Wildcats Have First Scrimmage

Aug. 13, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky football team held its first scrimmage of preseason practice Saturday afternoon and Coach Joker Phillips was in an upbeat mood after the event.

“I thought we competed our tails off and I’m happy with that,” Phillips said.  “We’re not always executing the way we want to but we’re playing fast.  I like seeing that.  We have a long ways to go, we understand that, but we still have time to get things corrected.”

The Wildcats scrimmage for approximately 90 minutes, beginning with special teams work, followed by the first-team offense vs. first-team defense, the second teams against each other and then the third-team units against each other.  The first-team offense was limited by the fact that three starting linemen, left tackle Chandler Burden, left guard Stuart Hines and center Matt Smith, sat out the scrimmage because of injuries.

Asked which unit turned in the best performance, Phillips said, “It went back and forth but I thought the one defense, probably – and that’s to be expected, you got three guys out up front.  We had some young guys in there (in the offensive line).  Some might see that as a negative, I see that as a positive.  That’s a chance for us to develop some depth.”

The team’s passing game was a point of emphasis in spring practice and Phillips said the team continues to improve in that area.

“It’s definitely a lot better,” Phillips said.  “I’m really happy with the way Morgan is (progressing).  (He’s) Not always completing all the passes, but his eyes, his reads, his checks, protecting himself, all those things he’s been right on point with.  I’m proud of that.

“It starts with protection, though, too.  Can’t have people in our quarterback’s face.  A lot of that has to do with some young offensive linemen that are in there trying to earn some depth points and that’s what they’re doing.  Our starters will all be back.  They don’t have injuries that should keep them out long but those young guys have to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Phillips said the team will review the scrimmage video Sunday, then return to practice Monday.

“We’ll take off (from practice) tomorrow.  We’ll watch this tape and be in meeting (Sunday).  It gives us a chance to get our legs back, watch all this film, be as detailed as we want to be using this whole day.  We’ll come back and have a two-a-day on Monday.  I think tomorrow’s important.  I think we got a lot of good teaching tape we can learn from and we want to take advantage of it.”