Phillips Happy with Effort, Wants Better Focus

Aug. 16, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team returned to the practice field Tuesday morning, with head coach Joker Phillips emphasizing that his team needs to remain focused and practice smarter.  

“We had too many false start penalties, too many turnovers (in Tuesday’s practice),” Phillips said. “We turned the ball over too many times offensively, but the good thing is that defensively we did a good job of taking the ball away. It is hard to be upset at the defense, but you have to be upset at the offense for not taking care of the football.”

The main area for concern for Phillips was the offensive turnovers in a short-yardage scrimmage the Wildcats had Tuesday. Phillips said although most of the mistakes were made by some of the more inexperienced players, turnovers and mistakes can be contagious and need to be stopped.

“We did a short-yardage scrimmage and it was really competitive on both sides of the ball,” Phillips said. “But again, (we had) a couple of turnovers in that period by young guys but we expect everybody (to take care of the football.) Those things are infectious. I don’t care who it is, a young guy or an old guy. One happens and then another happens and they are both by young guys but they bleed through the football team. We have to get those things corrected.”

Although the turnovers and mistakes dominated Phillips’ thoughts after practice he continues to be impressed with the team’s effort and ability to compete hard.

“I am not disappointed with the effort,” Phillips said. “Don’t get me wrong, our effort is unbelievable and we are competing our tails off. But we (must improve on mistakes) in order for us to be the type of football team we want to be.”

Having practiced 13 times in the last 12 days, including three times in the previous 24 hours, the Wildcats took a break Tuesday afternoon for their annual visit to a local pool.  The team will resume meetings later Tuesday and return to the practice field Wednesday afternoon.