Musical acts stage dress rehearsals and sound checks at nearly every stop along their tours in an effort to work out the kinks and perfect their performances. It’s as much a part of their craft as the concert itself.
Phillips said his team "looked sharp" in what equated to a full dress rehearsal Tuesday night.
Football teams are much the same way, and Kentucky coach Joker Phillips took advantage of the last day of training camp to put his squad through a simulated gameday with the season opener just nine days away. The Wildcats had a light scrimmage under the lights at Commonwealth Stadium in preparation for their Sept. 1 opener against Western Kentucky at LP Field in Nashville.
“You don’t want it to be a shock the first time you take the field together as a team,” Phillips explained. “There are some young guys and we don’t need any stragglers or to not look organized. We need to look sharp. I thought we did that tonight. Now, we have to show them the layout at LP Field. Sometimes you have to flip what you did back at home, but our guys will be ready to go.”
The Cats wore their full game uniforms – which will be new this season – and went through all the paces, from pregame warm-ups to sudden change situations.
“It was a pretty good mock scrimmage, and that’s what it was,” Phillips said. “We don’t get to have preseason games and that’s what this was, a preseason game for us to try and make sure we get the game day organizations (right). How we stretch. How we take the field. The whole nine yards.
“I thought we were pretty sharp and fresh. We got a lot of different situations we went over and a lot of different personnel groupings we went over, a lot of different kicking situations and sudden changes.”
UK will have Wednesday off for the first day of classes and a light day on Thursday before diving into full game week mode on Friday. The coaching staff has made the redshirt decision on most of the true freshmen but several could still be determined over the first few weeks of the season.
“There are a couple on the fence but a lot of that has to do with how healthy we come out of the first couple of games,” Phillips said. “We don’t want to use a guy’s redshirt after the fourth or fifth game but there are some guys right on the edge of playing or not playing depending on how healthy we stay.”
For more news and notes from Tuesday night’s scrimmage please check out the House of Blue. As always, the House of Blue is free to read.