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.”