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Blue/White Game Postgame Quotes




April 21, 2012

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Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips

Opening statement…
“First of all, I’d like to thank the fans that came out. This is the worst day we’ve had this spring. A couple guys were saying this is the Winter Game. And it was, it was a little chilly out. But I appreciate the fans that came out.

“Getting out of the spring – which is really important, getting out of the spring working on fundamentals, technique and trying to play physical as we were trying to do were some of our goals. And for us to do those things in 15 days and not have any major injuries in spring is really big, really key. And that we have nobody that has to rehab from now until our fall camp. We have a couple guys like (Collins) Ukwu and Morgan (Newton), guys like that who are rehabbing which they have since January and they’ll continue that. That’ll give them eight months to rehab, but there’s nobody who only has four months to rehab. So I think that’s really, really big, really key that we don’t have that problem. We had an injury today, Cartier Rice got kneed in his thigh, just above his knee, and it’s just a simple bruise. He should be OK. You guys didn’t see La’Rod King in there today. He’s a little banged up but he should be OK to get started with the offseason. That was big. We didn’t have any major (injuries), bottom line, which is good.

“I thought today, the first part of the scrimmage we were a little sloppy at throwing and catching it. And you have to be able to throw and catch. And then the amazing thing is some of the guys who had drops made some unbelievable catches in the second half. Ronnie Shields is a guy we’ve been bragging on all spring and he makes some unbelievable catches in the second half. First half he dropped a little simple pass. That’s the thing, we have to be consistent in catching the football. I thought Max (Smith) had really good command of the football. The thing he can’t do is he can’t force plays. Once we had a chance to – we’re going in and it’s third-and-long – get that, but lay it off. Don’t try and force anything. Let’s kick a field goal and get something positive out of it. We tried to force one and it got picked. Again, I thought he had really good command of the football.

“We gathered an idea of who some of our playmakers (are). There’s something to be said – and I worked a training camp one year with Joe Gibbs, and I can remember in one of our coach’s meetings, there’s something to be said for a guy every time you have a scrimmage he makes a play. Demarco Robinson is that guy. Every time we came into this place (Commonwealth Stadium) he made a huge play for us and today he made a lot of big plays for us. We think he is one of our playmakers. Again, Shields, we did use our tight ends well today. I think there were 12 passes caught by our tight ends and there were four different ones that had catches. You hadn’t heard a lot about Tyler Robinson because he’s kind of one of those guys that just rolls up the sleeves and goes to work and doesn’t say a lot. Not real flashy. He’s a guy who likes to get his nose bloodied and bloody other peoples’ nose. And he catches the football. And that’s what he did today. He made some big plays for us. One real tough catch that was thrown a little bit behind him but he goes up and catches the back end of it and makes a big play for us. I’m really pleased with our tight end play. Now, we didn’t put them in situations where they had to block as much today. But, we feel like we have a good combination of guys; Tyler could be our physical, on the line tight end. We think (Anthony Kendrick) and Ronnie could be our move tight ends and our guys who can stretch the field. (Daryl) Collins, you guys have seen a glimpse of what he can do. Aaron Boyd made a couple catches. We have some playmakers. CoShik (Williams) and Raymond (Sanders) also are guys who can make plays for us. We have some playmakers on offense. We just have to continue to come, continue to improve. They have got a lot of work to do to get on the same page and continue to be on the same page this summer. Again, we have time. That’s a good thing.

“Defensively, you keep hearing the buzz about Bud Dupree and you saw it. The guy is so fast off the edge. He’s what we have to block week in and week out. He’s a real guy. He’s an SEC outside linebacker/rush backer. Avery (Williamson), pleased with the way he played. Avery was all over the place. Tony (Neely) and I were just talking about for the amount of time he played last year he had a lot of tackles. For a guy who didn’t play a lot he had a lot of tackles for us. We have two anchors inside (Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph) who are as good as anybody we’ll face and are as good as anybody we’ve had here. Those two guys should give our linebackers a chance to run around and make plays.

“Another guy I’m real pleased with is (Martavius) Neloms. Neloms is becoming the leader we need him to be. He’s becoming the guy we can trust off the field. He takes care of his business in the classroom and those things.  Those things matter and (Martavius) is getting it now. They don’t always do it as fast as we want them, and this is (Martavius) last year, but he’s getting it, which gives him the chance to lead. Because if a leader isn’t doing what he’s supposed to do, nobody’s going to follow you. Now they’re starting to follow him because he’s doing what he’s supposed to off the field, he’s getting to places on time and all those things. Therefore, he’s able to lead and when he talks now people listen to him. It’s also helped in his play. He’s playing a lot better than he’s ever played around here. He’s always been a good player. Now we think he can be a great player with the way he’s leading. I’m really pleased with the progress that we’ve made.

