Phillips Happy with Execution in Wednesday's Practice

Aug. 30, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a physical practice Tuesday morning, University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips allowed the UK football team to practice in shells (helmet and shoulder pads) Wednesday while still trying to maintain a physical and up-tempo practice session. Afterwards, Phillips deemed the practice successful.

“Practice was really good,” Phillips said. “We took the pads off because of the effort that we had yesterday and how physical we played yesterday. Our execution got better. We still got some work together but we got closer.”

Although the Wildcats still have two more days of practice before heading to Louisville on Saturday evening, Phillips said Wednesday that he is ready for the season to start and he believes the team is as well.
“I think the team is ready,” Phillips said. “When you have been in camp this long and as many practices as we have been then yes, everybody is ready this time of year.”

Phillips has talked several times in the last couple of weeks about a good number of freshman players getting playing time Sunday. And although Phillips did not individually discuss those players – other than those on the two-deep depth chart – he said collectively, you never know what to expect in their first collegiate game.

“You can never really get a read on those guys,” Phillips said about the freshmen playing in their first game. “The ones that you think will respond the right way usually don’t, the ones you think won’t respond the right way do. I have quit trying to get a feel for freshmen. I know the old guys will respond and play hard and give us the effort that we need to compete.”

Another topic Wednesday was the effect some rain in the Louisville area Sunday would have on Kentucky’s game plan. Phillips insisted it will not change UK’s plan at all. The head coach did say the team will practice later this week with wet balls and gloves to try to help with dealing with rain.

“The thing our guys have to understand is that we don’t care,” Phillips said about the chance of rain Sunday. “We don’t care where we play at. The parking lot? Who cares, we just want to play.”

Along those lines, Phillips said the model UK used to earn a road win at Louisville in 2010 must be used again. And although there are not a lot of guys from the 2010 team left on the team, he believes it won’t be a hard sale.

“There aren’t a lot of guys, but there are some guys that made plays last year and are now a year older,” Phillips said. “We have to use that as a model also on how we won. We went over there and got out of the gates really fast. We made some big plays and got some big stops on defense. We did give up a big play on defense, but we made some stops on defense too. That is the model that we have to use with our kids. It is an easy thing to sell because we have it on film. We can show guys, ‘This is how we came out. We came out fast. We scored on the first drive and got up.’ But you also have to use it because we relaxed a little bit and let those guys back into the game.”

For more information on the Kentucky football team, follow “@UKFootball” on Twitter or visit www.facebook.com/kentuckyfootball.

Alumni Tailgate for Louisville Game: Join UK alumni and friends for some pregame fun as the Wildcats kickoff the 2012 football season against the University of Louisville Cardinals at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville on Sept. 2. The pregame tailgate event begins at 12:30 p.m. at Churchill Downs lots 6 and 7, outside gate 17. Parking is free and the event location is just a short walk to the stadium.

Admission is $5 for students, $10 for UK Alumni Association members and $15 for nonmembers. Cost includes a catered lunch from Mark’s Feed Store featuring barbeque, side items, tea and water. The UK band and cheerleaders will also be making a special appearance.

To make reservations for this and other UK Alumni Association tailgate events, visit www.ukalumni.net/tailgate2012. For questions regarding this event, contact Jill Smith at jhsmith@uky.edu, 859-257-8906 or 1-800-269-ALUM.

Reminder – UK Athletics to Host Heroes’ Day vs. Kent State: UK Athletics will host Heroes’ Day on Saturday, Sept. 8 when the UK football team faces off against Kent State at 7:30 p.m. ET inside Commonwealth Stadium. The event is designed to honor all active, reserve and veteran members of the armed forces along with police, firefighters and first responders.

UK Athletics invites all active, reserve and veteran members of the armed forces along with police, firefighters and first responders to attend the game. Interested group members who fit the description will be seated together as ticket quantities allow. Each member of the organization with a personal ID reflective of their service will receive a ticket for themselves and a guest, as well as a gift. Tickets will be picked up on game day at a special will-call area after presenting service ID or badge.

Those interested in attending should contact Nathan Schwake (nschwake@uky.edu; 859-257-5526) to obtain a group ticket form. For more information, go here.