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Some of Joker Phillips' thoughts on the eve of the (cold) Blue/White Game:
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PROGRESS MADE THIS SPRING:
"We know we've had a good spring," Phillips said. "We've gotten a lot better from day one until now and we ought to get better because we're so young at a lot of positions and we've got a lot of reps invested in those young guys. We expected to get better in 14 to 15 practices because we were so young. There were a lot of young guys who weren't getting reps (last season) and now when you work with them you expect them to get better. There is no doubt those guys got better and we got better.
"We're healthy but I wish we could have hit a little more, but you only get three scrimmages. With young kids you want to get more live work instead of thud work. Sometimes when a young kid knows he can't get hit he plays a little more relaxed and concentrates a little more. I like for those guys to be a little bit uncomfortable when they know they're going to get hit."
WAS THERE ANYONE AMONGST THE WIDE RECEIVERS WHO SURPRISED YOU THIS SPRING?
"Daryl Collins and Demarco Robinson, those guys I don't know if they surprised because that's what you expected when they walked in the door but it just didn't happen," Phillips said. "They got a lot better and a lot of that has to do with the amount of reps they got this spring. A lot of that comes with confidence. I'm not surprised because that's what we expected when he got them."
HOW ARE LINEBACKERS MILES SIMPSON AND DEMARIUS RANCIFER COMING ALONG:
"They don't look as comfortable as need them to be," Phillips said. "Miles is probably ahead of Rancifer but neither one of them are where we need them to be. There is a lot of stuff on our backers and those guys aren't where we need them to be but this summer gives them an opportunity to get in the film room and get themselves better. We need those guys."
YOU'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT DONTE RUMPH/MISTER COBBLE. WHY ARE THEY SO GOOD?
"Those guys started to come on last year about mid-to-late season last year. A lot of that had to do with conditioning and getting healthy," Phillips said. "Very seldom do you see defensive linemen that aren't banged up during the season and you've got to learn to play through that along with the bumps and bruises. Those guys can be dominant. There is no doubt about that. WE've had some good defensive linemen here but those guys are as good a tandem as we've had."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR STARTING QB POSITION?
"If we went out (to play) today Max would be our starter and I'd feel really comfortable with him being that guy," Phillips said. "There is no doubt he's gotten better. We saw improvement in our quarterbacks last year but we have to see him take it from practice to the game. He's proven that he can go play in the SEC and now he has to take it to another level. We saw this spring how comfortable he was."
(At this point someone asked about summer workouts and Joker said he expects both Smith and Morgan Newton to act like they think they're the starter. Joker was asked whether he thought that could create a divided locker room: He then said: "No it doesn't. No it doesn't. No it doesn't. I want to find out who they're willing to follow.")
DID PATRICK TOWLES' PRESENCE AT SOME OF THE SPRING PRACTICES PUSH MAXWELL SMITH:
"A guy that's a true competitor it motivates him," Phillips said. "Max will tell you he'll teach Patrick Towles everything he needs to know about our offense this summer. He wants the competition. A true competitor wants to be pushed. (Towles) has a presence about him. I'm excited. That's the way it should be."
This post was edited by Matt May 2 years ago
Thanks for the info Matt. Always appreciate the updates. Looking forward to the Spring Game tomorrow.
Matt, did they announce the rosters for the Blue-White game?
1s vs. 2s
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." ~ Emerson
Yes, I am wondering who are the ones(White Team) and who are the twos (Blue Team). Some players were listed as 1 a or 1 b in the pre-spring depth chart. Also interested to see which twos going into spring parctice may now be ones.
This post was edited by BurgerNShake525 2 years ago
Aren't Marco and collins both slot type players?
We need somebody to step up and pickup where Stevie Johnson left off, who out of the young guys could that be?
I think Fields, Cunningham, Sweat, Adams, Legree, and King fill the outside role. I'll know more tomorrow after 6:00 though!
really wish they would have gotten Adams on the field more in Stevie's role, because he has the size and he has the speed! But I think Cunningham could flurish in this role. As well as all the others mentioned, but those would be my 2 picks
This post was edited by Hogan_Ryan 2 years ago
Another brilliant coaching strategy by Joker. Get the team to choose sides. This especially makes sense when one of the two guys is unlikely to play next year because of injury and turned a historically bad performance last season. So lets publicly threaten everyone that Newton will be the starter and split up the team. Why not just say we will see how Newton continues his rehab and is able to perform this summer? Joker's dedication to Newton is pathological. An SEC head coach doesn't behave or think like this.
This post was edited by zcats 2 years ago
Great news Matt! As far as the outside wr spot....if your looking for someone new...I just have a feeling about A.J. Legree..I mean..the kids vertical is insane, hes the fla state high jump champ, and he looks like a sec wideout as far as musclulature and frame goes. You dont have to have 4.3 speed to be great...just be tough and catch the damn ball...if Legree can catch it...i dont see many cb's with 45" verts running around.Can you say fade route?
