LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips walked off the Nutter Training Center practice fields on Wednesday feeling better about his team’s preparation for the Louisville game.
“It was a lot better today,” Phillips said after practice Wednesday. “But we still have to get even better tomorrow. We have to get sharper on our assignments, sharper on our alignments and sharper on the adjustments that we have to make. These guys do a lot on both sides of the ball and we have to be able to adjust to all of the things we are going to see.”
Phillips announced Wednesday that injured offensive lineman Matt Smith and wide receiver Brian Adams returned to practice. Phillips said both looked good in practice and he hopes to have them available Saturday.
“Matt Smith did practice today,” Phillips said. “He practiced with the twos (second team) and he looked pretty good. I told him I was expecting him to look like a freshman but he didn’t. He looked like a guy that has played a lot of ball around here. We are expecting to have him available on Saturday.
“Also on offense, Brian Adams did practice. He came up gimpy on one play but went back in and looked pretty sharp. We are hoping to have him back full speed on Saturday also.”
Phillips said although Smith might be available to play come Saturday, it is unlikely that he will get the start due to the solid play this season of backup center Jake Lanefski.
“I don’t think Matt will start,” Phillips said. “I don’t think that is fair to Jake Lanefski. Matt will be available but all this does is add depth to us. Jake has played pretty decent for a guy who hasn’t played center ever in a game. We are hoping to get Matt back for our depth purposes for this game.”
Phillips also said after practice Wednesday that quarterback Morgan Newton targeting wide receiver La’Rod King more than other receivers isn’t because that how the UK coaches are drawing it up, but because of La’Rod’s ability to get open down the field.
“I think it’s just progression,” Phillips said. “He is just going through his progression and La’Rod (King) has been open a lot also. He has gotten behind defenders and we have been trying to throw the deep ball. When you do that you try to find out who is the tightest defender and that’s probably the lack of respect for La’Rod. Defenders are a little tighter on him than they are the other guys and that gives him more opportunity. That is what Morgan reads have been telling him when we throw the deep ball.”
Kentucky returns to the practice field Thursday to continue its preparation for the in-state rivalry game.