Offense Responds as Position Battles Start to Take Shape

Aug. 19, 2010

Video update from Cat Scratches

LEXINGTON, Ky. - First-year head coach Joker Phillips said his offense responded well a day after the defense "got after" the offense in practice. Phillips also talked a lot Thursday about several position battles that are starting to take shape, including at quarterback, middle linebacker and center.

"(Practice) was very good," Phillips said. "We responded well from yesterday, especially the offense. The offense had a good practice today. We only went about an hour and a half. We went a lot of individual, a couple of team periods. An hour and a half was a lot faster, a lot more crisp than we were yesterday offensively."
Several position battles are starting to work themselves out, including at quarterback. Phillips said earlier in the week that he would not make a mid-week decision on the starting quarterback for UK's opener at Louisville on Sept. 4, until after the scrimmage Saturday.

"They all have done some good and they all have done some things that you scratch your head about," Phillips said. "I am looking forward to seeing them again this Saturday, seeing how all three of them play and respond to some of the other things that we put on them. We have put a lot on them since last Saturday."

Phillips hopes to be able to trim down the quarterback battle to two after Saturday's scrimmage, saying that it is time to "get going" and turn the focus more to Louisville.

"I hope so, I really do," Phillips said, "I hope it works its way out where we can make a decision because we have to get going. We have to start working a little bit more on Louisville. Hopefully, we can cut it (the quarterback position battle) to two (players) this weekend."

Phillips did not rule out a chance that the staff could skip cutting the list to two and just name a starter.

"If not, then maybe we can give it to the guy that actually earns it this weekend, but who knows," Phillips said. "That will be seen after the scrimmage on Sunday when we can watch the film."

Phillips did say that he would prefer not to have a two-quarterback system, but that could be an option if it gives UK the best chance to win.

Phillips announced that freshman linebacker Qua Huzzie has missed the last three days of practice with a foot blister, saying that the missed practices were causing Huzzie to get behind and that junior Ronnie Sneed has done some good things and is "making us think he is the starter right now."

The first-year head coach said the position battle at center is also coming into its own, liking the "consistency" of sophomore Matt Smith and the "nastiness" that junior Jake Lanefski is showing.

"Right now, I would have to say that is a two-man race instead of a four-man race that we had talked about earlier," Phillips said. "That will work its way out, too. You have a guy (Smith) that has been really consistent and a guy that really sets the tempo in how aggressive he is in Jake Lanefski."

Other injury news from Thursday practice is that junior linebacker Danny Trevathan has had a strained groin muscle and has missed some time the last couple of days.

The head coach said that the team probably will have a couple more scrimmages after the one Saturday. Phillips said the team will more than likely have a mid-week scrimmage next week and then have a "dress-rehearsal" scrimmage on Saturday, August 28.

UK will return to the practice field Thursday afternoon to complete its final two-a-day session of fall camp.

UK Football Takes Part in Operation: Move-in -- The University of Kentucky football team wants to make it easier on UK students moving back to campus. All 105 players in fall camp will take time Friday morning to help new and returning students move into their new dormitory rooms.

The Wildcats will start moving in the students at 8:30 a.m. before heading back to camp and meetings around 10 a.m. The players and coaching staff will head to the Complex Mall area before 10 a.m. to have a small pep rally/photo opportunity with President Lee T. Todd Jr. and First Lady Patsy Todd.

Media are welcome to cover the event and should meet in the Nutter Training Facility lobby around 8:25 a.m. before heading over to the dorms with a member from UK's media relations staff.