LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – After two practices in helmets and shorts, the University of Kentucky football team put on the shoulder pads for the first time in fall camp Monday, holding a just over two and a half hour practice on the Tim Couch Practice Fields at the Nutter Training Facility.
“It’s good to be out here and good to have the pads on,” Phillips said about the team’s practice Monday. The team will have its first full-pads practice Wednesday.
Phillips said after practice Monday that he saw several positive differences from the first two days of practice, especially with the addition of shoulder pads.
“The difference between the first two days and today is that you get to see who will put their face on people,” Phillips said. “It is still not full-speed tackling, but you are getting to see who can play behind their pads and who puts their face on people. Today, we talked about playing with balance and with their heads up … It was another good day and the weather was great.”
Much of the talk after Sunday’s practice was the evaluation of the quarterback position with Phillips saying he likes to review practice film before forming a conclusion each day. The head coach echoed those thoughts again Monday, saying the decision to name a starting quarterback is going to occur slowly.
“Still hard to evaluate the quarterbacks after three days, especially when you are installing, so we will take it slow,” Phillips said. “We have two weeks before I would like to get it done, which means you have two scrimmages. But we have seven days of installation that we are building up to the first scrimmage and we will see if it shakes its way out then, but probably not. Making the decision after the first scrimmage is probably way too soon.”
Although the head coach held off too much judgment about the four players competing at the position in senior Morgan Newton, sophomore Maxwell Smith, and freshmen Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow, he did say he has seen encouraging things from each.
“A lot of encouraging things, but some discouraging things too,” Phillips said. “A lot of that comes with only being out here three days and it comes with putting in new plays every day. I like the leadership we have out of that position from all four of them. They (each have showed) great leadership and presence and those are the things that are encouraging.”
Defensively, Phillips said that sophomore Ashely Lowery and senior Mikie Benton are getting the first team reps at safety. The head coach also mentioned that junior Dakotah Tyler, who missed last season, has been a positive addition to the team this fall, bringing lots of experience. Phillips said that sophomore Miles Simpson is “becoming a leader” at strongside linebacker, while junior college transfer Kory Brown and redshirt freshman Josh Forrest are performing well and making it a healthy competition, according to Phillips.
Kentucky will return to the practice fields in helmets and shoulder pads again Tuesday before its first full-pads practice Wednesday.