Phillips: Cats need playmakers

Offensive coordinator Joker Phillips didn't need long after UK's loss at Tennessee to admit the obvious -- the Wildcats lack offensive playmakers.

"We are going to challenge our guys to open up their minds and let us push them past where they are at now. We have to figure out who can make plays. I don't know who can right now," Phillips said. " I know Randall Cobb can make plays, but we have to find who can make plays on the perimeter.

"We can run the ball efficiently as long as there are not a lot of guys in the box. But when you get a lot of guys in the box and they play man to man coverage on you and they take away the run game and you can't throw, it's bad."

Can that be fixed before UK plays in a bowl game?

"I am hoping we can by the bowl game. We know when Randall is in the game, we have to be in the quarterback run game. If Mike Hartline is going to be our quarterback, we have to be under center more so we can have the threat of the run. When Randall is in, we have to be in the gun so he has the option to run. We have to figure out during bowl practice who are best 11 are and that might be with Hartline at quarterback," Phillips said.

So how frustrating has the last six weeks been for him since he lost both Dicky Lyons and Derrick Locke to season-ending injuries?

"At times it has been frustrating. At times, you have got to look at the big pictures and hope the reps these guys are getting will pay big dividends. You see other freshmen in the league making plays, but they are not playing with a lot of other freshmen around them. We are playing at times with six freshmen on field with Stuart Hines, Jake Lanefski, three receivers and Randall. There are going to be some mistakes," Phillips said.

Kentucky seems to lack the necessary nastiness and aggressiveness at times on offense to compete in the Southeastern Conference.

"You know me. That's the way I want to be. I don't think we are there. We don't have that mentality yet. We have been hunting and pecking so to speak. We don't know who we are and who can make plays," Phillips said.

"We have so many young ones out there. I am not sure it is the makeup. I have never lined up three young receivers on field at same time. I have always had guys so you could hide them and ease them in there. They are all blending together and that's not good. We felt we would progress each week. We have been stagnant offensively. That's why we have to get our kids to open their minds more and see if that won't help."

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