The biggest news of the day came when Coach Phillips named team captains. DE Collins Ukwu and C Matt Smith will head their respective sides of the ball for the 2012 season. Also, G Larry Warford and CB Martavius Neloms will act as captains for the Louisville game.
-Ukwu was is happy to be named captain, but says he has been a leader since he stepped on campus and not much will change with his new title. He cited Danny Trevathan as the ultimate leader because he backed it up on the field.
-Even though he’s not from Kentucky, Ukwu said the UK-Louisville rivalry makes him feels as though he is. He thinks because it’s the first game of the season it is even bigger this year than it normally would be.
-In his second year transitioning from pass rusher to the five-technique position, Ukwu worked on his ability to read offenses in the off-season. He thinks that was one of his weaknesses and hopes to be much better this season.
-Ukwu is “shocked” that Avery Williamson has become the player he is so quickly. He thinks both Williamson and Bud Dupree are going to have outstanding seasons.
-Dupree said that the defense is working on setting the edge to combat the speed of Louisville QB, Teddy Bridgewater. According to Dupree, DC Rick Minter has stressed that taking great angles will allow the defense to have success.
-Coach Phillips says that the hot weather is great for the players’ conditioning. He wants his players to be “flawless” in the fourth quarter of games and fighting through the weather gets them ready, both mentally and physically.
–Phillips reiterated that the battle at weakside linebacker is still up in the air. Tyler Brause has overtaken Malcolm McDuffen for first team reps, but that could change by next week.
-When asked about the depth behind starting corners Neloms and Cartier Rice, Phillips said that it’s really only true freshman behind them. “That’s all we’ve got,” Phillips added.
-Rice said that he doesn’t have any personal goals for the season, only to help the defense compete at a high level. He wants to perform well for the “other ten guys” on the field with him.
–Rice added that he understands how important the Louisville game is. He and the defense are prepping as hard as they ever have for an opponent and expect good things to happen on gameday.