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Phillips institutes strategic command

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The Kentucky football team won't be trading in its helmets for military berets anytime soon, but new head coach Joker Phillips has instituted a military approach for his team.

His first step as coach of the Wildcat Program was to establish "Operation Win," a military-like strive for excellence in every possible area of Kentucky football. Phillips followed that by hiring strength and conditioning coach Ray "Rock" Oliver, one of the toughest, hard-nosed coaches in the business.

Now the army-like approach is taking place on the field. Instead of calling the kicking teams the "special teams," Phillips has changed the name to "special forces."

"I've always been intrigued by the military and how they can on one command get thousands of people moving in the same direction" Phillips said. "That's the approach that we're taking along with what we call 'Operation Win.' "

Every unit on the "special forces" will be renamed, although Phillips hasn't rolled out the complete military vernacular yet. So far, only the punt team has been renamed, which will be called "bombers."

"I don't know if it's a huge change," Phillips said. "We're emphasizing it more."

Phillips wasn't parading around the football field the first day of spring practice like a drill sergeant, but there was a noticeable difference in the approach of the team. New defensive line coach David Turner made his impact felt on the field almost immediately with an emotional, in-your-face teaching approach.

Between drills, players sprinted from place to place to speed up practice and condition between drills. Although not major, adjustments have been made in the coaching change from Rich Brooks to Phillips.

"There is a little bit of both (differences and similarities)," wide receiver Randall Cobb said. "With coach Brooks, he was a laidback guy. Coach Phillips is more of an up-tempo guy. There are some similarities with the way that practice is ran and the things that he's trying to do. There's also difference, like with the tempo."

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