Florida benefited from a dominant front seven to beat UMass in its season opener 24-7. This “One-on-One” matchup is another evaluation of groups instead of individuals.
Let’s go to work:
FLORIDA FRONT SEVEN
Overview: Florida is a nationally ranked, Top 10 defense. It finished 2015 ranked 8th in the country yet 4th in the Southeastern Conference. A week ago the Gators allowed 7 points and just 187 total yards (46 rushing, 141 passing) against UMass in a 24-7 home win. Advance, line- of-scrimmage statistics included 5 QB sacks and 5 tackles for loss.
DE - 94 Bryan Cox Jr, 6’3, 268
NT - 91 Joey Ivey, 6’,3 295
T - 57 Caleb Brantley, 6’2, 314
DE - 17 Jordan Sherit, 6’4, 250
SLB - 13 Daniel McMillian, 6’1, 219
MLB - 40 Jarrad Davis, 6’2, 240
WLB - 34 Alex Anzalone, 6’3, 244
Tale of the Tape: Defensive Line, 6’3 281. Linebackers, 6’2 234
Accolades: Phil Steele has the Florida defensive line ranked 7th in the nation. LB Jarrad Davis is a 1st Team All American, All SEC and is projected to be the first linebacker selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.
KENTUCKY OFFENSIVE LINE
Overview: Kentucky rolled up 377 yards in the first half in its opening loss to Southern Miss. However, the Cats only managed 56 second half yards that led to zero points and three turnovers. UK totaled 433 yards for the game: 337 passing, 96 rushing. Considered a preseason strength, the interior offensive line provided little push or inside run production a week ago. Tackles Cole Mosier and Kyle Meadows allowed second half pressure but played efficiently in quarters one and two. In a game with contrasting results divided by halves, this “one-on-one” matchup against a formidable and stout Gator front seven will heavily factor in the final score.
RT - 73 Kyle Meadows, 6'5, 302
RG - 69 Ramsey Meyers, 6’4, 320
C - 72 Jon Toth, 6’5, 310
LG - 68 Nick Haynes, 6’3, 308
LT - 74 Cole Mosier, 6’6, 335
Tale of the Tape: OL average--6’4, 315
Accolades: Center Jon Toth is twice named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List as well as being an All SEC selection. Toth is a projected NFL center.
What does all this mean?
In a myriad of disappointment, the Wildcat’s inability to run the football against Southern Miss ranks near the top. The Cats failed to advance the line-of-scrimmage against a USM defensive line that averaged a little over 251 pounds. Size, speed, and skill of this week’s opponent will exponentially increase. It’s imperative the UK big fellas to improve in both execution and production.
The Gators ran up and down the field during the Fun-N-Gun days of the Head Ball Coach. This year’s UF team relies on defense and special teams. Linebacker Jarrad Davis is a good as they come. The senior is a productive and disruptive football player. Florida has adequate depth to specialize due to situation. Pass rush specialists CeCe Jefferson and Jabari Zuniga (2 QB sacks and 2 TFL vs. UMass) are not listed as starters but will factor in certain passing situations.
Blunt and to the point; Kentucky must successfully run the football to win football games. In addition, it has to protect sophomore quarterback Drew Barker. Both will be tested on Saturday. Florida is a nationally ranked defense for a reason. Kentucky will have its hands full in the Swamp. In this one-on-one matchup the advantage goes to the Florida Gators.