LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips and the 2011 Kentucky football team held a mock scrimmage at Commonwealth Stadium on Tuesday night with Phillips’ main objective to get the team organized and prepared for the game day schedule.
Phillips and the Wildcats dressed in full game attire and went through many different situations during the hour and a half mock scrimmage. The UK head coach said afterwards that his main goal was to get everyone organized on game activities, then cover special situations during the workout..
“Today, we tried to make sure that we get into game day organization, about how we stretch, how we take the field, all of that,” Phillips said. “I thought that we were pretty sharp and crisp. We had a lot of different situations that we went over and a lot of different personnel on and off the field. We did a lot of different kicking situations with sudden changes and I was pleased with how we handled ourselves. We didn’t have 12 guys on the field, or 10, we had 11 guys and I think that is important. We feel good going into the season.”
Not only was the so-called dress rehearsal for the young players, but also for the veterans as well. Phillips said every healthy veteran got reps in the scrimmage, but it was also good to give some newcomers some “varsity snaps and work with the one (first-team) group.”
Phillips emphasized after practice Tuesday that getting the players in game uniforms and in the stadium is a great way to work out some of the jitters they will feel when they head on to LP Field to take on the WKU Hilltoppers on Sept. 1 in Nashville.
“Exactly that, you don’t want it to be a shock the first time they take the field together as a team,” Phillips said. “This team has not been together (on the field). We don’t need any stragglers. We need to look sharp and we need to look organized. I thought that we did tonight. Now, we have to show them how the layout is going to be at LP Field. Our guys will be ready to go.”
Phillips said the veteran players play a big role in helping the young guys understand what is expected of them and teaching them the “Wildcat Way.”
“That is why we assign big brothers for the young guys,” Phillips said when asked how much of a role does he like the veterans to play in teach the young guys the ins and outs. “We want them guys to take that stuff seriously in showing our guys how we do it here at Kentucky the Wildcat Way. Tomorrow, we will ask the big brothers to help those guys get to class.”
Kentucky will not practice Wednesday to allow the student-athletes to focus on their first day of school. Kentucky will be back on the practice field Thursday morning.