One might not expect a player from a team beaten so often and so thoroughly by Florida over the years as Kentucky has been to be talking trash heading into the two schools' 2014 meeting on the gridiron. But Kentucky running back JoJo Kemp did just that on Tuesday, per The Courier-Journal:
"A couple of my (high school) teammates actually went to Florida, so I'm familiar with a lot of those guys," Kemp said. "It's going to be fun walking out with a victory and rubbing it in their faces."
Ah, the arrogance of youth.
Kemp is from DeLand, and DeLand High, the same city and school that produced Mike Gillislee, Florida's last 1,000-yard rusher, and so he most certainly knows Florida and the Gators well — even if he doesn't have any love for them.
Although he went on several recruiting visits to Florida, Kemp said he never really dreamed of being a Gator.
"I was actually a Miami (Hurricanes) fan growing up," he said, "So I never really liked the Gators."
(Going on "several recruiting visits" to Florida in a year when the Gators took Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane as their running backs is proof of nothing, by the way.)
Kemp's confidence is to be lauded: The games we call sports are better with the color and seasoning of exuberance, even if it is tinged with irrationality. Florida hasn't just beaten Kentucky 27 straight times, the longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, after all: The Gators have pounded Kentucky, winning just six of those 27 games by single digits, and never winning by fewer than seven points at home.
Under Will Muschamp, whose program has been criticized at times for failing to powder overmatched foes, Florida's still won its three games with Kentucky by an average of 31 points per contest.
And in Florida's last five home games against Kentucky, spanning the tenurse of Ron Zook, Urban Meyer, and Muschamp, the Gators have won by 35.2 points per contest.
Plainly, it has not been close. And Kemp predicting a victory is close to lunacy, even if Kentucky again appears to be on the rise — as it was, briefly, under Rich Brooks, and then under Joker Phillips.
I enjoy this sort of boastfulness in sports, because it adds color.
I also enjoy when it doesn't get backed up: I like it when people have to eat their words.
Update: Mike Taylor has some words for JoJo:
J_Kemp3 oh jo-joooooo— Michael R Taylor (@theMiketaylor51) September 10, 2014
Heard u were talkin shit but your Kentucky's 3rd string back pic.twitter.com/Gmf7uVDtAV— Michael R Taylor (@theMiketaylor51) September 10, 2014
(I believe Kemp is, in fact, Kentucky's second-string back ... but Bralon Heard, who had just two carries in the Wildcats' win over FCS Tennessee-Martin, has more rushing yards than Kemp does this season.)