Wildcats Prepare for First Full Day of Pads on Tuesday

Aug. 9, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. – First-year head coach Joker Phillips and the 2010 University of Kentucky football team held its final split-squad workout Monday, with all thoughts looking ahead to the first day of full pads Tuesday.

“That (having full pads on) is what football is,” Phillips said. “I have seen a lot of All-Americans in shorts, but when you put the pads on them you can’t find them. I want to see who can play football, which is running into people. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Kentucky has been having split-squad workouts for the first four days of camp, but will all join together for the first time Tuesday. Phillips and the UK coaching staff have used the split-squad workouts to get the underclassman more reps and to be able to teach more.

“I will say it again, we are still in the teaching phase, implementing a lot of our offense, defense and special teams,” said Phillips, the UK alum in his first season as the Wildcat head coach. “We are trying to get a lot of drill work in and tomorrow we will continue to do the same thing. We need to practice a little faster to get some more reps because we will be practicing as a full team tomorrow.”

One battle starting to take shape in camp has been the battle at tight end. With several quality newcomers, including redshirt freshmen Anthony Kendrick and Jordan Aumiller and returning letterman Nick Melillo, the job is wide open.

“I really like our tight end position but the thing that we have to do is be more physical,” Phillips said. “Those guys are getting coached really, really hard right now by Coach (Greg) Nord and Coach (Mike) Summers. They (Coach Nord and Coach Summers) have been together before so they understand where each other fit and what each other are thinking. They are doing a good job of getting the guys to know want to do. I feel really good that our tight ends will be better.”

Head Coach Joker Phillips
Practice Quotes
August 9, 2010


On practice …
“We have some guys that are getting a little bit leg weary, but they are fine. I will say it again, we are still in the teaching phase, implementing a lot of our offense, defense and special teams. We are trying to get a lot of drill work in and tomorrow we will continue to do the same thing. We need to practice a little faster to get some more reps because we will be practicing as a full team tomorrow.”

On offensive line coach Mike Summers
“He is so demanding in making sure that the guys are working fundamentals and he does a good job of teaching those. He is so demanding in making them push and go and is just so sharp. The thing that you have to be able to see is five guys up front when it is a front-side play, but you still have to know what is happening on the backside too. Mike can see that and although he is coaching up the front side, he can see what is happening on the backside and will correct those guys. He is really, really good and a tough guy. He is tough on them, but he doesn’t swear. However, he does scream. I have never heard him swear but he is demanding on them.”

On if that makes him feel better moving Chandler Burden to the offensive side when you have a coach like Coach Summers …
“Definitely, one thing that Mike does is if a guy is having problems this time of year, we don’t have any 20-hour rule, they are in his office making sure they know what he wants them to do. That is our deal. It is the coach’s responsibility to make sure that they know what they are supposed to do. He has been coaching Chandler up since he moved over there and has done a good job. Chandler is starting to understand. The other thing is that Mike is a great teacher. You have to have some different teaching strategies because sometimes you have to be simple and sometimes you have to be complex. He knows both.”

On the tight end position and the battle in camp for the starting nod …
“I really like our tight end position but the thing that we have to do is be more physical. Those guys are getting coached really, really hard right now by Coach (Greg) Nord and Coach Summers. They (Nord and Summers) have been together before so they understand where each other fits and what each other is thinking. They are doing a good job of getting the guys to know what to do. I feel really good that our tight ends will be better. We just have to be more physical right now. We are doing a good job with the passing routes and those things but we have to be physical. You and I both know that we have to run the ball in this league to be successful.”

On if the first day of full pads is his favorite practice …
“Definitely, that is what football is. I have seen a lot of All-Americans in shorts but when you put the pads on them you can’t find them. I want to see who can play football, which is running into people. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

On Alex Smith and his development …
“He is big and physical. He doesn’t really know a lot of things right now, like where he fits on a lot of plays but the thing he does do is when you see him on the sled he has some snap in his hips. He can be a real physical guy right now; he just doesn’t know what to do all the time. When he does know, he has some snap in his hips and how to use his hands. He is a big body and will fight through.”

On Joe Mansour’s kicking thus far …

“I have seen very little, but when you are walking past him the ball sounds different. It sounds different then kickers I have been around in the past. I don’t always know where it is going, but when it comes off his foot it sounds a little bit different. It sounds like a shotgun. I haven’t been around many shotguns but that is what it sounds like (laughing). He has some swagger. That is what the kids all talk about now is swagger and he has that. You have to have that, especially at his position.”

On the quarterback situation and if they are all still even …
“They are. Again, I really like how all three of them have command of the ball right now. It is a lot different than in the spring. In the first four days when you guys were out here it didn’t look good all the time. I think that right now they all have command of the ball and know where it is going. That is something that I couldn’t have said earlier this spring.”

On Gene McCaskill and where he fits into the wide receiver corps …

“Gene knows what is going on I think that is important. He has been in some big games and was a starter as a true freshman. When Chris Matthews came in he was a little bit more talented than him so we moved him up. Gene has a bright future here at wide receiver. He will be third or fourth in our lineup.”

On Dave Ulinski, who has been wearing a cast on his hand and wrist…

“I think that he (Dave Ulinski) is fine, he practiced today with it. Everyone is fine. We have typical soreness that you are going to have this time of year with groins and hamstrings. We had some guys that were pulled out late and we will found out exactly how they are doing but hopefully they will be back tomorrow.”