UK Football Holds Final Open Practice

UK Hosts Final Open Practice, Continue to Get Kentucky Better

Kentucky Football Notebook

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team held its final open practice of the year inside the Nutter Field House on Sunday, practicing in full pads for around two hours.

“We had a good practice today,” Coach Joker Phillips said. “There was a lot of enthusiasm.”

Kentucky is preparing to play Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 8. The Wildcats have not spent much time on Pitt’s schemes in practice but they are trying to tune up their own offensive and defensive systems. Phillips said that the defense has been working on takeaways and is starting to get more takeaways during 11-on-11 segments. The head coach said overall UK is getting better defensively in practice.

“We have to continue to learn how to practice staying up and flying around,” Phillips said. “I like what I am seeing. The defense is now concentrating on takeaways and they are getting some. On offense, our guys have got to make sure they are taking care of the football. Like we said last night, for us to win the way that we want to win here we have to win on defense. We have to get better on defense and I think that we are getting better on defense.”

On offense, most of the attention has gone to sophomore quarterback Morgan Newton, who is expected to start the bowl game. Phillips said they are trying to get Newton significant reps with the first team offense in order to get him comfortable with the receivers. The UK coach has been pleased with how Newton has thrown the ball, but says he needs to be more consistent.

“(Morgan Newton) is a guy that hasn’t had a lot of reps this season, especially with the ones,” Phillips said. “His head is swimming a little because he is getting a lot of reps. He will be fine … He threw the ball well (today) and he has been throwing the ball well every practice, he just hasn’t been consistent.”

Kentucky will continue to practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before taking a break for Christmas.

Sideline Seats Available Through UK: Tickets are available to the BBVA Compass Bowl for both season-ticket holders and the general public. Fans are encouraged to buy directly from the Kentucky ticket office, as all tickets from the UK allotment are sideline seats. All tickets are $50 each.

Tickets may be purchased:

· In-person at the UK Ticket Office in the Joe Craft Center, open

o Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 20-21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

o Wednesday, Dec. 22, 9 a.m. to noon

· By calling the ticket office at 800-928-2287

· By mail or fax; print a ticket application from and mail or fax (859-323-1269) to the ticket office.

'Operation Win' to Benefit Birmingham: To implement the 'Operation Win' initiative in the community, Coach Joker Phillips and the Cats plan to sponsor children from elementary schools around Legion Field, as well as Birmingham-area military personnel. Building off the GAMEDAY READY tour that traveled around Kentucky this past summer, the Wildcats hope to give back to the Birmingham community by providing game tickets sponsored by Wildcat fans and supporters.

Fans can participate by: