UK Continues Split-Squad Workouts, Prepares for Extreme Heat

Aug. 8, 2010

Cat Scratches: Video of Phillips after practice

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For the first time since the team reported Thursday afternoon, the University of Kentucky football team strapped on the shoulder pads for a four-hour split-squad practice Sunday afternoon at the Nutter Training Facility practice fields.
 
The Wildcats worked on numerous things, including installing new defensive coverage. Although the shoulder pads were on, head coach Joker Phillips said the practice was still about slowing things down and teaching.
 
"A lot of guys have opened up their minds and let us pour information down it," Phillips said. "This is the reason why we do it (split-squad practice), so we can teach. We are trying to get a lot of information to them in a short period of time. We are not going as fast in practice, but trying to slow things down to get some things taught. That way when we do come together we can be a lot faster then we have been in the split practices."
 
Phillips has been pleased so far with how the players have handled all the teaching, including the freshmen.
 
"It is a work in progress, but I think that our young guys have really good football knowledge and IQ," the first-year head coach said. "I think that is helping us and that is the thing that we have tried to recruit, is guys that love football. If they love football then they will study football on their own."
 
Phillips insisted that he and the UK coaching staff will not know how much information and teaching is being retained until they get everything installed and then start going back over earlier teachings.
 
The Wildcats will keep just shoulder pads and helmets on for the final split-squad session Monday before putting on full pads for the first time Tuesday. With extreme heat predicted in the Lexington area over the next few days, Phillips said that his staff will continue to monitor the heat and take all necessary precautions.
 
"We will continue to monitor it ourselves to make sure that we don't have any problems," Phillips said. "We know that it is coming. We just have to monitor and continue to get our kids to hydrate, not during practice, but when they are out of practice. That is when it is most important, that they are doing it in the dorms and in the meetings."

Head Coach Joker Phillips
Practice Quotes
August 8, 2010

On what his thoughts were on the first couple of practices ...
"A lot of guys have opened up their minds and let us pour information down it. This is the reason why we do it, so we can teach. We are trying to get a lot of information to them in a short period of time. We are not going as fast in practice, but trying to slow things down to get some things taught. That way when we do come together we can be a lot faster then we have been in the split practices."
 
On junior-college transfer Mychal Bailey and his development ...

"You can't really tell a lot right now, but what we have put in - which isn't a lot - he is picking it up pretty good. When he goes, as Coach Thurmond says, `When he puts the accelerator down, he is gone.' That is the thing that we do know. He can run but we just have to make sure that he understands the total packages that we run so he can play fast. When he goes, we can see him going and we know what will happen when he gets there. He is a violent guy when he gets there. We just have to get him ready to see how much he can help us on defense but we know that he has to help us on special teams."
 
On how long it usually takes to tell how much the young guys are retaining what is being put in ...
"It will show up after we get everything involved. What happens is the first two days they got to work on coverage that they got in and today they got a new one. You will be able to tell when everything is in and we go back to what we did the first day, how much they are retaining. It is a work in progress, but I think that our young guys have really good football knowledge and IQ. I think that is helping us and that is the thing that we have tried to recruit, is guys that love football. If they love football then they will study football on their own."
 
On defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin saying that he was disappointed in his productivity last season ...
"I don't have any idea what he was referring to but we would like to have Ricky show up more and make more plays. Ricky is always a guy that does what he is supposed to do but hasn't made a lot of plays around here. He is always in the gap, holding his gap but we have got to have him come out and make some plays for us this year."
 
On what they will do to prepare the team for the heat the next couple of days ...
"We will monitor it ourselves. We won't tell our kids anything other than what we have been telling them, which is hydrate. We will continue to monitor it ourselves to make sure that we don't have any problems. We know that it is coming. We just have to monitor and continue to get our kids to hydrate, not during practice, but when they are out of practice. That is when it is most important, that they are doing it in the dorms and in the meetings. That is when it is most important to hydrate."
 
On wanting to get this team to practice better and what he is doing to try to accomplish that ...

"We are practicing different. We are practicing where I am allowing our defensive guys to come up and wrap the guys up and let them go. I don't want them grabbing if the guy is past you, but I want you to wrap them up. That makes them play with their feet and when you tackle you are tackling with your feet first. Really in football period you are playing with your feet. I want those guys to play with their feet and get into position to make the tackle. If you don't square our backs up, they are going to run you over. None of these guys want to be embarrassed. So we are just practicing a little bit different so they can wrap the guys up and let them finish the drill."