Joker Phillips spoke to the media after his team's practice on Wednesday and spent much of his time talking about the injuries UK is facing. Wide receivers La'Rod King and Gene McCaskill and quarterback Morgan Newton were all limited, while cornerback Randall Burden did not practice, though he is expected to be able to play Saturday against Ole Miss.
Perhaps most concerning are injuries to running backs CoShik Williams and Raymond Sanders. Neither was able to participate fully in practice due to balky ankles, so Jonathan George and Brandon Gainer stepped in and got most of the reps. Phillips says the team will be ready no matter who is or isn't healthy.
"They're not going to cancel the game," Phillips said, laughing. "Maybe we can call them and ask if they can give us another week."
With Newton limited in practice, freshman Maxwell Smith took the vast majority of first team reps at quarterback. Phillips has noticed a bump in Smith's confidence following his strong performance against Mississippi State, which has translated into a more commanding presence on the practice field.
"I've never hear him tell anyone what to do because he's always been worried about what he's supposed to do," Phillips said. "But we saw a lot of that today."
As for the battle between Newton and Smith to start Saturday's game, the injury to Newton could force Phillips' hand.
"If (Newton) doesn't do much tomorrow, we'll have to make a decision," Phillips said.