Staff Pleased with How Team is Competing in Day Four of Camp

Aug. 8, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips began his daily post-practice media opportunity Monday by telling the large group of more than 20 reporters he and the coaching staff have started giving the team a word a day to follow in preparation for the season opener against Western Kentucky on Sept. 1.

Monday’s word – or technically, phrase – was “totally focused.”

“We are trying to give the kids one word a day, and actually it was two words today: ‘totally focused,’” Phillips said. “We are competing our tails off. I really like the way this team is competing against each other, but being totally focused is understanding your assignment, understanding your alignment and understanding how we practice. As we were competing we kind of lost how we (need to) practice. In practice, we try to stay up off the ground so nobody gets hurts and try to face up the runners. Sometimes we got away from that, which takes away from your technique when you are trying to tackle or wrap up.

“But I really like the way they are competing. The attitudes of both sides of the ball (are good) and we are playing physical and playing fast. We just have to be totally focused on the little things.”

Much of the talk around fall camp has centered on the possibility of Kentucky’s true freshmen being able to make an impact. So far, Phillips has said multiple times that he thinks the talented group of newcomers will be able to help the Wildcats, but that he hasn’t seen enough of them in practice to fully tell.

One thing the coaching staff has done in order to see more of the freshmen this fall is end each day of practice with what Phillips called a “15-minute help session.” While Phillips takes the veteran players off to the side to stretch and condition, the younger players stay behind to work on fundamentals, participate in seven-on-seven segments and do some team segments. Phillips said having those drills on video to review after practice will help the coaching staff understand who needs more tutoring and who understands the schemes well.

“Actually, watching today’s film will give us a better idea how many of those young guys are getting it,” Phillips said about the freshmen understanding the team’s schemes. “We have put in a lot of stuff and this is our fourth day of installation. We will see how they are grasping what we have put in thus far. This is really the time when they can make a move in those 15-minute help sessions.”

Tuesday is the first day of full pads for the Wildcats.