Vaught's Views: Two big questions answered at SEC media days
Florida quarterback John Brantley was surprised Wednesday when he learned the Gators had not lost to Kentucky since 1986. Brantley was representing Florida at the Southeastern Conference media days in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo)
n Is the 24-game winning streak over Kentucky a big deal to Florida players?
n Did South Carolina players feel like they overlooked Kentucky last year following a win over then No. 1 Alabama?
Quarterback John Brantley had some struggled last year with the Gators following Tim Tebow, but the Gators still took apart Kentucky — something they have done since UK’s last win in 1986.
“I am not sure why we beat Kentucky. I have no idea,” said Brantley.
Does he know how long it has been since the Gators lost to UK?
“I¿have no idea. How man?” Brantley asked.
He laughed when told the correct answer.
“Wow. That is incredible. I guess we just play well against them or something,” he said. “They are a good program. We must just have something on them. We just try to go win every game we can, but I am not quite sure what to even say about that streak because I didn’t even know there was a streak like that.”
Neither did defensive end William Green.
“I think it is about preparation and executing well as far as the game plan goes. It is as simple as that,” Green said when asked about always beating Kentucky. “We never go into a game thinking too little, or too much, of an opponent. You have to respect your opponent and we do that with Kentucky. They know they can play with us. They do have good players. We have some guys that might be a little faster at some positions, but it’s not like they don’t have a lot of good players.”
Like Brantley, he had no idea about the long win streak about Kentucky, an indication that perhaps the Gators do indeed just consider beating the Wildcats a mere formality much like Tennessee does (since the Volunteers started their win streak in 1985).
“We don’t talk about it too much, but we do not want to be that team that loses to Kentucky. Actually, I don’t think much about it and didn’t know all that much about it until I was asked. I just knew we had not lost in a long time,” Green said.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was 17-0 against UK, and the Gamecocks had not lost to the Cats since 1999, before Kentucky rallied to win last season one week after South Carolina had stunned then No. 1 Alabama, the defending national champion. South Carolina did still go on to win the SEC Eastern Division.
“There are a lot of teams also with targets going into this year. It’s not just South Carolina. The conference is loaded with great talent, great coaches. Everyone probably thinks they are going to win the SEC this year,” Robertson said.
But did South Carolina overlook UK¿last year or not?
“I don’t think we overlooked them. I think once we got into the game and we were up big, I think we just lost focus during the game,” Robertson said. “But we didn’t overlook them. We know things had not gone our way. I remember my freshman year we were 6-0 and didn’t win again. We know that any team, including Kentucky, could beat us. We just lost focus during the game. We didn’t overlook them before the game. They just beat us.
South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery, a preseason All-America candidate, had a slightly different view.
“I would say so. We did overlook them,” Jeffery said. “We were up 28-10 in the second half. We just overlooked any possibility that they could win. We thought we had the game. They just came out and took it because we thought we had it won. That’s a mistake we should not have made.”