“Our special teams unit: We didn’t work it very much today, but (Craig) McIntosh, we know what he can do for us. I don’t know what his distance is but he did make a 52, 50-something yarder in the last scrimmage we had. So he’s upped his range because last year I wouldn’t even line up and kick it outside of 47 (yards). We thought that was outside of his range. But we have to find a punter. We have to find a punter. He might have been in this building today. We said he wasn’t on campus yet, but he might have been on campus today.”

On if freshman wide receiver Daryl Collins sustained an injury…
“I don’t know. I did notice that late when he was walking off the field his jersey was clean. He made a huge play on a slant. He may have caught two in a row. We went back to the same play and he made a diving catch for us also. It’s just a glimpse of some of the things he can do for us. We have to try to get it in his hands. When he’s not getting it, Demarco is probably getting it. A lot of times the inside receiver clears, if they squeeze down on him we throw to the outside guy. Demarco is making those plays and Aaron Boyd made one of those big catches also on third down I think, maybe even fourth down. We do have to get the ball into Daryl Collins’ hands. He could be one of those big-time playmakers for us also. But, he’s got to be more consistent in catching those punts too because that’s another way we can get the ball in his hands. Today he put one on the ground. We can’t have that.”

On if he expects quarterback Max Smith to throw the ball around more this year…
“We would like to. We have to be balanced. We’d like to be a team that has about 80 plays. We’d like to throw it about 45 of those 80 – I know that’s not equal so I don’t want anybody to say, ‘That’s bad math.’ (laughter from audience)  I know it’s not, but I’d like to throw it. If you’re throwing it about 45 times and running it 35 times, that’s balanced to me. That’s balance.”

On trusting tight ends more…
“They have a better understanding of separating. Ronnie Shields is a guy that we didn’t trust, we didn’t trust him to be where he is supposed to be and on time and now he is getting it. Again, they don’t always grow up as fast as we want them. I think he is now starting to be a guy that is taking care of his business, he is getting where he is supposed to be. You have to be where you are supposed to be and on time. That’s our job, whether it’s in the classroom or it’s on the field, get them where they are supposed to be and on time.”

On where depth for the offensive line will come from…
“Well, hopefully we don’t need, we can play with five all year but you and I both know that that doesn’t happen. We think that Trevino (Woods) can be one of those guys. You don’t need 10, NFL rosters have seven guys, you don’t need 10. We need two, three others. We need about eight guys that can play offensive line for us. Some of the guys are interchangeable, Larry has worked at center some, he has worked at guard, he has worked at center. Teven (Eatmon-Nared), who has played some tackle and some guard. We just need two other guys after our five. I don’t think anybody expects you to have five extra offensive linemen. When you have five extra offensive linemen you are in pretty good shape. I don’t know if anybody has five, you might have eight; eight is a good number that I’d like to have. Again, some of those guys might have been on campus today but they weren’t dressed out.”
On how he feels about this team…
“I feel a lot better, especially because of the improvement that you saw from day one to 15. Again, I said this yesterday; there should have been improvement, a lot of young guys that we were working. (We have) a lot of young guys so you expect those young guys to improve with all the reps that we got. They got a lot of reps so you expect those guys to get better.”

On E.J. Fields…
“You know, again, he was one of those guys, a couple of drops, second half he makes a big play. We believe in him, sometimes he doesn’t believe in himself. The reason I can tell you we believe in him, he wouldn’t be out there if we didn’t believe in him, he was out there running with the first team. He was a guy that didn’t practice a lot with us this spring because he had class, he had a class that he needs for graduation. That’s what we are about and we get that, he would miss Wednesday and Friday practices about halfway through. For us to feel comfortable enough to put him with the first team, that’s telling him, we believe in you. Now believe in yourself, go out there and play with confidence, relax. You are always uptight, you have to relax and play this game, he’s got great ability. He just has to relax and let the game come to him, he gets all tense when the ball comes to him. Again, he made a huge play after a couple drops which you just have to get some consistency. He is a guy that is on the jugs machine all winter. When they catch those fifty thousand balls that they were catching I guarantee that he had most of them. So he’s got good hands, he just has to relax and make plays for us.”

