Both Sides Shine in Brief Scrimmage

April 7, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky offensive and defensive units each had their bright moments during a brief situational scrimmage held at the end of Wednesday morning practice.

The offense did well in a goal line set of plays while the defense got the upper hand in the remainder of the scrimmage, Coach Joker Phillips said after the workout.

“The thing you have to do is get the ball in the end zone and the offense did get the ball in the end zone a few times when we went to the red zone,” Phillips said. “There were a couple of (offensive) big plays in the first-down scrimmage but the defense won the first-down scrimmage. We're trying to give four (yards) or less (on defense on first downs), we're trying to get four or more on offense but the defense won it.”

On the hot topic of the quarterback competition, Phillips indicated that senior quarterback Mike Hartline played well today.

“For the first day, he showed up more than the other ones,” Phillips said. “Mike feels a little more comfortable than the other two (sophomore Morgan Newton and redshirt freshman Ryan Mossakowski). He's been here a long time, he's had a lot more reps than those guys. He understands where the ball is supposed to be and also understands where the defense is, so he's playing a little faster than the other two right now.”

Phillips also updated the progress of Mossakowski and Newton.

“Reps have helped him (Mossakowski) make up that gap (of inexperience) and that's why we're trying to practice as fast as we possibly can,” Phillips said. “The quarterbacks need the reps more than anybody. For us to be able to get the quarterbacks the reps they need, that's the reason we have to practice fast. That's only going to give Moss a chance to compete for a job.

“The thing about the quarterback position is that you have to be consistent. Morgan hasn't been consistent throughout the spring. He's made some good (plays) but he's also come back and tried to squeeze the ball in among two defenders. He has to understand he's not in high school. People react to the ball a lot faster.

“Our defense is a lot faster. We have some speed on the field. They're figuring out where they fit, also. They played a lot faster today.”

Here are some additional comments from Phillips after the Wednesday workout:

  • “One guy that has impressed me, (although) he's working very little with the ‘ones,' is (offensive left tackle) Chandler Burden. He runs off the ball and gets his hands on people, controls people. He has the athleticism to play the position at left tackle. He has the strength, he has the power, he has the snap in his hips. It's important for him to get reps also and he's getting a lot of reps. He has to believe in himself and quit being hard on himself. If he can just relax and play ball, we think we'll have something big in him.”
  • (The center position) “It's a battle. Two of the guys have played very little (Marcus Davis and Matt Smith). Sam (redshirt freshman Sam Simpson) is a talented guy that probably needs another year in the weight room but he doesn't have time for a year in the weight room. He has to get out here and compete right now. There isn't a huge separation among those three guys either.”
  • (On the position change of Greg Meisner from defensive end to fullback) “Meisner's made some plays. I like the way he's caught the ball in the flat. Now we have to get him running into people and bringing his feet and hips with him. He's caught the ball in the flat the way you want your fullback to catch the ball. He has to understand that blocking is a huge part of playing fullback.”
  • (On linebacker Danny Trevathan's pass defense) “He plays an inside backer in the nickel (formation). He played a lot of it last year. He's comfortable in there, he played a lot of snaps in it last year, rotating with Sam (Maxwell) and Micah (Johnson).”

The Wildcats return to practice on Friday and will have the first major scrimmage of the spring Saturday.

Spring Practice Schedule: Practices held at the Nutter Training Facility unless noted otherwise. Practices might be moved indoors to the Nutter Field House in case of bad weather.

Fri. April 9 Practice 9 - 11:20 a.m., open to media and public
Sat. April 10 Practice begins 1:00, no specific ending time, open to media and public (Commonwealth Stadium)
Sat. April 24 Blue/White Spring Game, 1:00 p.m. Commonwealth Stadium