over the other Tigers.
Andrew: Okay. I’m going Auburn here. Alabama vs. Ole Miss, quick thoughts real quick. I’m going Crimson Tide. Crimson Tide wins 31-24.
Nick: I’m going to go, my head says pick Saban, because I can just imagine Nick Saban sitting at home watching replays non-stop of the Ole Miss fans rushing the field, tearing down the goal post, carrying the goal post through town. I can see him stewing over that. You brought up the stat of how well he does playing teams the next year, following a loss, but I like Chad Kelly. I like their defense with the Nkemdiches. I love Laquon Treawell. My gut tells me Ole Miss will pull it off in Alabama. I’m going with the Rebels.
Andrew: You’re smoking crack. You are smoking.
Nick: I’m going with Les, and I’m going with Hugh Freeze. We’ve picked against each other two in a row.
Andrew: You’re smoking crack. What are you smoking over there?
Nick: Don’t say that. I’m getting on a flight later today, and I don’t need TSA patting me down or giving me any cavity checks while I get on the plane to Lexington.
Andrew: Some Gainesville green over there. LSU? Over Auburn? Are you kidding me?
Nick: Taking it.
Andrew: Whatever, bud. Whatever. Boomer Sooner is all I can say. Let’s get back to the game. Here we go. Breakout players for the Gators this week. Your boy, Andrew Spivey, I was good again last week.
Nick: You were three last week, and I’m going to say I was 1 ½ out of 2 with an Anzalone being a not great because he left early.
Andrew: I’ll give you that. Let’s fire away. Give me three guys, Nicholas, to watch out for in the Gators came this weekend.
Nick: Since we cannot double up on players I’m glad you’re giving me the opportunity to go first. My first player is Demarcus Robinson. I’m taking Demarcus for a repeat performance. We’ve said it in this podcast already. Kentucky doesn’t have anybody to cover Demarcus Robinson. You saw when Florida was in a pinch, when the offense stalled, what did Doug Nussmeier and Jim McElwain dial up? Quick screen passes to Demarcus, and they were buying them in bulk. Four of them thrown to him on a single drive. I see Demarcus Robinson being a big part of this game plan and a big time performance for the second year in a row against Kentucky.
Andrew: Okay. So you want me to give you one now.
Nick: Yeah. It’s like a fantasy draft. You gave me the first pick, and I ran with the obvious choice.
Andrew: I’m going to give you the next one, and I’m going to go ahead and give you the beast. Kelvin Taylor has a breakout performance this week. He goes out. He silences the critics, and he gets the first 100 yard rushing game of the year for the Gators against Kentucky. 2 touchdowns, 100 and some yards rushing for KT this weekend.
Nick: I’m building a juggernaut here, went offense, going defense. Keanu Neal welcome to the squad. I’m going to predict a forced fumble and an interception for Keanu Neal in his first game back. I know that we put the quote out last time of what he said, but to read it is different than to actually be there and see him, see what his eyes looked like, what he looked like while he was saying it. I really see an intensity from Keanu Neal. He was almost hurt not being able to play these past couple games. Let me read this to you one more time, and I will just tell you the sincerity that backed up with it. Keanu Neal told us, “I’ve got so much built up in me. I was telling Brian Poole this earlier. I can’t wait until Saturday. I’ve got so much anger and just energy built up in me. I’m ready to go. I just can’t wait.” Keanu Neal is my second breakout player this week against Kentucky.
Andrew: Okay. I’m struggling here. My head says to take Vernon this week, but I’m going to go with a double up from last week. Marcus May, do me proud one more time, buddy, because I think you’re going to get picked on this weekend against a deep ball, Patrick Towles. Marcus May, have yourself a game for a game #2 this weekend. Marcus May, pick #2 for Team Andrew.
Nick: I am staying on the defensive side of the ball with Jonathan Bullard.
Andrew: There you go.
Nick: Bullard had a big game last week. All off season I really talked about, and I think I was right in saying, that he’s not really a big stats guy. He never was, even back in high school. Not a guy that was going to fill up the stats sheet with sacks, stuff like that. He has filled that role for Florida this year. He got a sack against New Mexico State. Two tackles for loss last week against East Carolina. He’s got three now on the year. Jonathan Bullard is coming through in a big way. He’s obviously a leader because of his age, and a vocal leader in the locker room, but his play is backing it up. Bullard has been a guy that has really taken some time to ease into a season. His freshman year he was much better in the second half of the season. Last year his last three games really made me feel like he would leave school early because of how well he played in Florida’s final three games, including the bowl game. He’s back, starting quick this year. Jonathan Bullard, my third player of the game. I think he remembers what Jojo Kemp said. I think he sees what Stanley Boom Johnson is doing this year.
