First Day in Pads Ends in Surprise

Aug. 8, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a two-hour, 40-minute practice in temperatures past 90 degrees Wednesday afternoon, the Kentucky football team was greeted by an unexpected, but definitely welcome sight – an ice cream truck.

The excited Wildcats crowded the truck after the long, hot workout and enjoyed some of their favorite treats, much to the delight of Coach Joker Phillips, who had arranged the event.

“When you were little and the ice cream truck comes and you hear that bell, you lose your mind and I wanted our guys to lose their mind for a split-second,” Phillips joked. “They’re working really hard in extreme heat and just thought we’d throw ‘em a bone today.”

Phillips also was enthused by the day’s practice and what he’s seeing at the tailback position.

“Really good practice,” Phillips said. “Really excited about this running back depth and competition. You make yourself better by additions and player development. Obviously, our running backs have improved in the offseason and we have good additions, who are bringing depth and competition.”

Only in the fifth day of practice, and first in full pads, Phillips continues to stress that it’s too early to make any conclusions about which players might be ahead of the others.

“They’re all wadded up right now,” Phillips said. “CoShik (Williams) finished the season as the No. 1 guy, so he’s the first guy going in. The thing I’m most proud of is their attitude, especially CoShik, Jon-Jon (Jonathan George) and Raymond (Sanders). Those guys are taking a lot of ownership on the special teams – going to Coach (Greg) Nord and saying, ‘Hey, we want to be a part of this team, we want to be a part of that team. Coach, make sure you have us three on there for sure.’ You very see seldom see starting backs with that type of attitude and that will just rub off on the young guys.”

Phillips also noted that Josh Clemons is part of the tailback picture, although Clemons is not practicing every day in order to take care of the knee that was injured last season.

“He’s in the mix, too, he just wasn’t there today,” Phillips said. “He gets out here every other day. He’s in the mix, also, there’s no question about that. He started three or four games last year, he’s along with those guys.”

“Definitely by committee,” said Phillips, when asked if there could be a tailback by committee. “They’re all good enough to play. All of them are good enough to win with, also.”

Freshmen backs Dyshawn Mobley and Justin Taylor could make the tailback position even more crowded.

“Consistency, doing what they need to do,” said Phillips, when asked about how the two youngsters could force their way into the competition. “Both guys are big, physical guys who can move the pile.”

The Wildcats have their first double practice day on Thursday, with a session in the morning in the afternoon. There probably won’t be ice cream Thursday, but for now, the Cats are happy with the surprise treat.

Phillips was told that 300-pound senior center Matt Smith said he could run the 40-yard dash in two seconds if there were an ice cream truck waiting.

“Maybe we need to put an ice cream truck at the end of the goal line,” Phillips quipped.