Oct. 11, 2010
Cat Scratches: Losing's tough, but Cats remain confident
Cat Scratches Video Update: Cobb, Burden, Ukwu
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
COACH PHILLIPS: Injuries, DeQuin Evans, he aggravated a ligament in his ankle. Derrick Locke still has no feeling in his arm well, he does have feeling, not as much as needed in his arm, in his shoulder with the stinger. Those guys are doubtful. Larry Warford should be back on Wednesday. Donald Russell should be back on Wednesday. Larry is a back (injury), and Donald Russell is a sprained knee.
Another opportunity, we keep talking about guaranteed opportunities. Those guarantees keep running out, though, so we are down to guarantee No. 7 and another big challenge for us as a football team. South Carolina is coming in here on a high after beating the No. 1 team in the country.
The quarterbacks are playing outstanding for them. He (Stephen Garcia) is completing 72 percentage of passes. They are averaging 30 points a game, running the ball.
And one of the things that people always put with Steve Spurrier is he's always throwing the ball well. But when Steve Spurrier has won and won big, they are running the football. They are running the football averaging 160 something yards rushing. Third downs, (they are making) 55% which is unheard of.
And the reason why they are 55% is because they are running the ball efficiently on first and second down, getting themselves into third down, which is allowing them to keep the chains moving and allowing them to score points, which they scored 30 something points (per game).
Defensively, the statistics that are the most important are the ones that they are good at, okay? You talk about total yards, they are one of the last in the league. But the statistics that matter, scoring, they are only giving up 19 points a game. Sacks, they had seven last week and a total of 19. They have only given up seven touchdowns. Those are statistics that count. Only giving up 109 yards rushing. Those are the statistics that count, not the total total defense, those things. Only given up three rushing TDs. So, (they are) doing a really good job of not allowing people to run the football on them, which is demoralizing when the team can run the football.
And in the special teams area, they're doing a good job of flipping the field with their punting unit, which is giving 38 yards net punting. So they are flipping the field and they are punting.
So (this is) another big challenge, another fast defense that you are going to face every week in this league. Got some playmakers on the perimeter at wide receiver with (Alshon) Jeffery.
They are establishing the run which is what you have to do to win big in this league.
Q. Joker, if Derrick Locke can go, what, if anything, does that change? Do you have to rely on Randall more in the wildcat, or do you do similar things?
COACH PHILLIPS: We'll have to continue doing the things that we're doing because that's what we know. We also have to use more of the Wildcat possibly. But the Wildcat package is funny. We got in the Wildcat package to throw the football this week. And you line up in the Wildcat package and, lo and behold, there is the run because we hadn't been getting it. They haven't been set up for us to run the ball as well as we were able to this weekend in the Wildcat package.
But we got in it to throw it, and, lo and behold, there was the run. So we stayed with it a little bit longer. Usually in the Wildcat package, what you see is what you are going to get. People have a Wildcat check that they are going to line up in, and that's usually what you are going to get the rest of the game.
So, we'll get in it to see what they are going to give us. If they are giving us the run game, we'll get in it to run the ball. If not, we'll get in it to throw the ball.
But we got to get the ball in his (Randall Cobb) hands. Obviously, he is a guy that makes not only plays but huge plays for us regardless if you are dropping back and throwing it, which he did last week, by scrambling around and making a play or if you are running it. He has a chance to make a play for you.
Because we've run the ball efficiently, we've turned it to our running back. Whether it be (Derrick) Locke or Donald Russell or the (freshman Raymond), Sanders, we ran the ball efficiently when we've done it. We got to stick to what we're doing in the run game but also get the ball to Randall a little bit more.
Q. What's the process when guys have a heartbreaking loss like that, when they put their heart out on Saturday night? What's the process of getting them emotionally back up?
COACH PHILLIPS: Well, you got to call on your leaders, that's for sure. You guys had a bunch of our leaders in here today. You guys tell me. How did they sound? We haven't lost those guys.
Randall Cobb and Collins Ukwu played his heart out. Played one of the best games he has ever played here. Stuart Hines, who is playing on a hobbled leg. Those guys are pouring their heart and soul into this program. We have to call on those guys to help bring people with them. And they are.
