Passing Game Continues to Progress

April 14, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coach Joker Phillips continues to be pleased with the progress of the passing game during spring practice.

“That's our emphasis in the spring, make sure we come out of this feeling good about our passing game,” Phillips said. “Saturday (during the scrimmage) we took a huge step in making some plays and throwing to the right people. Every time we come out here, that's the emphasis, throwing the football. The thing we have to do is get our (passing) game up to speed offensively so we can be balanced.

“The receivers have to make plays. The quarterbacks have to trust that those guys to make plays. I see a trusting relationship with both of them, the quarterbacks give them a chance and the receivers make plays for them, so the quarterbacks give them more chances.”

It's interesting to note that the UK offense had good balance at the start of the 2009 season before quarterback Mike Hartline was sidelined by injury. With Hartline starting the first five games of the season, the Wildcats had a perfect balance between the run and the pass, averaging 167.4 rushing yards per game and 167.4 passing yards per game.

Following Hartline's injury at South Carolina, Kentucky became more of a running team. During the final eight games of the season, the Wildcats averaged 206.1 rushing yards and 123.4 passing yards per game.

On Wednesday morning, the Wildcats once again worked out in beautiful weather as they had their ninth of the 15 practices allowed during the spring.

Phillips noted that defensive end DeQuin Evans, defensive tackle Mister Cobble and linebacker William Johnson have recovered from injuries and returned to practice. Cornerback Martavius Neloms and safety Taiedo Smith hope to return Friday or Saturday.

Kentucky will practice again Friday before having the second major scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.