Nick made mention in our preview of UK-Florida yesterday that the flu could play a factor in today’s matchup. At that point, we knew that Major Wright, Jeff Demps, Jermaine Cunningham, Joe Haden, and AJ Jones were either suffering from flu-like symptoms or had recovered already.
Things, however, have become just a bit more interesting today. We have learned from multiple reports that Tim Tebow, Joe Haden, Major Wright, and Riley Cooper were forced to travel on a separate jet, quarantined from their teammates due to the flu.
Obviously, when you see a report like this, your eyes are immediately drawn to Tim Tebow. Tebow is the star of stars not only on his Florida team, but really in the entire country. His team’s offense has been centered around him since his sophomore year, and few teams rely on their QB as much as the Gators.
A limited Tim Tebow boosts Kentucky’s chances today in a big way. If Tim Tebow is forced to sit (which is unlikely), redshirt John Brantley will take the reins. Although he is highly regarded, he is an unknown quantity, especially in comparison with Tebow. We’ll have more on Tebow as the day rolls on, but odds are that we won’t really know what to expect until we see whether #15 takes the opening offensive snap. Tebow has done basically everything anybody has ever done at the college level, and a Michael Jordan Game 5 against the Jazz is far from out of the realm of possibility.
Tim Tebow’s potentially limited play alone is enough to buoy the hopes of UK fans everywhere, but those other three players that traveled on that separate plane with Tebow are big time contributors. Riley Cooper has been the Gators most consistent receiving threat. Joe Haden is a candidate for first team All America at cornerback. Major Wright is another starter in the secondary.
UK is going to need all the help it can get against the #1 team in the nation, but it looks like the flu could be the 12th man. Now, it’s on the Commonwealth crowd to be the 13th man.