Phillips happy to have a week off

Ideally Kentucky coach Joker Phillips would like to have Kentucky's open date earlier in the season rather than after the Cats have played 11 straight games.

Ideally Kentucky coach Joker Phillips would like to have Kentucky's open date earlier in the season rather than after the Cats have played 11 straight games.

However, now the first-year UK coach is glad his team has a week off following Saturday's 38-20 win over Vanderbilt before closing regular-season play at Tennessee Nov. 27.

"It is much needed right now after going through 11 straight weeks," said Phillips Sunday about the open date. "You would like to have it in the middle (of the year), but we will take it now."

He said it helps going into the open date off a win, too.

He gave the players off Sunday and today before the resume practice Tuesday with a "little preparation" starting for Tennessee then. "For the most part, it will be trying to get Kentucky better (this week)," he said. "We want to use this week and develop our younger players and also get a chance to see some guys traveling (and dressing for the team) that are not playing a lot."

He said true freshmen who have played sparingly as well as those redshirting need a week where they may get more practice repetitions, something they also likely will get in December now that UK has a sixth win and is bowl eligible for a fifth straight year. Kentucky will have a scrimmage "with the young kids who have not played a lot, including redshirts" on Thursday before taking a two-day break from practice. The team will return Sunday for a longer than normal practice.

The players will have a close to normal routine next week except they will eat Thanksgiving dinner together on Nov. 24 followed by team meetings. After the morning practice on Thanksgiving, players living close enough will have the chance to go home before the team travels to Knoxville Nov. 26. Coaches will have limited recruiting opportunities this week as UK has already used 31 of the 42 allowable days to have coaches on the road.

"We will have a couple of coaches out Thursday-Friday and a couple out only one day this week," Phillips said.


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