Saturday, September 25, 1999

UK's goal: Beat Gators, not stay close

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Florida coach Steve Spurrier knows the days of beating Kentucky 73-7 and 65-0 are over.

        With offensive-minded coach Hal Mumme in his third year at the helm, “They're going to score points and move the ball every game,” Spurrier said this week, as his third-ranked Gators prepared to face Kentucky today at Commonwealth Stadium (7:30 p.m., ESPN). “They've got a good plan. They know what they're doing.”

        Under Mumme, the Wildcats' efforts against Florida have been more respectable than the aforementioned debacles of 1994 and 1996. But they've still been losses — 55-28 in 1997 and 51-35 last year.

        It's been 13 years since the Wildcats (2-1, 0-0 SEC) beat the Gators (3-0, 1-0) and six since they lost by less than double digits.

        Though some Kentucky fans would probably be happy with a close loss, Mumme said margin of defeat means nothing to him.

        “It's not very important to have a close game,” he said. “It's very important for us to win against them. If we don't win, I don't (care) whether it's close or not.”

        For Florida, coming off a big 23-21 home win over Tennessee, Spurrier said he won't tolerate a letdown.

        “We train year-round for 12 or 13 games. Year-round these guys practice, lift weights, spring practice ... How can you not be excited for your only 12 or 13 hours of the year? That's our 12, 13 hours to try to play the very best we can, simple as that,” he said.


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