The Gator defense ready for Snell, Kentucky
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Benny Snell told reporters during SEC Media Days that he was "the best running back in the SEC.”
Just don't tell Vosean Joseph that.
“I ain’t gonna lie to you. I feel like the Gators have got the best running backs," said the Florida linebacker. "All due respect to Kentucky, but ain’t nobody gonna sit there and disrespect our team like that.
“He’s alright," Joseph added about Snell. "It ain’t nothing we haven’t seen before. We’ve done played against Sony Michel and everybody. If you’re better than Sony Michel, you’ve gotta tell me that.”
Although Joseph may not agree in Snell's assessment, the Kentucky playmaker will be a threat the defense will need to neutralize come Saturday.
"[Snell is] a great running back, if you don't stop him and stop them running the football, you're going to be in for a long day," said Mullen. "You have got to put some emphasis on being able to stop the run."
"He’s a good player," said nickel Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. "He showed that he’s a good back, make good cuts, catch the ball out of the backfield. He an all-around player. So, our game plan’s really going around him this year. He’s going to carry the load, so we’ve just got to corral him, do what we got to do."
Snell is the first running back in Kentucky history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Last season, he led the league in rushing yards during and was one of just three backs to average at least 100 rushing yards per game.
Kentucky’s 299 rushing yards were the most in a season opener since 1993 and it was what propelled the team to beat Central Michigan last weekend.
Stopping the run will be crucial for the Gators.
"When you talk about a running team they’re really pretty physical running the ball," said defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. "They got a premier back in this league, and they really got guys behind him that can do it. So, they’ve got a staple of backs that are pretty impressive. I think their offensive line does a really good job as far as getting movement at the point of attack, understanding protections and how to block it and that kind of stuff."
Snell is not the only playmaker to keep an eye on this weekend, and the Gators can not afford to ignore Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson or his receiver group.
“There’s some good guys out there [at receiver]," said Florida cornerback Marco Wilson. "Some older dudes, seniors out there. I know they’ll be physical and up here they’ll be a lot smarter because they’ve been in the conference for a while."
"Quarterback wise the new guy is pretty athletic and can make some guys miss and can extend plays. Anytime that happens it gives you issues," added Grantham. "They got some big, some guys outside that got some size to em. That can go get the ball in tight quarters. So, I think those guys do a really good job with their offense."
"They have some playmakers," added Florida head coach Dan Mullen. "They have some guys on the outside. They got really a young, athletic quarterback, a guy that we recruited as well. He's obviously is dynamic. The problem comes if you put all your attention on one guy, it's the other guys, the other weapons that go out there and beat you."
"I think they’re physical," added Grantham. "I think they play the game the right way and we’ve got a challenge."