Phillips, Cats Ready For First Major Scrimmage

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky football team will have its first major scrimmage of 2010 spring practice Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

The warm-up period begins at 1 p.m., followed by a scrimmage of unspecified length. It is the last open practice of the spring until the Blue/White Game on April 24.

“There was a lot of energy here today,” Phillips said after Friday morning’s practice. “There needs to be a lot of energy tomorrow, too, because we have to see a lot of young kids getting reps (repetitions). This is an important scrimmage for a lot of young kids to see where they are.

“There’s an important battle going on, if you guys don’t know it, at quarterback. (Laughter from media) Those guys have to have a good scrimmage, too. All of them threw the ball well today, made some plays, threw the ball down the field a little bit better today. I’m excited to see those guys tomorrow. I also want to see how they are going to run the offense, too – tempo, getting in and out of the huddle, getting them to the line and then communicate at the line of scrimmage.

“I expect to see us play fast, number one, play with enthusiasm and make plays. That’s the name of the game, you have to make plays in the end. You can play as fast as you want, play with as much enthusiasm as you want but if you’re not making plays it’s all a wash. I expect guys to make plays.”

Defensive end DeQuin Evans, who incurred a sprained knee last Saturday, will not participate in the scrimmage but hopes to return to practice Monday. Fullback Moncell Allen, offensive lineman Jake Lanefski and defensive end Taylor Wyndham are being withheld from contact all spring while they rehabilitate injuries.

Friday’s workout was highlighted by several excellent pass plays during the team period, with nifty catches and/or long runs made by wide receivers such as Matt Roark, Brian Adams and E.J. Jones. Some of the successes featured perfect throws and acrobatic catches by well-covered receivers.

“They (receivers) made some plays, they went over some guys today and made plays,” Phillips said. “That helps the quarterbacks’ confidence, too. All three (quarterbacks, Mike Hartline, Morgan Newton, Ryan Mossakowski) are getting better. They made huge strides today and hopefully continue to make strides tomorrow.”

Phillips said those three quarterbacks would rotate with the first- and second-team offenses and get equal repetitions during the scrimmage.

Phillips also said that he is encouraged by the progress made by the offensive line under new coach Mike Summers. Four senior starters must be replaced from the 2009 line.

“I love this offensive line,” Phillips said. “I love what Coach Summers is doing with them. They are starting to take pride in their play. (They are) Playing fast, he’s got them running off the ball instead of oozing off the ball like they were doing when we first started this spring. I’m excited about those guys, they’re taking pride in what they’re doing and I like that. I think this line might be more athletic than the one we had (last year, which was noted for its athleticism).”

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