Kentucky Wildcats Football: Midweek Notes Week 2


WKU post-game teleconference
On Friday’s teleconference, Joker Phillips had several thoughts on the WKU game. He said that the offensive line did not play up to expectations, and that he thought that their performance would improve once they could get everyone healthy. He also pointed out freshman Josh Clemons as someone that played well and could see more time on the field this weekend. He praised Clemon’s ability to block and catch the ball out of the backfield. Freshman linebacker Alvin Dupree garnered praise for his play against Western and Phillips acknowledged that while he would have eventually been a good tight end, his skill-set has allowed him to move to second-string at linebacker. There will also be some defensive looks where Dupree lines up with the ones. Phillips acknowledged a difference in the crowd in Nashville and said that the atmosphere was different than it has been on Kentucky’s recent trips to the Music City. He also condemned the drops by the wide receivers, and said that while drops happen, Kentucky had far too many.

Monday press conference
-Coach Joker Phillips came down pretty hard on the offense in his Monday press conference. He pointed out that quarterback Morgan Newton has got to throw a better ball and hit his open receivers. Phillips said that the offensive line did not play to expectations either. He also said to expect a shakeup in the receiver rotation with juniors E.J. Fields and Aaron Boyd and freshman Demarco Robinson expected to see extended looks in practice this week. While I’m sure the staff would like to redshirt Rashad Cunningham, he may play his way onto the field as well.
-Defensively, Phillips singled out linebackers Winston Guy and Danny Trevathan for having great individual performances. He said their play was infectious and singled out Guy specifically for really excelling in his new hybrid role. Phillips also lauded the defensive line for their stellar play and said that the defensive tackle position looks to be a team strength before long. He pointed out sophomore Donte Rumph as having a great game and said that he thought Rumph had a chance to be a “Big-time player.”
-Coach Phillips said that his team has moved past the Western game and is focusing on a scrappy Central Michigan team that gave Kentucky a scare in 2006 and he expects CMU to be ready for Kentucky again.

Awards for week 1
-Senior defensive tackle Luke McDermott has been named co-defensive lineman of the week for the SEC after his gutsy performance against Western Kentucky. McDermott had four tackles and one five yard sack in the win. He shared the award with Jaye Howard of Florida.
-Senior Winston Guy was awarded the Defensive Back Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards for his stellar play against Western as well. Guy finished the game with 10 tackles (2.5 tackles for loss) and two interceptions. Guy was also listed in “Other Outstanding Performances” by the SEC.
-Both Sophomore Joe Mansour and senior Ryan Tydlacka were named honorable mention by the College Football Performance Awards for kickoff specialist of the week and punter of the week respectively.

Injuries from the Western Game:
-Starting right tackle Billy Joe Murphy sprained his MCL against Western after escaping camp as the only uninjured starting lineman. His status for Saturday is still unclear, but redshirt freshman Teven Eatmon-Nared is the top candidate to start if he cannot go.
-After sitting out the western Kentucky game, Center Matt Smith attempted to practice yesterday but was unable to finish. His status for Central Michigan is still up in the air. If Smith is held out again this week, senior Jake Lanefski will likely get his second start this season after filling in for Smith on Thursday.
-Quarterback Morgan Newton injured his thumb on the first drive of the game and played through the pain for the rest of the contest. Phillips said he didn’t expect to have Newton in the second half and was “surprised” he was able to play. Phillips also said that Newton threw the ball better than his stats indicated, although anyone watching the game could count all of the drops by receivers. Newton is not expected to miss the CMU game.
-Collins Ukwu left the WKU game with a bruised shoulder but is expected to play this Saturday. He will be treated all week to try to prepare him for Central Michigan. His presence on the defensive line will be important this season though, so don’t be surprised if Kentucky holds him out or at least limits his snaps until Louisville. Antwane Glenn and Michael Douglas will be the top contenders for playing time if Ukwu doesn’t play or is limited.
-Sophomore receiver Brian Adams sat out yesterday’s practice with a sprained ankle. No official word has been released on his status for Saturday, but he should be available if only in a limited capacity.

Disciplinary issues
-Wide receiver E.J. Fields has been reinstated for Central Michigan after being suspended for the WKU game. He should have the opportunity to earn some playing time on offense after the abysmal performance of the receivers last week in addition to seeing time on the special teams (where he excelled last season).
-Senior safety Mychal Bailey has also been reinstated and is expected to be available this Saturday after his suspension last week. With Taiedo Smith still dinged up and walk-on Mikie Benton starting, Bailey should be able to contribute heavily on defense if he can stay out of trouble.
-Senior defensive tackle Mark Crawford has yet to be reinstated and is expected to be held out of the game again this weekend after sitting out against Western Kentucky. He was expected to log some major minutes this season, but has spent the majority of the past two years in the coaches’ doghouse.

Depth Chart shakeups
-The only major change to the depth chart this week is Mikie Benton’s move past Taiedo Smith to the starting safety job. This isn’t much of a shakeup though, as Benton started in place of Smith against Western anyway.

Recruiting updates
-Per Chris Nee of Rivals, Kentucky offensive line target Blake Fromang has committed to Vanderbilt after visiting for their win over Elon this week. He was a top target for the Wildcats at one point, but after getting commitments from T.J. Jones and Jordan Swindle, the Cats probably didn’t have room for a seventh offensive lineman in this class.
-According to Keith Niebuhr of Rivals, 2013 QB prospect Eddie Printz has committed to Southern Methodist University. Many considered Printz Kentucky’s top target in the class. He should flourish in June Jones’ high octane, passer-friendly offense.
-In a glimpse into the future for UK fans, Highlands High School’s Patrick Towles threw for 407 yards on 19 of 30 attempts against on Thursday. The UK commitment outgunned Auburn commit Zeke Pike’s Dixie Heights team on his way to a 61-13 victory.

Gameday Notes
This Saturday will be “Heroes Day” at C
ommonwealth Stadium. UK will allow police, firefighters, military, EMTs, and other first responders to pickup two complimentary tickets at gate 4 with a valid service ID (while supplies last) and will honor first responders several times throughout the game. I think this is an awesome way to say thanks, so the website will also be providing free content to Heroes this week as well as our way of saying “Thank You.”

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