UK will have their hands full with upgraded Gators
Posted at 12:51 p.m. on Monday, September 5, 2022
If Kentucky wants to win in Florida on Saturday night, the British defense will have to find a way to contain quarterback Anthony Richardson.
“He’s the most talented quarterback Florida has had since Tim Tebow. I absolutely think he’s the most intriguing prospect in that role in all of college football this year,” ESPN college football analyst Dan Orlovsky said of Richardson before leading the Gators to a 29-26 win. against No. 7 Utah last week.
Richardson rushed for three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 1 minute and 25 seconds left. Two of the scores came on play-option plays where he outmaneuvered the defense. He finished the game with 168 passing yards and 106 rushing yards.
“I feel like it boosted the confidence of some guys. A lot of people doubted us, that’s how the world works, some people like you and some people don’t. So we fought and won the game,” Richardson said after coach Billy Napier’s first game victory in Florida.
Now Kentucky arrives in Florida hoping to win as they did in 2018 – the UK’s first victory in Gainesville in more than 40 years. Now Kentucky will be looking for back-to-back wins over Florida for the first time since 1976-77.
“After what we saw tonight; Can’t wait to spot Florida QB Anthony Richardson live next week against Kentucky. Richardson vs. UK QB Will Levis is the best QB scouting game of the first month of the CFB season,” college football analyst Todd McShay said on Twitter after Florida and UK both won their stalemate matches. ‘opening.
Levis completed 21 of 32 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns with an interception against Miami of Ohio. It was his fourth-best total in the UK — he threw for 419 yards against New Mexico State, 372 against Tennessee and 367 against Louisiana-Monroe in 2021.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops did nothing to dampen the national/local hype about Levis at the start of the season, but, as usual, he was upfront and honest in his assessment of the game. of his quarterback in the first game.
Overall he thought it was good with some “muddy reads” at times.
“He threw out a few that weren’t accurate in terms of his standards and our standards,” Stoops said. “He is who he is. He will get better and better. When he had the time and was in the pocket, you would see him deliver the football with great arm strength and precision that not many people have.
Stoops said Levis sometimes tries to take “something” out of his throws, which leads to inaccuracies. Don’t wait for him to do this in Florida.
“He’s tearing it up and some people can’t stand it. We have to solve this problem,” Stoops said.
Former Great Britain running back Anthony White was concerned that Levis would be throwing his back foot more than normal, especially since the off-season focus was supposed to be on improving his overall mechanics.
“He had to move around and throw a lot of different angles,” White said. “He threw a lot of what I call non-mechanical pitches, so it worries me going to Florida.”
Levis will need to be at his best for the UK to win in Florida, just like Terry Wilson was when Kentucky won there in 2018. The swamp has more than 90,000 fans and Napier became Florida’s first coach to program history to beat a ranked team in its Florida. beginning. This will only increase the hype for Saturday’s matches as Florida fans were already furious that the UK was picked to finish ahead of the Gators in the SEC East. Florida fans were particularly angry last week when former coach Dan Mullen picked the UK’s second place in the East behind Georgia.
“I was intimidated as a rookie going there,” said former British defensive back Littleton Ward, a four-year-old man of letters from 1994 to 1997. “Florida will try to bully you. You have to bring physics. You have to tap into your manhood to go to Gainesville. They’re going to try to bully you in every shape and fashion. You can’t let that happen.
“You have to train on a whole new level this week and the coaches have to turn up the heat to make them uncomfortable to get ready to play in Florida.”
And based on what Richardson did to the Utah defense, Kentucky defenders will be very uncomfortable chasing him, just like the Florida defense will be pressured by Levis. in this battle of marquee quarterbacks.