Andrew: Boom Williams.
Nick: That’s my mistake. Boom, we’ll just call him Boom. I think he sees what Boom is doing, and he wants to stop that running attack for the Wildcats.
Andrew: You stole Jon Jon from me. So Jon Jon have a big game for me as well, buddy. Jake McGee, time to step up. Time to make up for all of the lost time you had last year and for not doing very much in the first two games. Greg Nord said you were going to get some catches. Let me see one get to the end zone. You’re going to probably not have C’yontai Lewis this weekend, so Jake McGee have yourself a ball game. Take care of the mismatches, because you’re going to have them. If Kentucky is smart, they will be double covering Demarcus Robinson.
Nick: Real quick on that is Florida’s not avoiding Jake. Will looked for him in the end zone, the pass was high, incomplete. One the very next play he finds Demarcus Robinson for a touchdown. It’s not like they’re not looking for Jake. Florida just has a lot of guys rotating. We won’t know, not that we won’t know, we will do our best to find out before Saturday, but C’yontai Lewis was out at practice on Wednesday with a club on his hand, had an injury during Tuesday’s practice. If C’yontai’s out there that tightens up that rotation at tight end, which puts Jake on the field more. You’ve already seen DeAndre Gooslby is being used differently than Lewis and McGee. Maybe even by injury you get McGee more opportunity. I like your pick there.
Andrew: X factor, real quick for me, is the center and the guards. Matt Elam’s a big old boy inside. If Florida can get some match up front, Gators have a big game, and that helps KT. Let’s go prediction time. You and I both stunk a pile up last week.
Nick: I think everybody did.
Andrew: Let’s get some revenge, buddy. Shoot me your score.
Nick: My score, I think we’re going to get into a little bit of a shootout. I’m going to have Kentucky 31, Florida 38.
Andrew: You scared me for a second. I was about to say you are really smoking crack.
Nick: You can attest to this, all off season I said Florida cannot sleep on this Kentucky team. I have agreed with what Mac has said this week in saying, this isn’t your grandfather’s, your uncle’s, your daddy’s Kentucky. This is a better Kentucky team. I don’t think they have as much skill as Florida does, but they are a better Kentucky team. Until Kentucky ends the streak I can’t pick them.
Andrew: I like that. Gators 31, Kentucky 21. Gators roll. Gators get out to a big 17-0 lead at half time. A lot of little comeback, but the Gators roll. Kelvin Taylor has a big 4th quarter, as I predicted, and the Gators go to 3-0 for Boomer Sooner week next week.
Nick: You guys are in for a treat next week. I don’t know how many podcasts we will do next week, but Andrew cannot wait for the Tennessee game. We might have to an entire podcast and make an explicit content warning with just you reading things that Tennessee fans tweeted you next week.
Andrew: All I can say is the beast will be unleashed against the Vols. I am ready. I am so ready to unleash against the Vols. So ready, Boomer Sooner. Bob Stoops. He took care of them last week. Gators, go get the W against Kentucky and Gator Country listen up for Vols week.
Nick: Andrew has overlooked Kentucky. Hopefully Jim McElwain and the Gator players don’t overlook Kentucky. As always, we will be in Lexington at the game. I’ll be at every game this year. Andrew will be in town for the game along with Tim Tebow and the SEC Nation crew. Follow along.
Andrew: Recruits will be wild next weekend, by the way.
Nick: Follow along at www.GatorCountry.com for all your latest, greatest breaking news, anything you want about the Florida Gators we’ve got it for you there. Andrew does a great job covering recruiting. Andrew, any final thoughts after your rant?
Andrew: Yes. Couple things. Want to see a big win. Recruiting should be big. Got to give a shout out real quick to the Gators two running back commits. Mark Thompson was named Juco player of the week after 4 touchdowns. My guy, Lamical Perine, was named 7A player of the week after 250 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. I’ll be in attendance tomorrow night at his game, Friday night, as they go for a spot for the playoffs in Week 5.
Nick: That sounds like an interview coming.
Andrew: That’s right.
Nick: From one of the Gator’s committed running backs.
Andrew: That’s right. Gator blood, just football blood, but Gator blood is in Perine. Good weekend for him. Overall hoping for a big game for the Gators, and, guys, please send me all Tennessee jokes for next week, because I love them. Nick, I know you’re going to love me next week, buddy, because I’m going to be fun next week. I may not sleep next week.
Nick: I’m going to have my hands full next week.
Andrew: I am going to have fun next week.
Nick: Gator Nation, Andrew is throwing class out the window, so I need you to take it up a notch. Be classy for him. As always, Gator Nation, stay classy.
Andrew: Boomer Sooner, boys. See you guys next week.