LEXINGTON, Ky. – During the first day of Kentucky spring football practice on Wednesday, an obvious point of emphasis was speeding up drills in order to get as many repetitions as possible. By day two on Friday, it has become apparent that communication is another area of importance for new coach Joker Phillips.
“We’re getting faster, understanding how to practice,” Phillips said. “There’s a lot more energy, they’re communicating. All sports, you have to be able to communicate. The thing about ours, because you have 11 guys, you have a lot of things going on. You have to have everyone communicating because there are 11 guys who have to get the message.
“That’s the thing that I like. They have a lot of energy, they’re communicating, echoing all the calls. We’ll see how fast we play tomorrow.”
The prominence of communication has been noticeable among the coaches as well.
“That’s one of the things a coach has to have, has to have some juice,” Phillips said. “Our guys are practicing with juice and when the coaches are (having enthusiasm) it feeds to the players.”
One interesting feature of the first two practices has been the number of deep passing routes.
“We have to stretch the field,” Phillips said. “We have to get people (defenses) off of us. Defenses last year compressed us. We have to keep people off us by throwing the ball downfield, just take shots, throw it up. We have big receivers. We have great size out there, just throw it up and let those guys go make a play for us.”
“They (quarterbacks) made some throws and missed some throws (during Friday’s practice),” Phillips said. “We’re throwing way too many to the defense, but the defense is doing a good job of holding up receivers and shortening those windows, so the quarterbacks have to make better decisions.”
The team practiced for two hours, 20 minutes Friday morning in helmets, jerseys and shorts. The Wildcats will pull on full pads for the first time on Saturday. Phillips said the team would have a brief controlled scrimmage at the end of Saturday’s practice.