I totally agree zcats...to have any confidence left in Morgan is just crazy..I mean..you already drove off a better qb in Mossakowski..and Max Smith showed me a lot for a 18 yr old true frosh..he showed me he wasnt scared to take a hit..and Newton IS...i dont care who says otherwise..Newton had happy feet..and the O-line wasnt doing that bad. I mean..we beat Tenn without a hint of a passing game...i think had Smith been starter from day 1..we win at least 2, mabye 4 more games than we did. UofL for sure..and with the experience Max woulda been better late. I mean..the Ga game...the kid just stood in and took massive hits but kept plugging. IMHO..i think Randy Sanders needs to forget his vanilla play calling and take some shots.
This post was edited by BigBlueDawg12 2 years ago
Uhm, Stevie hasn't been around in a long time. The fact that UK is still talking about trying to replace him says a lot about how poor wr recruiting has been since.
Has Joker ever said anything positive when asked about a player's progress?
Personally, I have a really good feeling about Sweat, and predict he'll get some pt as a true fresman. Still, to expect him to be Steviesque right out of the gate is a bit much imo. Plus, I don't think he's as fast as Stevie. Still, I could see him grow into a legit threat about 3/4ths of the way through the season.
Stevie isn't really that fast. Certainly not fast enough to be a return man. Sweat is apparently one hell of a return man so I assume he's fast than Stevie. Could be wrong though.
Are you talking about the Lamar QB who didn't throw a TD in their Spring Game until OT?
Look, I believe that Smith should be our QB WITHOUT QUESTION right now, but to keep saying Joker ran off "the better QB" in Moss just doesn't hold water. It's possible BOTH QB's were busts(due to injury or inability to pick up the college game), and that recruiting class was marginal when you take those 2 4-stars out of the mix. It happens. Good news is Towles is the real deal for the future. I just hope we have a few WR's step up and be playmakers this year. Smith is a good enough QB to make some things happen, but we must have WR's that MAKE PLAYS.
He didn't say newton would be the starter or would even compete. He said he wanted them to both "act like" the starter which means he wants them to both lead off season skeletons etc.
Another terrific example of an awful lod post. Creating something out of nothing. Newton will be a senior.
While its obvious that he just isn't a good
Qb there isn't a thing that says he shouldn't compete or use his natural leadership abilities.
I think randal Cobb and Chris Matthews disagree. Yes, we need more playmakers but Cobb is a legit nfl star and Matthews made it to final cuts with Cleveland. Collins and robins and king have to step up this year.
One thing I'd like to point out. You blast Joker for putting all his eggs in the Newton basket last year. Yet you want him to do the same with Max Smith this year. The hypocrisy is hilarious.
Not in the least. My criticism of Joker has been that he relied too much on one guy. I don't mind people disagreeing with me but don't put words into my mouth. I never said that there should not be competition. My criticism was that when Moss left we needed another QB besides Smith. I would have recruited a JUCO who could have played and would have cost them a two year ride. In fact, if Mossakowski was good enough to be a back up I would have found a way to keep him and if he wasn't then I would have recruited another QB even if he stuck around.
Right now we have Smith, Russell, and Towles who is the best QB recruit to come here since Couch by all accounts. If any freshman can play successfully it would be Towles. The few people who have seen him lately feel that Russell is a viable option at QB. There is no question in my mind that Smith is a much better QB than Newton. Newton has been given more than his shot and has never played well. Joker has been pushing him on the field ever since he arrived. It is time to move on. I have been critical of this relationship ever since we had a chance to beat UT in Lexington due to Cobb's running and when we got to the goal line Joker pulls Cobb, runs Newton and loses the game.
It finally looks like the offense is starting to pull together and accomplish something by what little information is allowed out of Joker's closed camp. Call me old fashion but I would try to build on something positive instead of potentially splitting the offensive unit up with some stupid competition that has no point with a comment implying that it is up to the players to choose who to follow. I would point out that we had one of the worst 5 offenses in division one ball last year and Newton was one of the worst 5 QB's in measured performance. What is the point? Joker could have said that Smith is still the starter but we are interested in Newton's rehab and seeing how everyone does this summer.
I really like this staff. I probably wouldn't have put together so many guys of the same age range but I really like them and want them to succeed. I have come to hope that Joker lets his staff coach the team. I just want to have a relevant football team.
DOAVH lives here now, yes?
A. You can't make a kid (moss) stay around. B. read my post about this again. Joker wants them both to prepare like a starter. he didn't say there would even be a competition between newton and moss. But he has said that towels would have a shot. You should never let any player think they have a position wrapped up unless you have a heisman type qb. Why? Because
The qb's all need prepare like they could be the starter. They all need to be in the film room etc...
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