Today was head coach Joker Phillips’ day off from his media responsibilties. In his place were the team’s coordinators, Rick Minter and Randy Sanders. Minter (above) discussed the youth of his defense, the problems he saw vs. Arkansas, and the emergence of Cody Quinn. Take a look.
–QB Patrick Towles (high-ankle sprain) was fully dressed in today’s practice but did not participate. Sanders is “not counting on” having Towles vs. Georgia, but, with about six weeks left in Kentucky’s season, it looks like he will be available at some point in the future. Sanders said Towles was at practice mostly to continue his learning process in case he does see the field again.
-Sanders was encouraged with some things he saw from QB Morgan Newton in his relief of QB Jalen Whitlow. Sanders thinks that Newton needs to “be in the mix” when it comes to Kentucky’s quarterback position because of his experience and knowledge of the playbook.
-Losing QB Maxwell Smith was undoubtedly a crushing blow for an offense that showed early promise statistically. Sanders said the offense pretty much changed entirely. “Losing [Smith] made us get away from what we really do well as an offense.”
-Facing Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson last week and UGA’s Aaron Murray this week would be a big challenge for any defense, but it’s especially tough for one with so much youth in their secondary. DB coach Mike Cassity said he’s never seen anything like it his 37 years of coaching. “When I was at Marshall we had to start two freshmen cornerback one year, but I’ve never been a part of something this extreme.”
-With CB Cartier Rice‘s status for Georgia in doubt, Kentucky would be forced to start two freshmen at cornerback in Cody Quinn and Fred Tiller or JD Harmon. Coaches are excited about what they’ve seen from Quinn so far, though. Phillips sung his praises yesterday and Minter reiterated how great he’s played in today’s press conference.
-Georgia’s offense is one that can hurt you both running and passing the football. When DL coach David Turner was asked what, if anything, his group was honing on in going into this game he had this to say: “We get a mad Georgia team coming in, and I think they’ll be on a mission but we have to play our best football, too. You can’t really focus on specifically stop anything, you just have to be ready for anything they throw at you.”
-In the past three years, DE/LB Bud Dupree has played three different positions. LB Avery Williamson thinks Dupree will eventually be a great player, but that it’ll take time for him to learn new positions.
-Williamson was asked if there would be any added motivation for the team because it’s homecoming weekend and he doesn’t think so. “We know this is our last chance to be bowl-eligible so that’s always motivation but we just want to win.”