On particular things looking for when watching video…
“As the head coach I have to be a guy that is making sure I am stressing fundamentals, technique and effort, that’s me. We go through our schemes with a fine-tooth comb in the offseason, our schemes are solid. Me, as the head coach I have to be studying those three things. Again, effort is really key, you saw a lot of guys on defense, you saw different personnel groupings on defense going in and out. As long as a guy is giving us the type of effort that we need, they are going to play and it is our job to find the kind of package that they can play in. as long as a guy is giving us effort, he is willing, because all of these guys that we have here are guys that we thought had ability or we wouldn’t have brought them here. The guy has the ability, he gives us the type of effort, we have to get him on the field in some type of package so that is why you are seeing 15 or 20 guys playing on defense right now with our first team.”

On Pat Washington…
“Pat is a ball coach, he is a ball coach. He is a good motivator, he gets after it. People talk about age, come on, age is nothing but a number. You guys saw how Pat and coach Cassity, those guys have energy. It isn’t about age it is about passion and Pat Washington has passion about this game and he has passion about being here which is important, being here in Kentucky. The guy doesn’t have passion about being here, we don’t want him here and that’s not saying anything about Tee (Martin), don’t get me wrong. I’m just talking about, the guy (Washington) has passion, that’s the thing that I’m really proud of about the guys that we have on this staff want to be here and they coach like it.”

On the tailbacks…
“We don’t have a big huge back, today we don’t, we have a couple coming. I think what we do offensively, these are the types of backs that have had success in this offense, that we throw the ball to, we try to hit some outside runs. When we are trying to hit some inside runs it is usually zone cutbacks so it gives the little guy with good footwork to come out the backside of some of the runs. They’re not real physical guys so we are just going to take a lot of them because they are not real physical guys. CoShik is about 185, 190 pounds, Raymond is about the same. Josh, we didn’t get to see him at all this spring. Jon Jon (George) had a good spring and could be one of those physical backs for us, he is probably 210 but there are a couple other guys that are coming in here that will walk in the door at 210 and in a couple months will be 225, that is the kind of backs you have to have that can hold up for 12 games. But for what we are doing, throwing the football, running the inside zone, running some of the stretch plays and throwing some of the screens out, I think these guys can get it done.”

On Marcus Caffey…
“Caffey, the guy is a starter. He’s a guy that if we played today he would be the starter. The guy is talented, I know he didn’t get many opportunities today but the guy is a starter. The reason why he is picking it up so fast is (Martavious) Neloms, Neloms is doing a really good job with him, he and coach Cassity. I think that guy is a special player; he is a big, physical looking guy that can hold up in this league. We are going to play against some big receivers and we think he is a guy that can go match up with them.”

On freshman coming in and being number three on the depth chart…
“Definitely, I think it is unfair for us to bring a freshman in here and bury him down the depth chart and not get him reps. First of all, if you put him at fifth team, how do you get him reps? To get a chance for those guys to see him. The thing that we are seeing is that the threes and fours, we don’t have a lot of positions that we have fives but the threes and fours; we’ll sit down individually with all our players and tell them here is what you have earned, here is what you need to work on and here is where you are going to be when we get back. And that’s fair, that is fair but we have to see if these freshmen are better than our threes and fours right now. We also have to see if they are better than our ones and twos, how do you see that, by getting reps. they are going to get reps at the third, I don’t think it is fair to a freshman, their first time away from home and you guys have written up all these nice articles about them and then they come in here and are fifth team, I don’t think that is fair to those kids.”

On where he wants to get the most looks for freshmen…
“Offensive line, offensive line. We have two young receivers that we have to take a look at. This will be the camp that we will come in with more receivers than we usually come into camp with, with about 12, the way we want to play we think we need to come into this camp with about 14 receivers. Defensively it would be the defensive backs and the two linebackers. That gives you depth in special teams also, we are not bringing those guys in here to be special teams players but as you develop them on offensive and defense you have to give them some kind of role and sometimes those roles come on special teams.”

Kentucky Players

#11 Maxwell Smith, QB, So.

On his thoughts on how he played ...
"Well to be honest, I made a couple of bad throws. Actually, too many. I didn't think I played too well. I thought as a team, collectively, we played well. We blocked well, ran it well."

On throwing to the tight ends ...
"I talked a lot about Demarco (Robinson) and obviously he showed up today. He was running really good routes. Ronnie (Shields) played well. (Anthony Kendrick), too made a couple good catches and like I said they really helped stretch the field. Like I said, I really like throwing to tight ends because you know they are big targets and they can beat linebackers one-on-one. They played well for us today."

