Oct. 31, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - For the second time in as many days, the University of Kentucky football team moved practice indoors to the Nutter Field House. The Wildcats practiced for nearly two hours Wednesday as part of their preparation for Southeastern Conference foe Vanderbilt this weekend at Commonwealth Stadium.
After practice, UK head coach Joker Phillips talked to gathered media. The head coach spent much of the time talking about his team's game plan for the Commodores this Saturday. Offensively, Phillips said they have to continue to get freshmen Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles experience. Phillips said Vanderbilt disguises their blitzes better than any team UK has faced so far.
"Every day is a learning experience for them," Phillips said. "They are freshmen trying to learn have to defeat different types of defense and fast defenses. The defense we play this week is ranked really high and only giving up 19 points a game and bring blitzes from everywhere. Probably the best team we have seen as far as disguising blitzes. You don't see that as the ball is getting into your hands and you have to be able to react to it as quickly as you possibly can. Those guys are doing a good job of coming out here and trying to be better."
Phillips said the loss of starting quarterback Maxwell Smith hurt the offense, but they will not use it as an excuse. The head coach said he and the staff still expect results.
"Although it did hurt us and we had to change gears, but it can't be (an excuse)," Phillips said. "We have had to change gears around here a lot. We still expect results, we haven't got them the way we would like to, but we expect results."
Defensively, Phillip said the Wildcats have to continue to improve their rush defense. Two weeks ago, the Wildcats limited Georgia to 77 rushing yards on 32 carries - the fewest rushing yards for a UK opponent on the season and the fewest the Bulldogs had posted on the year. Phillips said Vanderbilt has a downhill running attack and UK must limit the big play.
"We have to stop the run and we have done that fairly well the last couple of weeks," Phillips said. "We held that team last week (through) the third quarter to 188 yards. The thing we have done (recently) is stop the run and we haven't given up any big plays in the run game and that is the thing you have to do. You watch the Florida game and those guys did a really good job of running the ball downhill versus Florida and that is what you are going to see similar to Stanford and San Francisco 49ers. It is Jim Harbaugh-type of ball and that is what you are seeing with these guys offensively."
On the injury front, Phillips said defensive lineman Donte Rumph is still day-to-day, while senior defensive backs Martavius Neloms and Cartier Rice both practiced. Sophomore running back Josh Clemons, who had a stellar start to his career last year before injury, practiced Wednesday and "looked good" according to Phillips. Phillips said he would still not return this year but they are looking forward to a full recovery.
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