Phillips Says Saturday's Scrimmage is Big Day for Youngsters

April 15, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team held a two-hour practice Friday morning at the Nutter Training Facility football fields, preparing for what head coach Joker Phillips called an important scrimmage Saturday.

“I really liked the energy (at practice today),” Phillips said. “Tomorrow will be a big day for a lot of these young kids. We have to take advantage of the reps (practice repetitions) and continue to find out who are playmakers on offense are and who understands our defensive schemes a little bit better.”

One thing the Kentucky coaching staff has set out to find this spring is playmakers on offense and defense. Phillips said he has been really impressed in the playmaking ability of sophomore wide receiver Brian Adams, who has missed five practices because of his responsibilities as a starting outfielder for the Kentucky baseball team. Adams, who is with the baseball team at Ole Miss this weekend and will not scrimmage Saturday, played in 12 games last season with one start and made three pass receptions.

“Brian Adams has been one of those guys that has been a playmaker for us,” Phillips said. “The thing about Brian is that when he has been here he has made plays. He hasn’t been here a lot, but when he has been here he has made plays for us. That is what we have to have. We came into this spring looking for who our playmakers could be and Brian has been one of those guys.

“La’Rod (King) continues to show up at times but the one thing about La’Rod is that he has to be more consistent,” Phillips said. “E.J. Fields has shown some flashes but again he has to be more consistent.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Phillips showed no hesitation when asked who his emerging playmakers this spring have been, giving high praise to senior Winston Guy. Guy, who played strong safety last season but has moved closer to the line of scrimmage as a hybrid safety/linebacker in the new defensive package, has had a terrific spring. The native of Lexington, Ky., was one of the highlights of UK’s scrimmage last Saturday, earning two sacks, a tackle for loss and stuffing a running back for no gain on a fourth-and-one play.

“Defensively, we have a lot of guys making plays,” Phillips said. “Winston Guy has been one of those guys that continues to show up. Every practice Winston Guy has made a play that gets you excited. I am excited about him. I haven’t mentioned Winston Guy a lot because he has just been inconsistent. Now, he is being consistent and has put together 12 good practices and we are excited about his showing tomorrow and in the future.”

After UK’s scrimmage Saturday, the Wildcats will have one more practice Wednesday before the annual Blue/White Spring Game on Saturday, April 23 at 3 p.m. in Commonwealth Stadium.

Ulinski Retires From Playing Football: Offensive lineman Dave Ulinski has retired from the playing field after dealing with concussion issues during his career, Coach Joker Phillips announced Friday.  Ulinski will remain with the team as a student assistant coach in the strength and conditioning program.

“Dave Ulinski had to give up football because of concussions,” Phillips said. “We love Dave and we will miss him. That is one of the areas (offensive line) that we are trying to develop some depth. It is just like somebody graduating early … But, Dave will be a big asset for us in the weight room.”

A junior out of Louisville’s duPont Manual High School, Ulinski played in 17 games in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, seeing action at guard, tackle and on the field goal/extra point unit.  He redshirted as a freshman in 2008.

Ulinski is the grandson of one of the greatest players in Kentucky history, the late Harry Ulinski.  Harry was a center/linebacker at UK from 1946-49.  He was an All-Southeastern Conference player, captain of the 1949 team that went to the Orange Bowl, played six years in the National Football League and is one of UK’s retired-jersey honorees.

Cobble Out With Shoulder Injury: Defensive tackle Mister Cobble will miss approximately four months because of shoulder surgery, Coach Joker Phillips announced Friday.  

A sophomore from Louisville, Cobble has been contending for a starting job during the spring.  If all goes well, he hopes to return prior to the UK season opener on Sept. 1.

Phillips Radio Show Monday on Big Blue Sports Network: Coach Joker Phillips will have a call-in radio show Monday from 6-7 p.m. EDT.  Kentucky play-by-play announcer Tom Leach will be the host for the show, which will be carried on the Big Blue Radio Network.