It is easy to motivate when you are winning. Those are the easy that's easy. You can get after them. You can do anything, almost anything you want when you are winning.
But when you are had three tough losses that we've had, we got to have some of those guys to help us get them motivated.
Q. You said last week you needed to get mad, needed to have better Wednesday, Thursday practices. How much do you rely on Randall in times like this? How much does what he say goes in the locker room?
COACH PHILLIPS: When he speaks, people listen. So we rely on him. Not just him, a lot of guys on this football team that we rely on. When it is coming from one of your peers, you tend to listen a little bit better than if it is your boss. You tend to listen a little bit better it usually takes heed you take heed to it when it is one of your peers. So we'll call on him.
Like I say, all the guys that were in this room earlier today that are leaders on this football team, we'll ask those guys to (help motivate the team) and they are. People do follow those guys. We'll ask those guys to go harder.
Coach (Rock) Oliver does a really good job on Sunday in doing their mojo back. He is in the weight room. And they come in as a group, which I think it's been good for us those guys are in there together to try to get motivated together. And he does a really good job of bringing them together and getting them fired up and ready for the work week.
Q. One of your guys said this is actually an easier one maybe to bounce back from than Ole Miss. You felt like maybe Ole Miss you shot yourself in the foot, you cost yourself a game, you at least put yourself more in a position to win against (Auburn)
COACH PHILLIPS: I think this team definitely has confidence; and they can play with anybody in this league, going toe to toe with the No. 8 team in the country and having a chance to win it. Definitely has to help our confidence.
But they all are hard to bounce back from. But with the way they bounced back from Ole Miss because we did do some things that we felt like that if we had done better, we would win the game. We just got to build on some on a lot of the positive. We did a lot of good things on Saturday, did a lot of good things, especially in the second half. We just got to continue to build on that.
And we had some players that hadn't made plays made some big plays. Donald Russell made some big plays for us in that game. Mike Hartline is playing outstanding. Collins Ukwu made plays he hasn't been making this year.
A lot more people are starting to gain confidence. Winston Guy had his first interception. He's one ahead of me (laughter).
Q. What kind of matchup difficulties does Jeffery (cause)
COACH PHILLIPS: He is a huge matchup. The difference is because you got to get him at the line and then even down the field. He is so big, he covers up the guys. He did it (against Alabama) he did it against probably the best coverage team in the country. They do a really good job of passing off man to man coverage. He did it against those guys ... He's blessed with great athleticism and strong hands. Just a physical guy at the line of scrimmage.
So (he's a) great `rebounder.' That's what we have been talking to Chris (Matthews) about. Chris is becoming a great rebounder also. He (Jeffery) is a great rebounder and started against us last year. So he is a guy that probably will have a lot of confidence in this game because this is where he really had his breakout game, was against us last year.
Q. Is Jeffery the typical Spurrier-type receiver?
COACH PHILLIPS: He always has the guy that can stretch the field. Alshon is the guy, he is a good post player. But after he posts you up and he's so strong and physical to shove you to the ground and make a huge play. We tried he is the type of guy we tried to recruit a few years ago. He has been at our campus at a few games. He will be playing against (Donte) Rumph who played with him in high school. He will be fired up and ready.
They just throw it up to him and let him go down the field ten yards and post up and just throw the ball up to him. If you can remember, last year we were in great position. We just did not make the play. He went up and made the plays over us this year. But our guys were in great position. We just got to be more physical with him.
Q. I heard you talk about ending the negative streak. How do you handle it with your team? This is obviously one of them. Do you mention that?
COACH PHILLIPS: I've tried not to mention things like that because we got to play. This is a different team, you know, obviously. And we just got to go play to win. That's what you saw last week. Our kids played hard, hard enough to win.
Q. You talked about taking the ball when you win the toss. Talk about that a little bit. And in addition to that, my understanding is that Kentucky has not scored in the first quarter against South Carolina since 2000.
COACH PHILLIPS: I didn't know that. But we got to try to change that.
Our philosophy has always been, I have always been the guy to defer, kick off, play defense, try to get a short field. Go three and out (on defense), get a short field and go out and score. This year for some reason, I've felt confident in our ability to score and it's been right. We've scored our first series five out of six times.
