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Florida won’t overload defense to stop Benny Snell

Benny Snell (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Central Michigan had a player say he didn’t even know who Kentucky running back Benny Snell was before he ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns in UK’s season-opening win over Central Michigan.

Now Florida coach Dan Mullen says he won’t overload his defense Saturday night to try and stop Snell, who has rushed for over 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons.

“If you put all your attention on one guy, it’s the other guys, the other weapons that (hurt you),” Mullen said Monday.

This is Mullen’s first year as Florida’s head coach but he faced Kentucky eight straight years when he was coach at Mississippi State.

“You look at Kentucky and what Mark (Stoops) has done there, and you look, even at game one, you see what kind of team they are,” he said. “They fall behind in game one (against Central Michigan), in the home opener, in a game I think most people think they should win. You watch their team, no panic.

“It’s a team that has expectations. They know how to win, have learned how to win and what it takes to come back and win the game. They have a lot of talented players, a lot returning starters and very veteran defense with guys who have played a lot of football. They have some playmakers on offense, great running back. A bunch of guys out there on the perimeter. So, it’ll be a great challenge.”

Mullen noted the “high expectations” that Kentucky has this year but the Cats have also lost 31 straight times to Florida. A few times Kentucky had a great chance to win — 1993, 2014 and 2017 were the best – but every time the Gators still won.

“It’s 31, right? It’ll be 32 after Saturday,” Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson said.

Mullen wasn’t that brash but he doesn’t want to be the coach when the streak ends.

“I imagine someday the streak will be broken,” Mullen said at his weekly press conference Monday. “That’s the nature of sports. … I don’t want to be the one who does it. This is my 14th year in this league. If you’re in this league you better buckle it up.”

3 comments

  1. Bet he does.
    If you stop, or at least slow down the run game from UK, victory will be decided early. I hope the UK qbs can at least be a threat with the pass; if not, this game will not even be close.

    1. Sure he will. Stop the run and you stop UK. It’s that simple from what I saw Sat. Florida will stack the box until UK can find a way to complete some passes, especially deep. They are licking their chops to go against inexperienced UK signal callers with no SEC experience.

      UK receivers have to do a better job this coming Saturday and help their QB. Get open and then win some one on one battles. For Wilson, the projected starter, the ball has to come out quicker IMO. If UK has the kind of passing day against Florida as they did against CM, they lose.

      Also, I hope UK comes out with some fight and fire, not timid and uptight. Play inspired football, and have fun. I know the Gators will, count on it. Florida will run up the score too. Stoops coached teams IMO don’t seem to have the killer instinct. When Stoops gets a team down he lets up. But every team UK faces this year will run up the score, been that way for years. This Florida bunch will laugh and tell jokes about 31 straight. and brag about making it 32. The announcers will talk about the streak, and brag on the Gators for such a feat as well. UK gets no respect on the grid iron, none, despite what Mullen said here.

      One last thing. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be packed Sat night. Florida fans won’t have to watch their Gators play before a half empty stadium like the Cats had to endure this past Saturday because of decisions made beyond their control.

      Time to end it Cats!!! Time to earn some respect and lay the wood.

  2. it seems to me that our receivers have always had trouble creating space or getting open since Stoops has been here.

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