WYMT -- The Kentucky Wildcats (1-3) suffered a number of Gator bites in the loss to Florida (3-1), including, once again, not being able to convert on third down conversions, allowing little offense to take place.
In the last two games, the Cats have only been able to pick up one first down in the last 21 third-down tries, and several have been short yardage plays – 3rd and 1’s and 2’s.
"I don't know if we can completely change things,” first-year head coach Mark Stoops said. I think it comes down to execution. You have to be very precise and sometimes you have to be very tough if it's a short yardage situation and we need to get better at both."
This Saturday Kentucky will face a South Carolina Gamecock (3-1) team that has won 13-straight at home.
Perhaps UK can start improving with the running game. Joe Mansour, the field goal kicker, was the leading rusher in the Florida game with a 25-yard fake field goal touchdown-run. But Stoops, like any football coach, doesn't want – nor does he expect – to run fake field goals for his ground game.
" I think when you go back and look at the film we certainly could have run the ball more with the running backs inside, because we actually had some decent success,” Stoops said. “I think we could all look at the film and wish we had 70 snaps but we didn't. So I think that goes to a lot of things we need to do better, we need to coach better, we need to give 'em the ball a little bit more."
“Cocky” the Gamecock is waiting. Much like the Florida game, where the Wildcats were chomped up and spit out, they do not want to get attacked by the roosters in Columbia.
Meanwhile, Stoops doesn't want to be out-coached by South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, but he does have an appreciation for what Spurrier is doing with the program.
"Coach goes to the beach, same place Bob (Stoops) does, and Bob has some places and we see them every now and then. I always love seeing Coach Spurrier. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, only played against him once, and anytime you play an offensive mind like Coach Spurrier, you have to change things up.
“He's very good, great play caller, and they have great balance in their offense right now, so it will be a real challenge but it will be exciting."
The Good, the Bad and the Yikes! heading into the game versus No. 13 South Carolina:
The Good: South Carolina will be without their starting quarterback Connor Shaw. He's out 2-3 weeks with a sprained right shoulder.
The Bad: Mike Davis, the Gamecock’s starting sophomore running back is averaging just over seven yards per carry, adding six touchdowns too. In SC’s last game versus Central Florida, Davis ran for a career-high 167 yards.
The Yikes!: South Carolina has outscored Kentucky by a combined score of 92-20 the last two years.