LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips and the Kentucky football team will take part in their second scrimmage of fall camp Saturday with Phillips spending most of his time after practice Friday talking about the improvements he wants to see from a week ago.
Among those improvements was seeing the offense put together a 10-plus play scoring drive, but also see the defense end those drives with key plays or turnovers.
“We had some big plays (last week) and kicked some field goals and had a few touchdowns but we have to get the ball in the endzone (more),” Phillips said. “I would like to see a drive put together also. Those are hard to come by when you get 12-14 play drives, but I would like to see one get put together tomorrow. Again, I want to see big plays, but I also would like to see us but together a drive. That gives the offense confidence and tells you the offense is focused.
“I would also like for the defense to not give up a drive. Which one do you want? I would like to have both of them happen. I would like our defense to shut them down and also (the offense) put together a drive. Those are the things we need to see get done.”
Phillips also said a big emphasis in the scrimmage Saturday will be for the offense to take care of the football. The head coach said Friday that less turnover has more often than not translated into Kentucky wins.
“I would like to see our running backs and our receivers secure the ball a little bit better,” Phillips said. “Last week, we had the ball on the ground. You can’t win big ballgames and this is a big ballgame by putting the ball on the ground. We have said the statistics, when we don’t turn the ball over the Cats win. We have to continue to make sure we are putting a huge emphasis on securing the football.”
Phillips also talked after practice Friday about how the depth chart is shaping up, especially at tight end. Phillips said that some of the UK players at that position have been battling injuries, causing senior Gabe Correll to receiver more significant snaps.
“Gabe Correll has got a lot of reps at the tight end position because of injuries,” Phillips said. “Neither one of those guys (Tyler Robinson and Jordan Aumiller) are injured but they have some bumps and bruises. Jordan Aumiller has a foot sprain and Tyler Robinson has a (sore) back. That thrust Gabe Correll into the lineup and he has got a lot of reps. He is one of the guys that we feel we can count on if we get down that far.”
Phillips didn’t individually talk about specific players at other positions but said that the freshmen, as a whole, have been good first impressions.
“A bunch of those young guys have battled their tails off (at numerous positions) and shown enough where we have to keep them in the mix,” Phillips said. “A couple of the receivers are going to play, a couple of the running backs are going to play, some of those young linebackers will play, and a lot of the defensive backs will play. They are coming in here and adding depth to this football team. You could see one of the young guys be a starter in the nickel. That is the type of faith we have in some of those young guys. They have a lot of ability but are young and inexperienced, but ability will overcome experience any day. We could see a youthful football team out there.
“We are trying to build this thing where kids are staying in our program and we become an old football team like we did in 2005, 2006 seasons where we had all those young kids and a couple years later we had all those old kids. We have to continue to build this thing slowly and we’ve elected to do it with freshmen not junior college guys so therefore we have a youthful football team.”