Wildcats Hold First Practice with High Energy, Excitement

Aug. 5, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the first time since spring practice, the University of Kentucky football team, led by second-year head coach Joker Phillips, held a practice at the Nutter Training Facility practice fields, marking the official beginning to the 2011 Kentucky football season.

Phillips said after practice that the he and the coaches saw what they expected to see out of the first practice, which was high energy and lots of excitement. The Wildcats practiced for almost three hours clad in helmets and shorts and began learning offensive and defensive schemes.  There will be more installation of the offensive and defensive schemes as the weekend progresses.

“It was like first days usually go,” Phillips told a group of reporters after practice. “You have guys excited to be out here and flying around. We didn’t install a lot, so they should know what is going on and they did. That allows them to play a lot faster. Now, we will get into more meat of our offense and defense (later). Defensively, we won’t install much tomorrow, but there should be a couple of things so they still should be up to speed on the schemes we have in. Offensively, I think they will put in a little bit more but they should because we are pretty experienced up front.”

Although Phillips and the UK coaching staff were pleased with the team’s performance on the first day, Phillips said the first day of practice doesn’t always set the tone for how the rest of fall camp will play out. Instead, Phillips said the first day of full pads usually sets the tone. The head coach believes the players will respond when that day comes because of the mental preparation and conditioning they have gone through this summer from strength and conditioning coach Ray “Rock” Oliver.

“We got what we expected on the first day,” Phillips said. “What is going to happen on day three, day four, day five? How are you going to respond then when your legs start to get weary? Everybody in the country is going to be feeling that way. That is when the mental part of this game starts to kick in and that is the thing that I like that Coach Rock (Oliver) has done in the weight room and in conditioning that he has them mentally prepared for all those things.”

The team's second practice will be during the annual Kentucky Football Fan Day, slated for Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.  The team will hold an open practice along with an autograph session and fireworks show.

Gates for the event will open at 5 p.m. ET with the open practice, which will consist of offensive, defensive and special team drills, beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Parking will be available in the green, red or blue lots surrounding Commonwealth Stadium.