LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky football team hit the practice field Wednesday morning with a lot of excitement and at a high energy level, first-year head coach Joker Phillips reported following the workout. The Wildcats practiced for approximately two hours clad in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts.
“What a beautiful day,” Phillips said. “There was a lot of excitement at practice I still like the energy and what is going on here. We are getting better, definitely getting better and we need to.”
The Wildcats will welcome top-10 ranked and Southeastern Conference Eastern Division leader South Carolina to the Bluegrass State on Saturday. USC is coming off a historic win, defeating the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 35-21 last week.
Phillips and the UK team are expecting the same type of intensity and focus out the Gamecocks this week that they had last week in taking down the country’s No. 1 ranked team. Phillips said that he doesn’t anticipate USC coming into Commonwealth Stadium flat or unfocused.
“You look at his (Steve Spurrier) roster and those guys have been playing a long time together,” Phillips said. “His quarterback (Stephen Garcia) is an experienced guy that has been around a long time and Steve has been around a long time, obviously. Those guys will be ready to play.”
On the injury front, Phillips said that there is no improvement in senior tailback Derrick Locke, who is recovering from shoulder stingers and a bruised elbow, and that he is still day-to-day. Sophomores Donald Russell and CoShik Williams, along with freshman Raymond Sanders, have been getting most of the practice repetitions in place of Locke. However, Phillips said Wednesday that senior fullback Moncell Allen also could see some game action at his former position of tailback.
“If we have to we will dust off Moncell,” Phillips said. “The problem with him is that he hasn’t played but 15-20 plays a game (at fullback) so you worry about conditioning with him. We will get him ready and he knows our offense well enough to go out there and get some reps tomorrow. If needed he will be in there in our one-back offense.”