Joker on the passing game

The Cats have been successful stretching the field with the long ball, but have been plagued by dropped passes and the inability of Newton to hit the easy passes.

The Kentucky passing game was given a mixed review by Kentucky coach Joker Phillips following yesterday's 27-13 win over Central Michigan.

Phillips evaluated the play of quarterback Morgan Newton.

Phillips said of Newton, "He's got to make some of the throws that he's missing. We had some real easy, simple throws for him. We got to create some easy throws early. He's struggled a little bit to complete passes underneath. But I think he's throwing the deep ball as good as anybody we've had here throw the deep ball. We have to continue to do that. Say you throw five deep balls, you hit it on three, that's 21 points, a huge game-altering play, a game that flips the field also. We have to continue throwing the ball down the field with him."

Kentucky has been working on stretching the field with the pass in practice. Phillips spoke on how that is translating to game play. In particular Phillips pointed out plays by La'Rod King and Gene McCaskill.

"We've been making some big plays down the field. That's what we expect. The guys have been getting behind people. We just hadn't been making them. We didn't make them the first game. We want to throw the ball down the field.

"Last week we were two-for-two, with the other two being drops. La'Rod last week was a touchdown. Gene had a huge play down the middle last week. Again, we want to throw the ball down the field. La'Rod had two big plays. Those are what we call gap plays, game-altering plays. La'Rod had two. The first one down our sideline got us a chance to kick a field goal in the first half, then the huge play after the fourth-down stop. We want to throw the ball down the field."

In order to get those attempts to hit the long pass Kentucky must first establish the running game in order to pull the defense closer to the line of scrimmage.

Phillips said, "You have to start with the run. We have to start with the run, then get people committed to the line of scrimmage, then have an opportunity to stick in it our running back's belly and try to get behind people.

"(Josh Clemons)gave us a chance when we broke the tackle. Now your running game gets a little bit more confident, you get a little more confidence up front coming off the ball. Now it gave us a chance to throw some of the play-action passes."

Once again Kentucky receivers were guilty of dropping passes. Will more guys get a chance to break into the receiver rotation?

Phillips said, "Those two guys (Aaron Boyd and Demarco Robinson) deserved to play, especially if the other guys aren't making plays. We'd like to get E.J. Fields in there in the mix also. He's a guy that had a good week of practice last week; didn't get an opportunity this week.

"He missed last week because of suspension. When you do that, guys move ahead of you. Aaron and Demarco moved ahead of him."

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