Phillips, Wildcats Complete On-Field Prep Outdoors

Nov. 1, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips and the Kentucky football team practiced outdoors Thursday at the Tim Couch Practice Fields for the first time this week. Kentucky is preparing for its final Southeastern Conference home game of the season this Saturday against Vanderbilt at Noon ET.

As has been the custom in recent years, Phillips said after practice that the Wildcats have begun slight reductions in practice time to help keep the players healthy and fresh.  

"This time of year you do cut back," Phillips said about practice. "We cut back about five or 10 minutes of our practices when you get this late in the year. We still do 11-on-11 but we cut back on some of our individual periods."

Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said earlier in the week that the determination of playing time between true freshmen quarterback Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles would not be made until later in the week. Phillips echoed those words Thursday, saying the staff will have those conversations later this afternoon.

"Thursday is usually when we sit down, try to come up with a plan to play the backups and we'll go in here and talk about it today and figure out exactly when we want to play him," Phillips said. "We decided third series last week and that's what we stuck with."

Phillips also said that senior quarterback Morgan Newton could be used this week not only in an emergency situation, but to help the young quarterbacks slow down and see the game.

"He's still an emergency guy and a guy that will get in on the goal line," Phillips said. "We'll put him in there also doing some of the Wildcat stuff and our quarterback run game. But again if we're struggling with those two guys, he's a guy who can go in and give those two guys a breather and let them see it from the sideline so things will start slowing down for them. He's definitely an option, though."

On the injury front, Phillips said that starting defensive tackle Donte Rumph is doubtful but "everyone else should be good to go." Phillips said that sophomore Alvin Davis could see more playing time this week if Rumph doesn't play.

Phillips agreed with a reporter when asked if only missing one starter would be "considered healthy." The head coach said looking back if you remove Maxwell Smith's start against South Carolina this year and Morgan Newton's start last year against Mississippi State, UK has started a true freshman at quarterback 11 out of their last 12 SEC games.

"This would be considered healthy (compared to the major injury issues the team has been through)," Phillips said. "In 11 of the last 12 SEC games we have played, if you take out nine plays Morgan played last year (at the beginning of) the Mississippi State game and two plays Maxwell Smith played this year in the South Carolina, game then we have started a true freshman quarterback. The guys are doing a great job but your margin of error is really small when you are starting true freshman quarterbacks."

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Foster Named 2012 Ray Guy Award Nominee:  University of Kentucky true freshman punter Landon Foster has been named to the 2012 Ray Guy Award nominee list, the Augusta (Ga.) Sports Council recently announced. Foster is one of seven freshmen on the list.

The native of Franklin, Tenn., has been impressive for Kentucky this season, receiving Honorable Mention Punter of the Week honors four times during the season. Currently, Foster ranks seventh in the Southeastern Conference and first among true freshmen in the league in punting with an average of 42.6 this season. Nationally, Foster ranks 31st and fifth among freshman punters.

Foster has punted 48 times for UK this season with an average of 42.6 yards per punt, including 10 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. His best game came at Arkansas, where he launched eight punts, including a career-best 58 yarder, for a season-high average of 48.4 yards per punt.

The list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists to be announced on Nov. 9. Following the semifinalists announcement, a national body of Football Bowl Subdivision sports information directors, coaches, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will vote for the top-three finalists, who will be identified on Nov. 19. The voting body will then cast ballots to select the winner.

The presentation of the Ray Guy Award will be featured on The Home Depot College Football Awards live on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN. The show, hosted by ESPN's Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard will feature live presentation of nine player awards, along with the recipients of Disney's Spirit Award, The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the NCFAA (National College Football Awards Association) Contributions to College Football Award, and student-athletes selected to the Walter Camp All-America Team.