We are coming to you live from the Joker Phillips news conference here at UK Football Media Day. Phillips will be taking the mic starting at 10 a.m. We will be providing updates as they come in…
10:00 a.m. Coach Phillips takes the mic… “How much fun is this, man? Let’s play some more football.”
10:00 a.m. Phillips uses the opening statement to give a congratulations to former Kentucky player Dermontti Dawson, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
10:01 a.m.- Shawn Blaylock (not one of the twins) will be having season ending surgery. He will have surgery on August 7th, returning to campus when school starts.
10:02 a.m.- Marcus Caffey is academically ineligible. J.D. Harmon will also be moved to safety. Harmon had rave reviews this summer from trainers and veteran players. He will still be used on some return duties as well.
10:05 a.m.- “We’re excited to be back here on the field, and have an opportunity to compete with this team. Why are we excited? I get that a lot. That’s usually your first question. I’m excited because of the leadership we have on this football team. The list of leaders since January has grown. That list has doubled.”
10:06 a.m.- Phillips is excited about the dedication and the hunger on this team. Phillips says they have had to chance their system because so many of the players are trying to get in to watch film on Saturday and Sundays (mentioned Max Smith and Avery Williamson). “We have never had that. Guys can’t wait to get into the building. On their off days. That’s what makes us excited. We’re excited about how much they care about each other.”
10:07 a.m.- Our goal coming out of camp: to come out of this as a team. A better football team.
10:07 a.m.- Phillips says the quarterback and running back positions will be very competitive. The tight end position as well. Phillips has said up to 4 guys have lined up and started at tight end throughout their career.
10:08 a.m.- Max Smith came to Phillips to ask to room with Marcus Sweat, because he thinks he will be that special of a player.
10:09 a.m.- Phillips loves the type of kids who they are getting into the program. Spoke to the quality of their character and their families.
10:10 a.m.- Miles Simpson is one of the leaders of this football team.
10:11 a.m.- Phillips said they are excited about the depth at the offensive line position. They signed the best looking class, strength and size wise, since Phillips has been at UK. Says the defensive line should be the strength of this football team. Mister (PC) Cobble is one of the leaders of this team as well. “He does everything the right way. His GPA is now at a 2.6 after falling really far behind as a freshman. He’s one of those guys that brings guys with him.”
10:12 a.m.- Joker Phillips opens the room up to questions…get ready!
10:12 a.m.- When asked if the competition at so many positions has increased the level of practice. Phillips emphatically said yes. Says the team finally has 3 and 4 (stars) who want to work and compete.
10:13 a.m.- Asked about the new punter, Landon Foster, Phillips said he is a great punter. “We will not sign a kicker or quarterback unless we have seen them kick or throw in person. He came here twice. We put him under pressure. That’s our philosophy. Come back. See how you do at the next one. All he did was line up…I stood right beside him. I wanted to see how he handed the pressure. We screamed and yelled at him. He came back the second week and competed the same way. We liked his poise and confidence. He’s a great athlete too. You don’t have to be a great athlete to be a kicker, but you do to be a punter. We feel like we have signed the next great one.”
10:15 a.m.- Joker made a funny joke (I know, right?). A media member grabbed the mic and his voice boomed over the room, but it was hard to tell where it was coming from. Joker, “God?”
10:16 a.m.- Phillips talks about kids who are doing things right all the time. He talks about players who can learn the details and do the little things right. Phillips began to talk about the safeties. Phillips started to talk about one of the Blaylocks, “I don’t know which one…”
10:17 a.m.- “Two walk-on junior college guys who just showed up. They just showed up. They have the right kind of passion for this game. The depth gives us the chance to move some players around, and adds depth to positions, especially safety.”
10:17 a.m.- On Khalid Henderson, “He’s a Rick Minter type of guy.”
10:18 a.m.- Phillips confirmed that they did ban Twitter from the freshmen. “We’ve got better things to do. Say goodbye, say goodnight to your Twitter fans.” He says they will probably do the same with the older guys. He just hasn’t told them yet. “You all can tell them.” Phillips talks about the brutal schedule during camp. “There’s no time to Twitter. I want the extra time spent visiting with their teammates– getting to know each other. We’ll give big brothers to the young guys. I want these young guys to understand how we do things.” Twitter will come back August 15th. When asked about video games, “We’ll let them do that.”
10:20 a.m.- On wide receiver position: “La’Rod King has been a player in this program for a long time. He’s showed flashes from the time he walked on campus…He made plays as a true freshman. He’s done it for a long time. Someone mentioned about a ‘go-to receiver.’ I don’t understand what that means. That’s something you as media (have brought up). You better have 3 guys out there who can make plays.”
10:21 a.m. (Noise from a computer, sounds like a radio) “Who’s watching a soap opera over there? I told you guys, no Twitter.” (Another joke from Joker).
10:22 a.m.- “We have to have some big plays. Demarco Robinson. The reason I’m excited about him– he did it all the time at the scrimmage and spring practices. Daryl Collins is starting to become one of those guys too. We’re excited about some of these young guys. I think we’ll have a chance to have 6-7 receivers who can make plays for us. We won’t just have to count on La’Rod King. That hurts you when you just have one guy you feel like the quarterback can go to.”
10:23 a.m.- On Morgan Newton, “Morgan Newton is ready to go. He’s ready to compete. We’ve backed him off til the last week throwing. This last week was our week off. We backed Morgan off from throwing a lot, to try to make sure he would make it through training camp.”
10:24 a.m.- On Josh Clemons and Gene McCaskill, “We’ll have them go every other day. It allows them to make it through training camp.”
10:24 a.m.- On comparisons to the 2006 team, “The make-up of the roster is similar. (Lots of young guys). What else reminds me– some of the junior and senior leaders. Collins Ukwu, Larry Warford, Taylor Wyndham, Matt Smith, PC Cobble, Donte’ Rumph. He’s becoming one of those guys (Rumph). He had an unbelievable spring and summer. We’ll start giving him more and more leadership roles because of that. The leadership that we have at the top, and the talent at the bottom. That’s what reminds me of the 2006 team. But we still got to go out and play.”
10:27 a.m.- Bud Dupree loves the move to linebacker. Phillips believes it can make him one of the premier players in the league. “You can’t account for a guy like Bud Dupree. He can line up at a number of positions.”
10:28 a.m.- On quarterback situation, “I want to make a decision as fast as we can. I wish the decision was already made. The reason why it’s not is because of the competition that we’re having. Patrick Towles figures in this. He figures in it a lot. He’s a guy that we’ve got to find out how much he can do. He can make plays with his leg and his arms. He’s a smart guy. We’ve gotta find out how much he can do for us. We’ll give him an opportunity, he and Jalen Whitlow a chance to compete and get pressure. We’ll give him a chance to compete in live situations. He’ll get a chance at least one scrimmage to see how he can play under fire. It’s good for a freshman quarterback because they don’t understand the speed at this level.”