Sept. 20, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips was pleaded with his team’s performance in practice on Tuesday, however, Phillips said his team must have “great practices” in order to compete against the 15th-ranked Florida Gators when they roll into Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday for UK’s Southeastern Conference opener.
“We had a good practice but not a great practice today,” Phillips said after practice Tuesday morning. “In order for us to be able to beat these guys that we are about to play we have to have great practices, which means we have to be better tomorrow. Tuesdays are usually like this when you are putting in new game plan. It was a better Tuesday than we have had in the past, but it wasn’t a great Tuesday.”
Much of the concern and game plan for the Gators will be centered on slowing down what Phillips has termed one of the fastest teams in the nation. Florida boasts two very speedy offensive weapons in running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, who rank first and second on the UF team, respectively, in both rushing and receiving this season.
Phillips said that it is hard for the Wildcats to simulate that kind of speed in practice but the formula is always the same: “put a hat on them.”
“You have to go get a few cheetahs and hyenas and let those guys run about,” Phillips said when asked if there was any way to simulate Florida’s speed offensively in practice. “The thing to slow them down is to put a hat on them. We have beaten teams that have been faster than us in the past and the thing that you have to do is put a hat on them. We have to be good in execution and clean in your play to beat teams like this.”
On the injury front, the Wildcats received good news Tuesday with offensive linemen Billy Joe Murphy, Matt Smith and Larry Warford all practicing Tuesday morning.
“Billy Joe practiced today and looked good,” Phillips said. “Matt Smith had a good solid practice and Larry Warford didn’t look like he had any effects and we thought maybe he wouldn’t practice.”
Kentucky returns to the practice field Wednesday morning to continue preparation for Florida.