LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips said after practice Tuesday that the UK football team went through more of a physical practice than normal as he and the coaching staff worked to increase tempo Tuesday morning at the Nutter Training Facility.
“We had a physical and intense practice, which is exactly what we wanted,” said Phillips, whose team had not practiced Sunday or Monday. “We tried to set the tempo with our 3-on-3 drills and you sometimes get worried about doing 3-on-3 the week of the game but we needed it. Our mock scrimmage (Saturday) wasn’t really a full-speed scrimmage and we needed something to set the tempo, so we went 3-on-3 today and got exactly what we wanted.”
Phillips said the coaching staff will dial back the physicality of practice starting Wednesday although they want to continue to increase intensity and number of reps.
“We needed to set the tempo,” Phillips said about practice Tuesday. “We will start easing up a little bit tomorrow as far as being physical. We will not ease up on the reps of the intensity but we won’t be as physical tomorrow. And then we will take the pads off the next two days after that.”
Keeping with the physical theme, Phillips also talked about the differences between this year’s defense and last year’s. The head coach said most of the improvements start with how the team has improved in the weight room.
“We are much bigger and stronger obviously, and we should be after a year,” Phillips said. “We were playing a lot of young guys (last season) and know those young guys have a little bit more knowledge of the position that they are playing. With size, you become a more physical football team and I think we are a faster football team over there on defense. The thing we have to do is stay healthy. We are not as deep as we were coming off the bench in the backend. I think we will be deep in the front three guys, but after that we are not that deep.”
Kentucky will hold another “Tuesday-type” practice Wednesday, according to Phillips. The team will also practice Thursday and Friday before concluding preparations for the season opener at Louisville.