Wildcats Hit the Practice Field to Prepare for Saturday's Battle

Aug. 31, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. – With only four days remaining until the University of Kentucky football team hits the field for the season opener against Louisville, head coach Joker Phillips seemed excited about his team’s effort at practice Tuesday.

“It was enthused,” Phillips said. “We had a lot of juice, lots of energy and lots of enthusiasm. Guys are starting to get cranked up and ready.”

That “juice” could be attributed to the physicality and the increased demand the UK coaching staff has put on the players. Phillips said increasing the demand on the players was important in order to continue the growth of the program.

“We made it a physical camp because we felt that is what we had to do to take this thing to the next level and to continue the growth of this program,” Phillips said. “It is one of our goals, too. We have three goals: graduate our players, be known as a physical football team and the other is to win the SEC East.”

Phillips talked extensively yesterday about preparing for Louisville’s personnel, offensively and defensively. The Cardinals return 15 starters from their 2009 squad, including nine on offense and six on defense. UL also has a veteran team with 27 seniors.  Phillips said Tuesday that when you play a rivalry game like UK-UL game, everything goes “out the window.”

“All that stuff goes out the window when you play this game, we all know that,” Phillips said. “It will be a physical game and we want to make our team a physical team.”

Earlier in the week, Phillips and the UK coaching staff announced the two permanent captains for the season in junior wide receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb (offensive captain) and senior defensive end DeQuin Evans (defensive captain). Seniors Mike Hartline and Ricky Lumpkin will be game captains for the Louisville game.  

Phillips also announced that junior tight end Nick Melillo, redshirt freshman safety Dakotah Tyler and junior wide receiver Gene McCaskill definitely will be out for the game against Louisville. However, several Wildcats returned to the practice field on Tuesday, including returning starter at linebacker Danny Trevathan.

Louisville Sports Commission Announces UK-UL MVP Award: The Governor’s Cup game will have a new feature this season as the Louisville Sports Commission, in conjunction with the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, will name a most valuable player after the UK-UL game. The award will be called the Howard Schnellenberger MVP Award.

The award will be given to the most valuable player on the winning team. The media at the game will vote on the award toward the end of the game.

Schnellenberger was a four-year letterman at the University of Kentucky from 1952 to 1955 and he received All-American honors his senior year as a tight end. Schnellenberger has ties to Louisville as well, coaching 10 years for the Cardinals and is credited with rejuvenating the program.