Football Finishes Installation For the Week

March 30, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips and the Kentucky football team held two-hour, 10-minute practice Friday morning at the Nutter Training Center, completing offensive and defensive installation for the week before a half practice/half scrimmage session Saturday.

“Today was really our last day this week that we will install, so heads were swimming a little bit,” Phillips said. “We installed a little bit more today. Tomorrow we won’t install, but we will go through some individual (periods) and try to put the ball down and scrimmage about half an hour. We can only scrimmage (for the entire practice) three times and we will do that the last three weekends.”

Phillips said Saturday’s mini-scrimmage will be a good measure to how the Wildcats are doing after two weeks of practice and what they need to work more on moving forward.

“We want to see if we are playing fast, playing physical, playing with great fundamentals and good technique,” Phillips said. “Overall, good day today and we will see how we put everything together (Saturday) with no coaches on the field and when they are just relying on their fundamentals, technique and assignments. We are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Phillips has been very pleased so far in spring practice with how the secondary has looked. The head coach said the team has a chance to be both physical and athletic this season.

“Probably the secondary, because I like the way they look and the way they train in the offseason,” Phillips said when asked what group has impressed him the most this spring. “We have a chance to have a big, physical secondary that is still athletic and still has some length to them. These guys have some girth to them, but they are also very athletic. I am really pleased with those guys. They are working really hard and working well together. You have to be able to communicate on the back end or you will have some busts. I like the way they are talking and the way they are working.”

Individually, Phillips has been very happy with the leadership abilities of offensive lineman Larry Warford and injured defensive end Collins Ukwu. The head coach said those two seniors are being vocal on the field, while several underclassmen have also done well in that department.

“Larry Warford is a guy that is doing a really good job of leading for us,” Phillips said. “Collins Ukwu also. He is on the sideline doing a good job of pushing the guys, but he is getting his (rehabilitation) work in also with our strength and conditioning people. And then during team periods he has been really vocal. There are still some young guys that are leading also. I really like what (quarterback) Max Smith is doing, he is over there trying to be a leader on offense. Avery Williamson, you may call him an old guy, but he has only been here two years and he is being that vocal guy we need at the Mike linebacker position.”

Saturday’s practice/scrimmage will be No. 6 of the spring. UK will then take a few days off before hitting the fields again Wednesday.