Sanders `Looked Good' in Return to Practice
Oct. 4, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team began preparation Tuesday to face its third-consecutive top-20 opponent in No. 18 South Carolina on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium at 12:21 p.m. ET. UK faced then-No. 15 Florida two weeks ago before battling No. 1 LSU last week in Baton Rouge, La.
UK head coach Joker Phillips said after practice Tuesday that he was again pleased with his team’s enthusiasm and effort in the game, but the Wildcats are still not executing in some areas the way he is wanting.
“I think the enthusiasm and like the effort, but we have to execute better,” Phillips said. “That has been the story on Tuesday, but again, some of it is expected and some of it is not. When you have a new gameplan some of that is expected, but when you are doing some of the things over and over that is not expected. We have to get better tomorrow.”
Good news out of practice Tuesday was that sophomore tailback Raymond Sanders practiced and looked good, according to Phillips. Phillips said he has been pleased with how Sanders has handled his rehabilitation following knee surgery. Sanders, who started the first two games at tailback before sustaining an injury vs. Central Michigan, might play this Saturday at South Carolina.
“Raymond looked good today,” Phillips said. “It is amazing how fast he healed. He did everything except for contact and looked good running. He took reps with the ones (first team) and if he doesn’t swell we expect him to go this weekend.”
Although Kentucky took down a top-10 ranked South Carolina squad last season in Commonwealth Stadium, Phillips doesn’t think it will give UK an advantage in this year’s game. The UK coach said both teams are different this year and the situation is different.
“This is a different team,” Phillips said about how last year’s win could help the 2011 team’s confidence. “We still have some guys on the team from last year and they do too, but they are a different team too. We are playing them at their place and they will be a little more confident coming in at home and actually will be jacked up because they are coming off a loss. Last year, they were coming off a huge, huge win (over Alabama). We expect to get their best game this week.”
Phillips said Kentucky expects another loud and hostile crowd on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium, saying it is one of the loudest stadiums he has attended. Phillips was an assistant coach at South Carolina in 2002.
“It is definitely one of the loudest stadiums,” Phillips said. “I was down there for a year as a coach and I understand how jacked up those people get down there. They have great fans and the (state) fair is usually going on (next to the stadium) and it will be crazy down there like it is every week. It is an SEC atmosphere.”
Kentucky returns to the practice fields on Wednesday.