LEXINGTON, Ky. – A day after the start of classes, several players who have missed time on the practice field returned to the Nutter Training Facility practice fields healthy and ready to go Thursday.
“We went a lot faster today,” Phillips said. “We had a couple of guys back. DeQuin Evans was back and it was one of the first times that Qua Huzzie has been back and he was looking fast.”
Evans, a returning starter that led the Wildcats last season in tackles-for-loss and sacks, has been nursing a shoulder problem that has kept him sidelined more than a week. Huzzie also was out an extended amount of time with a large blister on his foot. Phillips announced that Huzzie has begun working at weakside linebacker to be the backup behind junior Danny Trevathan. Huzzie also will continue to play middle linebacker as well.
“That is the deal, we have to get our next best backer ready to go in at any spot,” Phillips said. “We feel that Qua is our next best backer so he went over there to play that position.”
La’Rod King, a sophomore from Radcliff, Ky., also returned to the practice field, much to the pleasure of Phillips and the UK coaching staff. Phillips has said multiple times in fall camp that the team needs another presence at wide receiver in addition to than junior Randall Cobb and senior Chris Matthews. King has been out with a “stinger” in his neck and shoulder area.
“It was good to see La’Rod King out there today,” Phillips said. “La’Rod definitely gives us a little more offensively when he is out there as our third wide receiver.”
Freshman wide receiver Brain Adams is one of the guys that Phillips and UK wide receiver coach Tee Martin have been looking to step up and make plays. Phillips said he things Adams is “starting to turn the corner.”
“I think that Brian Adams had a really good practice today and made some plays that we have been expecting him to make since we have been in camp,” Phillips said. “Hopefully, he is starting to turn the corner for us because we need four or five receivers that can make plays for us.”
The head coach continued to speak highly of the offensive line, saying he liked how fast they were coming off the ball and getting on people. Phillips said the ability of the offensive line to make blocks at the next level “makes him excited.” The head coach said that senior Brad Durham and junior Billy Joe Murphy are battling for the starting nod at right tackle.
Former UK football coach Rich Brooks stopped by to take in practice today and talked with the team afterwards, telling the players to take care of themselves on and off the field and the history they could make.
“We have tried to get this thing to the next level the last couple of years and have come close,” Phillips said when asked what Brooks said to the team. “He talked about making sure we take care of our business so we can take it to the next level.”
Phillips announced that redshirt freshman linebacker Ryan Mosby has asked for his release from the UK football team and will transfer to another school.
Fans in Louisville Invited to First Joker Phillips Call-In Show: First-year University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips is inviting fans in Louisville to attended his first call-in radio show at Aspen Creek Restaurant on Monday starting at 6 p.m. ET.
Aspen Creek is located at 8000 Bardstown Road in Louisville. The show will start at 6 p.m. and run for an hour. Fans not attending the live show can listen to the show on Big Blue Sports Network radio stations across the state.
Locke Named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List: University of Kentucky senior tailback Derrick Locke has been named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List, which is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.
Locke, a native of Hugo, Okla., lead UK in rushing last season with 907 yards and six touchdowns. In his career at Kentucky, Locke has gained 1,731 rushing yards, good for 10th on Kentucky’s all-time rushing list. The native of Hugo, Okla., is in the Kentucky history books as the only player in school history to have two 100-yard kickoff returns in a career. He enters the season holding the UK career record for kickoff returns with a 27.4-yard average. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound tailback is also dangerous in the passing game, catching 31 passes for 284 yards last season, including two catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns in UK’s road win against Georgia.
The field of candidates is highlighted by the nation’s leading returning rusher, Dion Lewis from Pitt; 2009 Doak Walker Award finalist and Heisman Trophy recipient, Mark Ingram from the University of Alabama; and Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech who ranked third nationally and led the ACC in rushing last season.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists on November 10, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on November 22. The Committee will cast a second vote beginning on November 29 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
The recipient of the 2010 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on Thursday, December 9.
The award, in its 21th year, is named for SMU’s three-time All-America running back Doak Walker. It is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.