FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2018, file photo, Florida head coach Dan Mullen, center, runs onto the field with his players before an NCAA college football game against Charleston Southern, in Gainesville, Fla. No. 25 Florida (1-0) is seeking its 32nd consecutive victory against Kentucky (1-0) when the teams open Southeastern Conference play in the Swamp on Saturday. It’s the longest active streak in an uninterrupted series and the fourth-longest in NCAA history. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on Loss to Kentucky

Junior defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson spoke to the media on Monday on how losing to Kentucky impacted the team going forward and what they learned heading into Saturday’s game against Colorado State.

Mind Games

Gardner-Johnson was clearly disappointed with his team’s performance last Saturday against the Wildcats. Stopping the run was clearly an issue the entire game. The junior noted that tackling, especially on third downs, was a glaring issue.

The Wildcats converted nine of the 13 third-down opportunities they had. Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. also rushed for 175 yards on 27 carries and caught two passes for 8 yards.

Coach Dan Mullen said he counted at least 20 missed tackles in the game and how that will be a priority in practice before the game against Colorado State. Gardner-Johnson made it clear that this tackling issue was not physical. He said that the defense was mentally not ready for the game.

In addition, the junior noted that while Snell Jr. played well, the problem was on the defense and how it simply did not execute the plays it should have.

Controlling Their Destiny

Gardner-Johnson said that while the team is obviously disappointed in the 31-game win streak against Kentucky is over, the team still controls its own destiny and will be ready against Colorado State.

The Cocoa, Florida, native mentioned that this Colorado State team presents a nice test for the Gators’ defense.

While the Rams have a 1-2 record on the year, their win was over the Gators’ conference rival Arkansas on Sept. 8. In that game, Colorado State senior quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels stood out. He threw 389 yards and two touchdowns, and, as a result, his team beat the Razorbacks 34-27.

Gardner-Johnson said the dangerous quarterback can certainly make the defense pay if it comes out flat again.

Florida welcomes Carta-Samuels and the Colorado State team on Sept. 15 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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