LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football has wrapped up preparation for its contest against South Carolina with head coach Joker Phillips saying his team needs to have a grind-out performance against the Gamecocks, who are ranked No. 18 in The Associated Press poll and No. 14 by USA Today coaches poll.
“Practice was better today,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t perfect. We stressed being perfect on Thursday, but I thought that we got better today. Our kids understand the plan, now we just have to go down there and play.
“We just have to take one play at a time and just grind it out and grind it out. When you play a 60-minute game, something bad is going to happen. If a bad thing happens, let’s shake it off and let’s go. We have to continue to play.
“If we get down, same thing, we have to continue to play. We were down 18 (points) last year to these guys (South Carolina) and we have to continue to play. Any chance we get to use some of the things that have happened around here in the past we have to use it. That is an example. We were down 18 and continued to play and made a big play before the half to keep it at 18. Then we just kept grinding it out and grinding it out.”
Much of the talk this week has been about the return of tailback Raymond Sanders, who started the first two games of the season before sustaining an injury. Phillips would not name a starting tailback Thursday, but continued to rave about what Sanders has brought to the team since his return to practice.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Phillips said when asked who will start at tailback. “We haven’t really discussed it. It is very obvious that Raymond is a leader of this football team, especially the way he has added energy and enthusiasm and how encouraging he is even the first day he got back. He was really third team and was there cheering CoShik (Williams), Jonathan George and Josh (Clemons) on. As he got better throughout the week, it was obvious that he was capable of starting. If he will start has yet to be seen yet. We will wait until Saturday to decide that.”
Kentucky and South Carolina will kick off at 12:21 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Join UK Alumni at the South Carolina Tailgate: Join alumni and friends for pregame fun as the Kentucky Wildcats team takes on the South Carolina Gamecocks in a Southeastern Conference showdown at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. on Oct. 8. The tailgate event begins two and a half hours before kickoff at Seawell’s in Columbia, located at 1125 Rosewood Drive, three blocks from Williams-Brice Stadium. The UK pep band and cheerleaders will make an appearance.
Admission is $5 for students, $10 for UK Alumni Association members who preregister, and $15 for nonmembers and includes a catered meal from Seawell’s.
Admission for all game day walkups will be $15. Specials will be available and free UK items and door prizes will be given away at the event. Reservations can be made at www.ukalumni.net/2011tailgatetour.