Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline (5) throws a pass as he is pressured by Florida linebacker Brandon Hicks (40) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team returned to the practice field Tuesday for the first time since dropping its first game of the season to then-ninth ranked Florida last Saturday. First-year head coach Joker Phillips said after practice Tuesday that practice was “good,” but there are still some improvements that need to be made.
“We had a good day,” Phillips said. “It was an upbeat practice and physical practice. Again, we have to get better at practicing when we are not practicing together – offense vs. defense. When we go to scouts we have to have more focus and push the scouts and we can’t bring our level of play down to the scouts.”
Continuing to practice upbeat and physical is a plus for Phillips, who has talked this week about the need for the Wildcats to tackle better than they did against Florida. Phillips said that the team did full-speed drills Tuesday to try to improve tackling, but did not do tackling to the ground because they practiced on the artificial turf.
“We did some full-speed stuff where we are asking our kids to put their face on people,” Phillips said. “We didn’t do any tackling to the ground because we were on the turf today and we didn’t want anybody to get hurt on the turf.”
Phillips agreed with a reporter Tuesday when asked if one of the hardest things about football is balancing being physical in practice with keeping players healthy.
“You have to get some guys to the game also,” Phillips said. “We have some guys that have some bumps and bruises that don’t allow you to tackle. If you are going to tackle, you would like to tackle on your first workday and today was our first workday. But with all our bumps and bruises we just asked our kids to get their feet and face in the proper position.”
Kentucky will return to the practice field Wednesday to continue preparation for their second Southeastern Conference road game at Ole Miss.