Wildcats Have First Practice in Pads

March 26, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky football team had its first full-pads practice of the spring with a two and one-half hour workout Saturday morning at the Nutter Training Facility.

"Spring" practice was a misnomer, as temperatures in the 30s and strong winds led to winter-like wind chill conditions.  The Wildcats went through positions drills before coming together for some 9-on-9 running-game practice and 11-on-11 passing-game work.  Led by the veteran offensive line, the offense seemed to run the ball well in 9-on-9.  However, hampered by the wind and cold, the offense was inconsistent in the 11-on-11 passing session.

"Today wasn't very good, in my opinion,"  Coach Joker Phillips said afterward.  "We weren't real efficient in the passing game, which is what we have to get better.  That's one of our goals coming into the spring and we were not very good in the throwing game.  You can't line up and run the football every down.  You have to be able to throw and catch and be more efficient in that area.

"The same thing on defense.  We have to be able to stop the run and at times I don't think we played the run as well as we can.  Those are two areas that we have to get better, stopping the run and also being more efficient in the passing game and I don't think we did very good with that today.

"Spring is still young  guys are still learning a lot, especially on defense.  A lot of young guys are working on offense.  There's some young backs that put the ball on the ground that we have to get better. We have to come out on Monday and be better than we were today," Phillips summarized.  

Spring practice is always a time for experimentation and one of the defensive looks has strong safety Winston Guy playing close to the line of scrimmage and cornerback Martavius Neloms moving into a deeper role at safety.  Neloms had an interception during the 11-on-11 portion of practice.

"We think he (Neloms) is probably a better over-the-top player (at safety)," Phillips said.  "We think Winston's probably a better player 'in the box' (close to the line of scrimmage).  We're trying to get our athleticism on the field.  Winston, at 215 pounds, is really a 'Will' (weakside) linebacker type of size, so we'll play him a little closer to the ball.  Safeties are nothing more than linebackers when you put them down in the box.  He'll play more in the box than he has been. He won't play over the top as much."

Spring practice continues Monday morning when the Wildcats host the fourth 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.