Cats finish serious preps for Florida

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team practiced for the final time Thursday, putting the finishing touches on its preparation for the Southeastern Conference opener on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. ET against No. 14 Florida. Kentucky will hold a walk-through practice Friday morning before flying to Gainesville, Fla.

Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips spoke after practice about the team’s preparation. Phillips, whose Wildcats have run a no-huddle, hurry-up offense all season, said that type of style could be helpful in a hostile environment like UK will face this weekend at The Swamp.

“Definitely helps because you have more time to operate at the line of scrimmage,” Phillips said. “There is not a lot of verbal communication -- everything is hand signals from the line of scrimmage. There is not a lot of echoing signals where the quarterback gives it to the receivers and you go through that. Everybody is seeing the signals that the quarterback is seeing, except for the offensive line. So Max (Smith) doesn’t have to tell the running back and the receivers, they know all the signals.”

One thing Phillips has emphasized this week is getting off to a faster start. Phillips said the team changed some of the practice schedule to try to get off to better starts.

“We did stretch, special teams, 10 minute individual and then right to 11-on-11 to try to get us going a little bit faster,” Phillips said. “I can’t say it is that simple. I have been in places that started fast and ended slow. The thing we have to do is a better job of finishing. We have to continue to talk about playing fast.”

Injury wise, Phillips said that offensive linemen Darrian Miller and Matt Smith, who have missed parts of practice this week due to injuries, will make the trip to Gainesville and practiced Thursday. Senior tailback CoShik Williams did not practice Thursday, but will make the trip to Gainesville. Phillips said Jonathan George, Raymond Sanders and Dyshawn Mobley will get the reps at tailback.