August 18, 2012

Phillips near quarterback decision after second scrimmage

A decision on a starting quarterback for the season opener could be just a day away after Kentucky's final full scrimmage of fall camp.

Head coach Joker Phillips declined to name a starter at the conclusion of the scrimmage, which was closed to the public. But there could be a decision by the next practice. The Wildcats return to the practice field on Monday.

"I'm looking forward to watching this tape and coming out of this thing with some type of decision tomorrow," Phillips said.

Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith led the offense on a 98-yard touchdown drive, though the offense mainly moved the ball on the ground across 14 plays, Phillips said. Senior wide receiver La'Rod King caught a pair of touchdown passes, sophomore Demarco Robinson caught a touchdown.

The offense didn't have any big plays on the drive, but avoided negative plays and ran the ball efficiently. Phillips was pleased to see the offense march down the field, but defensive coordinator Rick Minter was unhappy to see his unit handled so easily.

"I thought the offense played extremely well today," Minter[ said. "My hat's off to them. Randy and those guys did a great job of executing the offense. That's a challenge for us, and we didn't live up to that challenge today, particularly on that drive."

Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said he'd like to name a quarterback starter as soon as possible, but will let Phillips make the call on when to announce it. There were no turnovers by the quarterbacks on Saturday, an improvement from a week ago when there were two interceptions.

He was also happy to see his offense sustain a long drive, though he said there were no more than a few passes during it.

"To be able to go 98 yards without having a 30- or 40-yard play mixed in there, you have a lot of guys doing the right thing a number of plays in a row," Sanders said.

Senior running back CoShik Williams had a touchdown as well. He later suffered a sprained foot, which will be evaluated on Sunday. That was the only major injury of the scrimmage, though several players did sit out with nagging bumps and bruises.

Quick hits

--There were 67 former players on hand for the scrimmage, which was otherwise closed. Phillips had the idea to invite players during last week's scrimmage, and received a positive response even though many alumni of the program couldn't travel on short notice.

"We sent out an email and got an unbelievable response," Phillips said. "You guys heard the deal when we watched 'Act of Valor,' the movie with the SEALS, and there was a quote in there that hit home with me. They said 'Here's to us and those like us. There's damn few.' I think that hit home with me. "

Former players have been welcome to scrimmages in the past, but Saturday was the first time the program publicly reached out to them. After, former players were invited to eat lunch with the current Wildcats.

--The Wildcats will begin gameplanning and preparation for Louisville with their Thursday practice. The fall semester of classes begins on Wednesday, and players will have the day off.

-Freshman wide receiver Demarcus Sweat has stepped up and been a factor in the offense in fall camp, Sanders said. Phillips praised the newcomer for his performance in the scrimmage without mentioning him by name. He also reiterated that freshmen running backs Justin Taylor and Dyshawn Mobley are likely to play this season.



 

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