And the kicking doesn't help. As far as us kicking the ball off, we're now starting to kick it off where we want it and to cover pretty good. But that had some to do with it.
But every week I go in to our offensive guys and look at our first eight (plays) and feel a little bit I feel confident in them, that we got a chance to score and execute them. So we've taken the ball and scored five out of six times. The thing we've got to do is after scoring is go in and throw a shutout. We have to go in and throw a three and out and keep that momentum going.
(Editor's note: actually, Kentucky scored in the first quarter vs. South Carolina in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Wildcats did not score in the first quarter vs. SC from 2001-06.)
Q. Joker, what do you need to do to create more turnovers?
COACH PHILLIPS: Are you helping me with my call in show? (laughter) You are in charge of that and Larry his question is coming later. But you are helping with the call in show. Give it to me again.
Q. You practice like you play?
COACH PHILLIPS: Exactly.
Q. To create more turnovers, what do you need? I think you have only created six turnovers.
COACH PHILLIPS: We have to gang tackle. We have to gang tackle. On the flip side, we haven't turned the ball over but six times also. So we have the least amount of turnovers (in the SEC) on offense but also have created the least amount. But I think a lot of that has to do with gang tackling. Usually the first guy is to wrap up, the second guy is stripping the ball.
Well, what we've been trying to do is strip the ball with the first tackle which cost us a lot of missed tackles this past week. We created some we knocked some balls out because first guy was wrapping up, second guy was trying to strip the ball. And we were putting our face on the football.
We've got to keep those balls in play and recover them. They put the ball on the ground four times. We didn't get one. Winston gets his interception. But we got to tackle better is the number one thing and continue to second and third guy to come in and strip the ball.
That's because that's what wins games, the turnovers. You look at the Auburn South Carolina. South Carolina is probably undefeated in the league if they don't turn the ball over four times in the fourth quarter against Auburn. That's what wins especially the big games is creating turnovers and not turning it over.
Last three weeks, we have turned it over six times, two a game. And we haven't created I know we created one against Florida, none against Ole Miss and one (vs. Auburn). So two turnovers? Wwe're minus four in the last three weeks. When the team puts the ball on the ground four times, we got to get half of them. I think that's the common denominator of the teams that win and lose. Right, Coach Cropp?
Q. Joker, have you ever seen a more spectacular touchdown catch than Jordan Aumiller?
COACH PHILLIPS: I really like how he sheltered the light from his eyes. I saw a picture in the paper. Who took the picture? Was that Larry Vaught that took a picture and put it in the paper?
We got in that formation because we thought we had some throws and did a really good job of selling the block on the front side and leaking out the backside. It is called a hide route, hiding all the way back to the backside.
You know Randall Cobb is going people are going to be sprinting to tackle him. So he's going to attract a lot of attention, and we're able to get him (Aumiller) wide open. So he did a good job a great job, Larry, of catching the football.
Q. On a different note, some of the plays that Winston made and Ronnie Sneed made, does that show the signs of growing up?
COACH PHILLIPS: We need them to we need them to grow up in a hurry. Your middle backer, he should be your quarterback, and your safeties. We have said time and time again that your safeties (have to play well to have a good defense). You see safeties making tackle for one yard gain. We'll block a play clean and the safety tackles us for a one yard gain. Then you try to throw over the top and safeties are knocking it down. Your safeties have to play that fast. He has got to play fast and read downhill runs and make tackles for short gains. And he also has got to be over the top and not play down.
We see that every week. So we need Winston to make some of those plays, and we need Ronnie Sneed to be the leader of this defense.
Q. How about Mychal Bailey?
COACH PHILLIPS: Same way. He is the same guy. Those two guys are interchangeable and they have to be able to make tackles. And they are making a lot of tackles. The problem with their tackles, they are not for one yard gains. Your safety has got to be downhill players, fast downhill players because those are the guys, you can't block for them in your blocking schemes. You have to dig them out and we are not seeing a lot of guys having to do that.
Those guys have to play faster, especially downhill, to get us an extra hand on the football.
Q. You talked about Donald Russell
, the week before kind of got passed on the depth chart. How did he handle that?
