Phillips Wants Wildcats to Mature, Play 60-Minute Game

Sept. 15, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips told reporters after practice Wednesday that although he is loving the focus that his team is giving in practice he is wanting them to mature and play a 60-minute game.

"I would like to see our team mature and play 60 minutes, instead of playing really fast for 30 minutes or 45 minutes," Phillips said. "We have to play for 60 minutes."

Last year, Kentucky had problems coming out of the gate with slow starts but often turned on and had a strong second half. This year seems to be opposite, Kentucky has been coming out of the gate strong in both games, scoring on its opening drive both times this season, but seems to not keep the same focus for the entire second half.

Part of the problem could be that Kentucky has had several injured players that should return to the field on Saturday. The position that will receive the biggest will be the defensive back spot as UK is expecting to get junior cornerback Randall Burden, sophomore cornerback Martavius Neloms and redshirt freshman safety Dakotah Tyler back for the game Saturday. Neloms and Tyler did not play against Western Kentucky last Saturday and Burden saw limited action.

All told, Kentucky expects to have most of the roster available for the game with Phillips saying that the injury situation is the best that he has seen it at this point in the season.

"It is as good as I have ever been around at this time of year at game three," Phillips said. "We won't have (tight end Nick) Melillo, we will get Dakotah Tyler back. We had a couple bumps and bruises and we will probably lose (safety) Taiedo Smith for this week. The rest of them should be back with just bumps and bruises."

On the field, UK again had a solid day of practice Wednesday, setting all attention to the game against the Akron Zips at Commonwealth Stadium. Phillips credited the offensive and defensive lineman on setting the tempo at practice.

"Again, practice was good," Phillips said. "I think that tempos of practices are set up front by your offensive line and defensive line and they are practicing fast and bringing everybody along with them."

Kentucky will hit the practice field for the final time on Thursday. UK plays host to Akron at 7 p.m.  The game will be televised by Fox Sports South.

Student Athletic Advisory Council to hold God's Pantry Event: The University of Kentucky's Student Athletic Advisory Council will be holding collections for God's Pantry Food Bank at three UK sporting events from 17-26, including the football game Saturday.

UK student-athletes will be going through parking lots Saturday before the game, accepting monetary donations for God's Pantry. Only monetary donations will be accepted at the game Saturday. Fans can also donate at participating Kroger stores and at www.godspantry.org.

"Wounded Warriors" to Attend Akron Game: In attendance at the Akron game Saturday will be a group of Wounded Warriors from Ft. Campbell, Ky., Ft. Knox, Ky., and the Lexington, Va., Medical Center. Having faced combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the men have suffered wounds and injuries that are now being rehabilitated while recovering in Warrior Transition Units and Veterans Administration programs.

The Wounded Warriors will be introduced during the second quarter of the Akron game.

Tickets Available: Tickets are available for the Akron game.  The ticket office in the Joe Craft Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Saturday, the ticket office will be open at the Joe Craft Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.   The Commonwealth Stadium Ticket Office will open at 5 p.m.  

"Cat Walk" at 4:45 p.m.: Fans wishing to participate in the "Cat Walk," cheering the Wildcats when they enter the stadium Saturday, should be at Gate One of Commonwealth Stadium 4:45 p.m. ET.