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August 6, 2010
Joker Phillips walked briskly off the field following the initial practice of his first fall camp as Kentucky's head coach like a man with purpose. Decked out in what has become his customary long-sleeved shirt, even with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, the Cats' new sheriff professed to being pleased with the proceedings.
Although teams are only allowed to wear helmets and shorts for the first two days of camp Phillips could already sense the excitement in his team. On Sunday they'll add shoulder pads for two more days before graduating to full pads on Tuesday, the same day they'll return to a single-unit practice instead of a split-squad format.
"I loved the energy," Phillips said. "When we split practice we are more into teaching because we need the freshmen to get a lot of work and get them taught. As we get into it with the whole team it'll be faster and there will be a lot more energy."
Phillips said the ability freshmen have to spend all summer on campus helps their learning curve but he also praised the leadership his veterans displayed after seeing how far along the youngsters were on the first day.
"Miles and miles ahead of where freshmen used to be (when they came in) and all of them were here except for two or three so they are miles ahead because they've been here for eight weeks," Phillips said. "(The veterans) are in charge. We put one guy in charge of each position (in the summer) and have them bring them along. Talking to Derrick Locke and how he'd come in and talk about the freshmen, he did a really good job teaching those young running backs. They are way ahead and that says a lot.
Become a TCP premium subscriber and get more inside scoop on today's practice session in The House of Blue.
Matt May is the football beat reporter for The Cats' Pause. If you have questions or comments about the Cats e-mail him here. You can also follow "@TCPMAY" on Twitter for live updates.