COACH PHILLIPS: He was bracketed (on the depth chart), but I'm proud of Donald, how he handled things. We put Sanders in first Saturday night and he missed a run. So we wanted to go with Donald, and Donald went in there and was seeing well, made some people miss in the secondary, did some good things in picking up the blitzes. I'm proud of the way Donald handled the situation.
It might seem like he was moved down, but he wasn't. It was a bracket situation. He is playing a lot of special teams for us ... like I say, it is just (like) the defensive linemen. (Mark) Crawford went in first, but we knew that those guys were going to play behind him and same with Donald.
Q. Do Donald and Raymond seem like they kind of have different styles?
COACH PHILLIPS: They do, they do. There are some similarities, too. Sanders is probably a little smoother. Donald is probably a little herky jerky when he gets into the line of scrimmage. He has made people miss by herking and jerking. (Laughter).
I'm wondering with my style, what they used to say about me, because I wasn't herky jerky, I was the guy that fell down every time he caught the ball.
Q. (Re: having coached at South Carolina, his thoughts on the growth of the program there)
COACH PHILLIPS: It has always been rolling. They got how many wins in a row (vs. Kentucky)? They play good football in the state. There's two teams (South Carolina and Clemson) they are supporting out of a little state that doesn't have a lot of people. They are supporting us, too, because we've gotten a lot of players out of that state.
So South Carolina football is good enough to support, I would say, four teams because they are supporting Georgia, too. They are supporting North Carolina. They do a good job of that. The thing they have to do is keep them there, and they are starting to keep all the players there.
I think (Marcus) Lattimore will help keep them even more there. They will have a chance to compete every year. They are a team that's close enough to Georgia, they can go over and get players there. They've always played good football there.
Q. What are we seeing out of Lattimore?
COACH PHILLIPS: Big, physical, patient. He is faster than he looks, similar to the guy we just saw last week. That guy is a lot faster than he looks. Because they're so big, they don't look as fast as a guy like that. But he is a lot faster than he looks. He is a guy that's taking care of the football for the most part. That's the thing you don't see out of a young freshman back.
Q. Joker, how much of a 72% is kind of ridiculous. How much of that (completion percentage) is because teams are so focused on Lattimore?
COACH PHILLIPS: Definitely helps when you can run the football. You now start getting one on one coverages. Then people decide, well, we don't want to come up and play press coverage on Alshon so let's back off, give you the underneath passes.
So I think their ability to run the football has definitely helped. And, now, it is also a security blanket. When he does throw a couple incompletions, you turn and hand it to that big fellow and his offensive linemen are getting a hat on a hat and he is running to daylight. That definitely has to help his confidence and their confidence in calling plays, too, because they know they can get back to their running game.
Q. Can you talk about physical play in general on defense. Can you talk a little bit more how did they shut down Alabama's running attack.
COACH PHILLIPS: Their safeties are downhill players, like we talked about. You will see Ingram. They (Alabama) will block a play clean and their safeties are down making a play for two yard gain and they are securing the tackle.
That's what we've got to do. We've got to get those guys involved a little more. We got to get involved quicker. And once they secure the tackle, second and third guy has got to be there to try to strip the football.
Q. Joker, they sacked McElroy seven times. Your offensive line has been great and Hartline has been great in not allowing sacks. Talk about that matchup.
COACH PHILLIPS: One thing, our offensive line, they accept those challenges. They have been in went into the Florida game. They had sacked quarterbacks a lot this year. We gave up one sack, and it was really late in the game. Last week, this team was leading one of the tops in the league and we didn't give up a sack. We were credited with one, but it was out of our Wildcat package. And Randall was really running the football, trying to get back to the line of scrimmage. So we got credited for a sack there.
The offensive line has done a really good job. The reason why they have done a good job is they communicate. Mike's helped them a lot. He makes the calls and they communicate calls amongst themselves and Mike's ability to step up when he needs to step up and his ability to throw the football away.
And then we've done some things in our passing game which we always had some quick throws, get it out of his hands quick, if he is getting pressure. That is the reason why he is completing a lot of passes and running a lot of option routes, which things are happening in his face. So if he does get pressure, he can dump it off and those guys we have more `yac' yards (yards after contact) than we have had a long time because of that.
Thank you very much.
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