Courtesy of Kentucky Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky football team held its first major scrimmage of preseason practice Saturday afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium.
Coach Joker Phillips' team warmed up for 30 minutes, then scrimmaged for one hour and 40 minutes. The scrimmage began with special teams work before moving into offense vs. defense. One point of emphasis was the ongoing competition at quarterback with senior Mike Hartline, sophomore Morgan Newton and redshirt freshman Ryan Mossakowski.
""They all were productive; they had a couple of blunders by all three of the quarterbacks," Phillips said. "The thing we're trying to eliminate is that blunder. You can't have a blunder at the quarterback position.
"In the first week (of preseason practice), the things you're looking at are where are their eyes, are they talking, what are they seeing when they're out there, how are they talking to you when they come back. All three of them know what's going on out there. A lot of that has to do with getting your timing together in a week. Hopefully that will come next week. We weren't as productive as we'd like because of the timing. We'll take a look at the film and see how it shakes out."
Phillips noted that the team had more emphasis on the passing game than the running game during the scrimmage.
"I thought the defense played really well except for a couple of big plays in the passing game," the coach continued. "One of the quarterbacks pulled one down and made a big play with his legs, which is what he has to do. It's hard to say the run game is ahead of the pass game at this point because of what we tried to do today.
"I think we have to give this competition another week because there wasn't any huge separation amongst them. We'll give it another week and try to decide on Sunday of next week whether we're ready to make a decision."
The coach indicated that he saw good things out of some of the Wildcat freshmen.
"I really liked a couple of the freshmen," Phillips said. "99 (defensive tackle Donte Rumph) continues to show up. He's a load. He's what we play against every Saturday. We have to get him in shape. Hopefully, we'll get him to play a long series. I really liked Priester (freshman cornerback Jerrell Priester), he showed up. (Freshman defensive end) Nerman Delic is slowly making a case for not only getting on the bus, but getting some playing time. Two of the young backs, (Raymond) Sanders and (Brandon) Gainer, showed up a lot.
"We need a couple of those tight ends to step up. Those three young tight ends, we need one of those guys to step up and find out if any of those three guys can help us."
Phillips also was asked about the ongoing battle at middle linebacker.
"Qua Huzzie showed up all over the field," Phillips said. "I like his energy. I'm not sure if he separated himself enough to move up, we'll see watching on the film, but he continues to show up. Your middle linebacker is the one you're trying to keep the down guys off of, he better make plays and Qua Huzzie is starting to show up and make plays."
Phillips noted that junior wide receiver Gene McCaskill incurred a knee injury and freshman running back Miles Simpson sustained an ankle injury during the practice. The coach said that there would be a better indication of the extent of the injuries on Sunday.
The Wildcats will review the scrimmage video Saturday night and resume practice Sunday.