LEXINGTON, Ky. – First-year University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips was pleased with his team’s energy level and effort during a cold day at the Nutter Training Facility practice fields Tuesday.
Phillips said although it was cold outside, he and the UK coaching staff will not allow this team to use that as an excuse to not practice hard.
“The energy was good,” Phillips said. “We won’t allow them to use cold as an excuse. Coach (Mike) Summers came out here in shorts, so if it isn’t cold to him it isn’t cold to them. Plus, we are telling them that in July what did they do? They cranked up the AC (air conditioning) so it would feel like this. This is the way it feels in July in their rooms.”
Phillips was asked about the team’s spirits after losing five of their last six games. The head coach answered by pointing at the players signing autographs for a visiting little league team and the laughter and fun the players were having.
“We have been through a grueling six-game stretch,” Phillips said, “but you can’t tell it by the effort they gave us today and now how much fun they had today at practice.”
On the injury front, senior tailback Derrick Locke has been cleared by team doctors to play Saturday and did practice Tuesday. Phillips said that Locke went “a little bit,” but that there was still a problem with his fatigue, although there is not any pain.
“Derrick Locke practiced today a little bit,” Phillips said, “but again he has a little fatigue and we will just continue to see. He doesn’t have pain, he just gets fatigued as he goes through practice. Early in practice, he feels that he can grip the ball well and then later on in practice he doesn’t have the same type of grip on the ball.”
Kentucky will return to the practice field Wednesday.