Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips addresses reporters during SEC Media Days last month. Phillips, who is in his first year as UK’s coach, is among the growing ranks of black FBS head coaches.
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After the first full scrimmage of the spring season last Saturday, University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips and the Kentucky football team returned to the Nutter Training Center practice fields Wednesday for practice No. 10 of the spring season.
Phillips said after practice Wednesday that he and coaching staff reviewed the video from the scrimmage and were pleased with some performance on both sides of the ball.
“I was a little concerned (Saturday) about both sides of the ball, but once you look at it – especially from a head-coach’s standpoint – when you got a chance to see it on film, it was really competitive,” Phillips said. “Both sides can’t win, so I thought the thing I saw from the defense is how fast they started. They stopped the number one offense three straight series. That means our defense was playing well.”
Following the strong start by the defense, the offense bounced back strongly.
“I was pleased with the way the offense responded in the second half of the scrimmage and made some plays, had some explosion plays, put together a drive off the 10-yard line,” Phillips said. “I thought that was positive. Some guys continued to get better, some young guys. Are we where we need to be? Not even close. But there are some positive things for us to build on.”
One of the bright spots of the offense Saturday was sophomore wide receiver Demarco Robinson, who had several impressive offensive plays. Phillips said Wednesday that performance from Robinson was good to see and that he is starting to put everything together.
“Still a long way to go, but I think he’s starting to get more comfortable,” Phillips said of Robinson. “We’re starting to get him more No. 1 reps, especially on punt and kick return. He’s gaining confidence in that and we need him to be that guy. He had two big plays Saturday in the passing game. He caught a big square-in that went for about 30 (yards) and then he hit a screen (pass) for about 60 (yards and a touchdown). So he’s starting to get confidence and we’re starting to have confidence in him, too, that he knows what to do. I think that’s important.”
Kentucky will continue spring practice Friday before holding its second full scrimmage on Saturday. The Wildcats will conclude spring practice next Saturday, April 21 with the Blue/White Scrimmage at Commonwealth Stadium at 6 p.m. ET.