Wildcats Begin Spring Practice with High Energy Level
March 23, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky football team began its spring practice Wednesday with head football coach Joker Phillips loving his team's energy level inside the Nutter Field House.
"For the first day, I really liked the effort level," head coach Joker Phillips said. "I think that (stood out) from today, that our guys gave a really good effort."
Phillips, who is entering his second season as the head coach of the Wildcats, said the execution from the players should improve as practice progresses. Given that the Wildcats spent a majority of the day installing new strategies both offensively and defensively, Phillips said he was pleased.
"The execution was not always there and that is understandable as we are putting in some new things defensively and our offense has a couple of new wrinkles," Phillips said. "Also because we have a lot of young guys that we are trying to bring up to speed. Again, the effort was the biggest thing that you saw as we were flying around and having fun."
Kentucky started practice outside at the Nutter Training Facility before heavy rains moved into the Lexington area, forcing practice to be moved inside. The Wildcats practiced for just over two hours clad in shorts and helmets and are expected to have their first practice in full pads Saturday.
"We will go pads on Saturday," Phillips said. "You have three days of shorts that you have to do. The first two (practices) have to be in shorts and then Saturday we will be in pads and get some contact with them."
Phillips said the final practice in shorts and helmets will be Monday while the team is still installing a majority of the offensive and defensive plans. In the past, Kentucky has waited to use the third day of shorts for the practice before the Blue/White game, however Phillips felt this year it would be more beneficial to do it now.
The Kentucky coach spoke highly about the play of the younger Wildcats in the first spring practice, including freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith. Smith, a native of Van Nuys, Calif., signed with the Wildcats in 2010 before greyshirting and then joining the Kentucky for five practices before the BBVA Compass Bowl.
"I was pleased with him," Phillips said. "The guy has only been here five practices for the bowl game and has been here half a semester, so a month and a half. I was pleased with him how much he knew. He has been here and got around some of our players and he is the type of guy that jumps in and takes charge."
UK will continue practice on Friday at 9 a.m. ET, which is open to the media and general public. Practices will be held at the Nutter Training Facility but can be moved indoors in case of bad weather.
Media Advisory, Number Change From Media Guide: There has been a number change from the spring media guide issued Tuesday. Quarterbacks Jacob Russell and Maxwell Smith have exchanged numbers - Smith is now wearing 11 and Russell is now wearing 17.