Five Florida Gators the Kentucky Wildcats Won't Be Able to Stop

Joe MorganSenior Analyst ISeptember 21, 2010

Five Florida Gators the Kentucky Wildcats Won't Be Able to Stop

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    After a 31-17 win against conference rival Tennessee in their SEC opener, the Florida Gators will return to "The Swamp" to face the Kentucky Wildcats for a chance to improve their record to 4-0.

    While the Gators are still searching for an offensive identity, there's no denying that the defense has been stellar and that the struggling offense still boasts several dangerous playmakers.

    With a talented Kentucky team coming to Gainesville, Florida will have to make sure that they don't look past the Wildcats and ahead to their matchup with No. 1 Alabama just yet.

    Here are five Gators who will be motivated, ready to go, and very difficult for the Kentucky Wildcats to stop Saturday.

Jeff Demps, Running Back

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    While he didn't exactly torch the Volunteers' defense Saturday (26 carries, 78 rushing yards), running back Jeff Demps proved that he can be a reliable bruiser for his team as well as its most explosive player.

    Demps has been a force to be reckoned with in 2010, racking up 59 touches for an SEC-leading 590 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

    So, in a nutshell, whenever the ball is in Demps' hands, he moves the chains, and that should scare opposing defenses to death.

    An additional concern for Kentucky should be Demps' performance against the Wildcats during his first two seasons as a Gator.

    In 2008's 63-5 blowout, Demps registered 117 total yards, one receiving touchdown, and blocked a Wildcat punt that led to a Gator touchdown, and in last season's 41-7 victory, Demps racked up 101 yards of total offense.

    However, now that Demps is Urban Meyer's most dangerous offensive weapon, expect him to have a monster game against Kentucky in "The Swamp."

Ahmad Black, Safety

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    Whether it's his new leadership role on the team, being snubbed for the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list, or a combination of both, senior safety Ahmad Black has been playing motivated football this season.

    He currently leads Florida with 24 tackles (16 solo) and has picked off three passes for the Gators, nearly returning one of them for a touchdown against Miami (OH).

    However, he'll face his biggest challenge of the season in Kentucky senior quarterback Mike Hartline, who currently leads all SEC quarterbacks with a 72 percent completion percentage and ranks third with 680 passing yards.

    In two head-to-head matchups with Hartline, Black has one interception and six tackles (three solo), while the Wildcats quarterback has just 118 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.

    With Black patrolling the field, Kentucky's wide receivers will think twice before coming across the middle.

Jon Bostic, Linebacker

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    When seniors Brandon Spikes and Ryan Stamper played their final games for Florida in last season's Allstate Sugar Bowl, they left a huge hole in the Gators' linebacker corps.

    Fortunately, the emergence of talented freshmen Jelani Jenkins and Jon Bostic have made linebacker a strength for the 2010 Florida defense.

    Bostic has had a stellar season for the Gators so far, intercepting two passes and recording 19 tackles (10 solo), good enough for the second-best mark on the team.

    Bostic had a phenomenal game against the Tennessee Volunteers, recording eight tackles (five solo) and picking off a potential go-ahead touchdown pass early in the second quarter.

    If he can perform that well as a freshman in front of a hostile crowd at Neyland Stadium, Bostic may become one of the best linebackers in the SEC by season's end.

    Look for Bostic to continue to make his claim as an elite SEC linebacker as he disrupts Kentucky's running game and puts constant pressure on Wildcat quarterback Mike Hartline all day Saturday.

Deonte Thompson, Wide Receiver

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    Now that Florida has played its first three games of the season, it's clear that Gators quarterback John Brantley's favorite target is wide receiver Deonte Thompson.

    Coming into this season, Thompson was the team's top returning pass catcher, and he fully intended to have a breakout year in 2010.

    Things didn't start well for Thompson in the opener against Miami (OH), as he dropped an early touchdown pass and only caught three passes for 24 yards against the RedHawks.

    However, Thompson has improved steadily since, and he currently leads the Gators with 13 catches and 162 receiving yards.

    One feat Thompson has yet to accomplish in 2010? Catch a touchdown pass.

    With the way he is improving each week, don't be surprised if Thompson finds the end zone on multiple occasions against the Wildcats Saturday.

Justin Trattou, Defensive End

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    Senior Justin Trattou makes big plays when the Florida Gators need it most.

    Trattou first came up big late in last season's 24-14 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia.

    Clinging to a slim 17-14 lead, Trattou, who was playing with a torn left biceps, picked off Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia deep in Florida territory and returned it 53 yards to South Carolina's 26-yard line, setting up a Tim Tebow rushing touchdown that put the game on ice.

    Trattou made another big play in a 38-14 victory over the South Florida Bulls in the second game of the season.

    After a tough first half, the Gators made a couple of big plays early in the second half to take a 21-7 lead on the Bulls.

    However, Trattou sealed the deal for Florida, intercepting a pass from South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels and scoring a 35-yard touchdown to eliminate any chance of a comeback by the Bulls.

    With nine tackles (six solo) and one sack this season, watch Trattou, a team captain, continue to lead his teammates by example by having a great game against Kentucky in "The Swamp."

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