Phillips Pushing Wildcats to Practice Faster to Increase Reps

March 28, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team held practice No. 4 of the spring season on a beautiful Wednesday morning at the Nutter Training Center. After practice, Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips talked about how he likes his team’s effort and desire in the two-and-a-half hour practice, but he still sees room for improvement.

“Our guys tried to get better today, we didn’t always in every drill get better, but we tried,” Phillips said. “That is what I am seeing, is that we are definitely trying. We are pressing the tempo as coaches and the players are starting to respond. We aren’t always getting better, but they are trying and that is what is encouraging. We want to see effort, effort, effort. Every day we try to give them a word (or phrase) and today’s was ‘press tempo.’”

Phillips emphasized the need for increased tempo in order to keep practice moving at a fast pace. The head coach said the faster the team practices, the more repetitions they will get during practice time. And with this young group, every snap is important.

“We have to continue to get more reps because we have a lot of young guys that need reps,” Phillips said. “Anytime we have a couple of false starts, those are keeping us from getting two reps. We had way too many false starts and way too many tipped balls (today). We have to get hands down on offense, but with that the defense did a good job of getting their hands up and getting balls deflected.”

Phillips talked after practice about several position battles that are starting to take shape, mentioning how the players at those positions have stepped up to compete at a high level so far this spring.

“There are some pretty good position battles, especially at linebacker, the secondary, wide receiver, those guys are starting to compete,” Phillips said. “Our receivers and defensive backs are competing against each other too, and linebackers are going against tight ends. There is some heavy competition at the tight end position too. Lot of experience but there is a lot of competition there too.”

UK President Eli Capilouto stopped by the practice fields for the first time this spring to take in some football action. The UK President talked briefly with the team to introduce himself and give encouragement.

“How much he is for us,” Phillips said when asked what the UK President said to the team before practice. “Dr. Capilouto is an old football player, he won a state championship at guard. He is very supportive of our players and he is a down-to-earth guy who just wanted to watch some football today. We wanted him to say hello to the team.”

The Wildcats will resume spring practice Friday and Saturday.