UK practice to switch focus Thursday

Head coach Joker Phillips was pleased with his team’s energy and enthusiasm at practice Wednesday, saying that all preparation has to move to the mental side of the ball to finish preparing for Louisville.

“I like the energy and the enthusiasm but from here on out it is all mental,” Phillips said. “Physically we have done all we can do, now it has to be a mental preparation. Tomorrow’s practice will be a lot of mental reps, getting guys on and off the field, making sure we are in transition in our special teams.”

Phillips talked about not only preparing the team mentally but also the freshmen that should expect to see playing time in their first collegiate game. The first-year head coach has talked extensively this fall about the maturity of the freshman class, including tailback Raymond Sanders whom he termed one of the most mature freshmen he has coached.

“Prepare them mentally so that they are relaxed and know their assignments,” Phillips said. “We think that we have some pretty mature guys. Raymond Sanders is one of the most mature guys that we have ever had as a freshman … We have got some ‘old’ freshmen and they are old enough to understand that.”

Kentucky will return to the practice field for the final time Thursday before the season opener at Louisville on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Phillips said that the team will play a “mini game” Thursday as part of the final mental preparations.

“We will play a mini game so to speak,” Phillips said. “We have to get our guys back fresh physically and sharp mentally.”