Former Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter is in his second season as defensive coordinator at Kentucky.
Minter was at Commonwealth Stadium a year ago when the Gators rolled up 405 yards rushing in a 48-10 win over the Wildcats. The performance stands as the sixth-best rushing performance in Florida history as Jeff Demps (157 yards) and Chris Rainey (105 yards) both eclipsed 100 yards and Mike Gillislee scored on a 60-yard run.
Demps and Rainey are now in the NFL. Considering that fact, one might think Minter is less concerned about Florida’s rushing attack than last season. Think again.
“They have a lot of different kinds of ways to run the ball, which is challenging,’’ Minter told reporters Tuesday. “They run right up the middle. They run the power running game much like Western Kentucky did. That’s the sign of a physical team when they try to do those kinds of things. They also run a lot of jet-sweep mentality plays where they’re coming from the outside with their wide receivers and their hybrid athletes.
(Photo: Gillislee in last season's game against Kentucky).
“They have a lot of ways to attack you in the rushing game and they’re getting production even from a wildcat quarterback who took one for 80 last week against a solid defensive team in Tennessee. They are very diverse, much more so than what I remember in the past, so the challenges are great.”
Gillislee is the workhorse in Florida’s backfield. He leads the SEC in rushing with 346 yards. But as Minter alluded to, receiver Solomon Patton has added a wrinkle to UF’s run game on those jet sweeps and F-Back Trey Burton, who scored six touchdowns against Kentucky two years ago, scored on runs of 80 and 14 yards from the wildcat formation at Tennessee.
Florida is third in the SEC in rushing, averaging 232.7 yards per game. Kentucky is 13th in the league stopping the run, surrendering 188 yards per game.
First-year offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s impact is noticeable on film according to Minter, who admires what Boise State has done on offense over the past decade.
“That is really one of the better offenses I’ve ever seen,’’ Minter said of Boise State. “I’m talking execution, diversity, razzle-dazzle. Well, that’s now what [Florida] is. It’s Boise State’s offense with really fast players. They offer up a lot of weapons, a lot of challenges.”