Phillips: 'Big Things' Good, 'Little Things' Need Improvement

Aug. 11, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Continuing with the same theme that the second-year head coach has had since preseason practice started, Joker Phillips continued to preach that his team needed to practice and play smarter.

Phillips said after practice Thursday that he likes what he is seeing out of his team as far as doing the “big things” right, but the small things are what the Wildcats need to get better at in order to improve this season.

“I think that we are doing the big things really, really well,” Phillips said. “The thing that we have to do is that we have to understand that the little things are why we were 6-7 (last year).

“We keep talking about how the margin was really, really small to how close we were to being a team that won eight, nine, even 10 games. For us to close that small gap, we have to do the little things. I think we are doing the big things really, really well.”

As far as what the “big things” are that the Wildcats are doing right, Phillips said it was continuing to play fast, play with enthusiasm and with attitude.

“I think that our guys are running to the ball from snap to whistle, we are playing with enthusiasm, we are playing with attitude,” Phillips said. “But we have to play a lot smarter. Playing smarter is doing those little things, over and over and over and over again.”

Phillips announced after Wednesday’s practice that starting offensive lineman Stuart Hines had suffered a knee sprain. Although Hines isn’t expected to miss the season opener against Western Kentucky on Sept. 1, Phillips said several players have stepped up nicely to take his reps.

“We have moved Trevino Woods inside and he has been getting a lot of reps,” Phillips said. “We also have Kevin Mitchell, who is an inside guy at guard. Jake Lanefski is playing everywhere. We have some guys and all it is doing is giving us a chance to develop some depth. We aren’t going to look at this as negative. Yes, we need Stuart’s leadership out there. We need his ability out there. But this gives us a chance to develop some depth.”

Kentucky returns to the practice field Friday in helmets and shoulder pads.