Joker happy with practice, team healthy

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For the second time in as many days, the University of Kentucky football team hit the Tim Couch Practice Fields at the Nutter Training Facility to continue its preparation for in-state foe Western Kentucky University. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

Phillips and the Wildcats were in good spirits after practice Wednesday, which featured a high energy level.

“Good practice today with a lot of energy,” Phillips said. “The guys are in tune to our plan and we are excited to play again.”

On the injury front, Phillips said senior tailback CoShik Williams has practiced both days this week and will resume his starting spot Saturday night. The head coach said that they will continue to rotate in juniors Raymond Sanders and Jonathan George and freshman Dyshawn Mobley.

One area that UK has emphasized in practice this fall has been creating turnovers. So far this season, UK has forced one turnover after a fumble recovery last week, something Phillips said needs to happen more to create more scoring chances for the offense.

“We have put an emphasis on stripping the ball and attacking the ball when it is in the air,” Phillips said. “We do need some turnovers. We need some short fields whether it be defense or the special teams area where we return a punt or kickoff to get short fields. It has become really, really hard to drive the ball.”

On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Rick Minter talked about the problems WKU’s offense can cause due to their experience and WKU senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes. Phillips went into more detail about the WKU rushing attack Wednesday.

“It’s very similar, but they have thrown the ball a little bit more than they have in the past, especially with a lot of underneath routes,” Phillips said. “They are trying to get the ball to the tailback out in the flats a lot, which is really (similar to a) toss sweep. They are just trying to get it to him out in space a little bit more instead of handing it to him and letting him bounce it outside. They are doing a really good job with their offense, especially adding the dimension of being able to throw the ball.”

Kentucky will have its final practice of the week Thursday before a short walk-thru segment Friday to complete preparation for WKU.