Phillips, Players Excited about Full-Pads Practice Saturday

March 25, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – With two spring practices already under its belt, the Kentucky football team will trade in the shorts for full pads when the Wildcats return to the Nutter Training Facility practice fields Saturday for its first full-pad practice of the spring season.

Kentucky concluded the second of three scheduled practices in shorts Friday, working on a variety of different techniques and schemes. Head coach Joker Phillips said after practice that he was excited about the effort he has seen out of the Wildcats in the first two days of practice and hopes it continues Saturday when the pads are laced up for the first time.

“Overall, it was OK,” Phillips said about practice Friday morning. “The effort again today was great. We have some guys giving some really good effort. We will get to see tomorrow in pads who is going to be playing physical. I am looking forward to see which guys are going to come out playing physical tomorrow.”

Phillips’ theme is that spring practice should be about trying to get better every day and becoming more consistent. Although Phillips said the Wildcats improved in some areas on Friday, he still wants to see UK get better in other areas, including the passing game.

“Spring practice is about taking advantage of the opportunity to get yourself better,” Phillips said. “I thought that we got better in some areas and in some areas I thought that we stayed the same. We definitely have to get better at being more efficient in the passing game and we also have to play with our weight over our toes. We had way too many guys slipping and sliding (today) and that comes from playing too high. We have to play a little bit lower than we did today.”

Considering that Phillips has not yet seen the Wildcats practice full speed and in full pads, he has yet to get a feel for how the team stacks up against each other offensively and defensively. Phillips is expecting to have a better evaluation of how far along both sides are after Saturday’s practice.

“It is hard to say in non-pads who looked better (offense or defense),” Phillips said. “We are really just trying to work on first and second steps. It is hard to stick on blocks (without pads) and it is easier to get off blocks when you are on defense and not in pads. Tomorrow, it will be different. We will get to see a better evaluation of who is ahead of who, and which side is ahead of which.”

Spring practice continues Saturday morning when the Wildcats host the third of seven open practices this spring. The first seven practices are open to the media and the general public. Kentucky is set to take the field around 9 a.m. ET time at the Nutter Training Facility, however practice may be moved indoors to the Nutter Field House if bad weather moves into the Lexington area.