LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team will be without starting offensive guard Stuart Hines on Saturday against Florida, head coach Joker Phillips announced after practice Thursday. Phillips said that junior Billy Joe Murphy will move to the guard position to start in his place.
“We will move him (Murphy) inside from tackle to the guard position,” Phillips said. “Marcus Davis will be our swing guy now. He will go in at guard and kick Murphy to the tackle position to give the tackles a break.”
Phillips said the loss of Hines, who will not make the trip to Florida because of an ankle sprain, will affect the UK offensive line, but that other players on the team such as senior Brad Durham and junior Chandler Burden are gradually taking on more leadership.
“All those guys have been around a while,” Phillips said. “Chandler Burden is a guy that hasn’t been at that position a long time but he is starting to gravitate into (having) an offensive lineman type of mentality. They will be fine. I am not worried about those guys.”
Phillips said he is excited to take this team on the road because of the focus and concentration that he saw on the practice field Thursday.
“I am excited,” Phillips said. “The reason that I am excited is because of what I saw on the practice field, which is total concentration with lots of effort and lots of energy.”
Phillips had not been overly pleased with his team’s effort in practice on Tuesday, saying that there were too many missed assignments during practice, but that was not the case Thursday.
“Today was total focus,” the first-year head coach said. “The special teams were crisp and the offensive and defensive periods were really crisp. Assignments were sound and so were the techniques. I’m excited to take this football team down there.”
On the injury front, senior fullback Moncell Allen will make the trip to Florida. Allen, who sustained a hamstring injury in the Akron game, practiced Thursday and the coaching staff felt that he was “close enough” to be able to play Saturday.