LEXINGTON, Ky. – First-year University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips was pleased with his team’s effort and enthusiasm Tuesday morning, electing to give the team the rest of the afternoon off the football field.
“Because of the effort and enthusiasm we are going to take the afternoon off,” Phillips said. “We are going to the pool and do some gainers, swan dives, back flips and have some lunch (laughter from media). Then we are going to get into meeting time this afternoon.”
The afternoon off comes at a great time for Kentucky as some players were starting to get banged up with fatigue and soreness, having practiced for 12 consecutive days.
“Definitely (the afternoon off comes at a good time), the more you get into it the more fatigued and sore they are,” Phillips said. “You have to back off some because that is when you start to get some injuries too, like those freak injuries. So we are going to take this afternoon to get them to the pool and get them off their feet.”
The trip to the pool was something that Phillips and the UK coaching staff has planned, wanting to wait and use the trip after the team had a great practice. The event continues a team tradition begun by previous coach Rich Brooks in recent years.
“If we practice well we wanted to cancel practice this afternoon because we want them to have fun in the pool and you won’t have fun in the pool if you know you have practice later that afternoon,” Phillips said.
Phillips did talk about the quarterback battle, saying that nothing has changed since last Saturday’s scrimmage and he doesn’t expect to make a mid-week announcement about the starter until the team can get scrimmage again.
“They all three are competing and I really like the things that all of them are doing,” the head coach said. “I wish we could take from each one of them and put them all into one and be done with this thing, but we can’t. We will just have to see who can give us the best chance to win in the end.”
Phillips didn’t have all positives to say about practice, mentioning that his team did not practice “smart.”
“I am really happy with the intensity and effort today, but we weren’t playing as smart (as we needed),” Phillips said. “We can’t do that. Kentucky doesn’t beat Kentucky.”