Joker Phillips talks to the media about Kentucky's spring practice and expectations.
Kentucky's football program is going through many changes with Joker Phillips taking over the program, including taking a military-type approach. But Phillips doesn't think that's much of a change.
"I don't think that it will be a huge change but we are emphasizing it more. I have always been intrigued by the military because on one command they can get thousands of people to move in the same direction. That is the approach that we are taking along with Operation Win," said Phillips.
Kentucky will change the name of the Special Teams unit to Special Forces. The punt team will be called the bombers.
"All teams will have a military term," said Phillips.
There will also be position changes for several players: Chandler Burden from defensive end to left tackle, Jordan Aumiller from linebacker to tight end, Moncell Allen from running back to fullback, Greg Meisner from defensive end to fullback, Dakotah Tyler from running back to free safety and Will Letton from safety to linebacker.
Coach Phillips says those moves are mostly about speed. "We are trying to get more speed closer to the ball and the more speed that you can get closer to the ball (on defense) the more speed you will have," he said.
There have also been changes to the coaching staff, with the additions of Mike Summers, David Turner and Tee Martin.
"I like what Mike summers, David Turner and Tee Martin did to come in and grab the bull by the horns and get rolling with it," said Phillips. "I am very excited about that and those guys have done a really good job," he continued.
It appears that to this point, change has been good.
Phillips hopes he can get a clear-cut starting quarterback from practice, but that may not happen. "I would love to (have a clear cut number one) but if that separation is not a huge seperation the I think we need to carry it out throughout. If it's a huges seperation then I would love to name a quarterback because he can then take you through the offseason," said Phillips.
Phillips believes that while they struggled at receiver last year, they'll see quite a bit of improvement. "This is their junior year and a lot of those guys that went in and got better last year and will be better this year," said Phillips. Phillips has big expectations from Chris Matthews and LaRod King. "The guy I am more excited about to see in his senior season is Chris Matthews," said Phillips. "He can have a big year for us. One of the other guys is LaRod King. The sky is the limit for him and he has a chance to be a big-time player for us around her for a long time and he's only a sophomore next year."
Offensive lineman Jake Lanefski and defensive end Taylor Wyndham will both miss spring practice. Moncell Allen will be limited in his participation. Linebacker Matt Lentz has decided to give up football after a series of concussions.
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