LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips said after the team’s first practice of fall camp Saturday that he didn’t see the execution that he was wanting. However, it seems the players responded Sunday inside the Nutter Field House as Phillips announced the team had much better execution and tempo.
“We came inside today because there was an 80% chance of thunderstorms and it didn’t do anything,” Phillips said jokingly after practice. “But it was (a much-improved) practice from execution to tempo. We were a lot sharper today, but not anywhere near where we need to be to line up and play (a game).”
Part of the early execution level in fall camp hinges on the development of the newcomers, who are only in the second day with the coaches. Phillips agreed with a reporter after practice that there normally is a day when the newcomers have a “light” come on, but he cautioned that every player is different and he didn’t see any “lights” on Sunday.
“There is a day when you see the light come on in the freshmen’s heads, yes, but today was not the day,” Phillips said. “Their heads are still swimming and the tempo of how we are trying to practice gets to them. The tempo of trying to get the play in and out, get in and out of the huddle and get lined up is difficult on the freshmen right now. Today was not the day we saw the light come on. … They don’t always grow up as fast as we want, but some are faster than others.”
Phillips said Darrian Miller’s light came on very quickly last year, which is part of the reason jthe offensive tackle received significant time as a freshman, according to Phillips. But the head coach said there were others, like safety Ashely Lowery, whose light came on about midway through the season, yet was still able to help UK’s secondary later in the year.
As normal, the quarterback position is drawing a lot of attention early in fall camp. Phillips said after practice Sunday that after watching Saturday’s practice film he wanted the quarterbacks to have better decision making and “command of the ball.” And although he felt the quarterbacks looked better Sunday, he preferred to hold out judgment until watching the practice film.
“I don’t really like to watch the practice out here live and then (make conclusions),” Phillips said about which quarterback he felt looked better so far in practice. “I like to go watch the film because yesterday I thought we had better command of the football, but after watching the tape we didn’t. But we improved today, so we will watch the film and make a decision.”
The team will go into meetings Sunday night before continuing practice on the field Monday in preparation for the Wildcats’ first full-pads practice on Wednesday.