On passing the ball more on offense ...
"That is a little bit higher, but just a little bit. We have been throwing it quite a bit. I think we are going to see a bit more passing in the fall. Coach said to expect 70/30 today. That's what it was."

#40 Avery Williamson, LB, Jr.

On his thoughts on how the team played ...
"We had a few mess-ups and mistakes. We (have) to go in there and fix that on Monday. (The two's) we still have a lot of work to do with them. But overall, I thought the one's looked really good out there."

On how comfortable he was ...
"I felt comfortable. I was a little bit nervous at first, but I always get nervous before the games. I calmed down there, and I had to go out there and make plays. That's my job."

On the communication compared to last year ...
"Really, we are just getting in the film room and learning it. We started (in the spring) everything over from the basics. We built up, and everybody is understanding things a lot more. That is why communication is a lot better."

#28 Eric Dixon, CB, So.

On his individual play ...
"I think I did a good job overall. I mean, I could have done a better job, I had some mental mistakes, but that was it."

On the team's play ...
"We still are a work in progress. I think we did an okay job, but we need to get better. We had some good effort, but a lot of mental mistakes. We just need to go out there and play ball."

On if they are where they need to be heading into the summer ...
"No, we are not where we need to be. We just need to push ourselves a little bit more, and get some good conditioning in and we will be where we need to be."

#10, Tyler Brause, LB

On whether opportunities have opened up for him...
"Absolutely. We're a young group. We're eager to learn. We want to get better. We're going to keep working."

On whether he followed Kentucky football before he was recruited...
"To be honest, I really didn't and then I got that call. Coach Smith recruited me. He actually called my high school coach. Started thinking about. The SEC is just a great opportunity. I'm excited."

On what the team will do this summer to improve...
"Seven-on-seven. We'll lift constantly. Coach (Rick) Minter will have voiceover tapes. We can sit in there in cut-ups and watch and learn. I'll study on my own and continue to develop physically and mentally."

#4, Raymond Sanders III, TB

On what's changed since the fall for him...
"I've improved a lot. I'm healthy now and that's a big part. I just want to make sure that I keep improving and keep making my body able to take the punch in the SEC and just keep getting stronger and faster."

On coming off of his injury and going into next season...
"I feel a lot better going into the fall. Last spring that's what I hurt my knee the first time so to come out this spring without an injury was a big accomplishment for me. I'm just excited to go out there and keep working and keep competing."

On how he feels about his team...
"I feel like we've got a pretty good team. We're not where we want to be at, but overall this spring was a very good spring for us, offense- and defense-wise. The defense makes us better and we make them better. Overall, we just have to keep pushing and making sure that we keep getting better because we'll never be satisfied."

On whether he did well in the running game...
"I came in and I was able to find the creases, the holes that the offensive line gave me and get good yards out of those. I stayed ahead of the chains. That's one thing; I don't think I had any negative runs. That was one thing I wanted, was to push forward and make sure that I'm going for it and keeping ahead of the chains so we're not at 3rd and 13 and instead we're at 2nd and six."

#9, Demarco Robinson, WR

On what got into him during today's game...
"I don't know, just finally getting the hang of the game. It's my second year. I'm just feeling better about the whole situation. It's coming along very good for us."

On whether he was expecting to play so well today...
"I'll say yes. I'm always expecting to do better than I always do. Confidence is key."

On what he thinks is better about his game since last fall...
"I would say just knowing the plays so it's nothing about thinking but just going on the field at our best so we can just go out there and play."

On whether he and Maxwell Smith developed chemistry over the spring...
"Over the spring we've been getting a lot of work. Extra passes and extra throwing and stuff and its really showing that it's helped. We're going to keep it up this summer."

On how the team is as a whole...
"As a whole I think we're doing better. When what we do is good, it brings our confidence up and when we get confidence it makes us better."

#2, Alvin Dupree, LB

On how comfortable he is with his position ...
"I'm very comfortable with it. I'm still just trying to get better every day. I always want to get better each day."

On his performance today ...
"I think I played pretty good. As a whole on defense we did pretty good. Some people got hurt early in the game, like Cartier (Rice), so we just had to step up for the DB's as well as the D-line."

On what he needs to work on through the summer ...
"I think I need to get more familiar with the playbook and play faster."

On Coach Minter's system ...
"Coach Minter's system is very good. It throws a lot of schemes at people as well as different types of blitz zones, pass coverages and things you think you can expect which turns into something else."


 

 

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