LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team held a mid-week scrimmage Tuesday before breaking camp for the beginning of the fall semester Wednesday. The Wildcats will not practice Wednesday in order for the players to focus on their first day of classes.
Phillips said the scrimmage was good for Kentucky to be able to give some younger players some repetitions on a playing surface they will face on Sept. 4, the field turf.
“We had a lot of young guys able to take some reps at game speed on this turf (field turf),” Phillips said. “It was the first time that we actually did any work on this turf.”
Although it was good to get some reps on the turf, Phillips said that it is hard to get a good grip on his team because so many leaders have missed some time.
“Right now, it is hard because we have so many leaders out right now,” Phillips said. “I think that their attitude is right but we have a lot of our leaders that are out, especially on defense. DeQuin (Evans) hasn’t (practiced) in about a week and a half, Danny Trevathan has been out and he is one of our leaders.”
Phillips said that the leaders that are on the field on the defensive side, junior defensive back Randall Burden and senior defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin to name a few, have really been picking up the slack and playing well.
“The ones that are there (are practicing well and hard),” Phillips said. “Randall Burden is taking a lot of snaps and I really like the way that he is competing and trying. He is trying to lead a bunch of young pups right now (in the secondary). Ricky (Lumpkin) was out and Collins Ukwu was out a little bit today. That is why it is hard to get a read on this football team right now because some of our leaders are out.”
Phillips doesn’t anticipate the injuries to keep any players out of the Sept. 4 showdown with Louisville, saying all are relatively minor injuries.
“All these are minor bumps and bruises and I don’t expect any of these guys to miss time on Sept. 4,” Phillips said. “They are typical bumps and bruises that you have this time of the year.”
Phillips said that sophomore tailback Donald Russell was back on the field Tuesday afternoon making what Phillips called “unbelievable runs.” The return of Russell is a good sign for a UK running back corps that looks to have depth after impressive fall camps by freshmen Raymond Sanders and Brandon Gainer.