Ball security key for freshman running backs

At least one true running back is going to play at Kentucky this season. Count on that. With the status of Derrick Locke's knee yet to be determined and the nagging foot injury that is still plaguing Alfonso Smith, two true freshmen running backs could easily be in the rotation this season.

That's why Joker Phillips is watching Jonathan George, Donald Russell and Dakotah Tyler so closely. Coach Rich Brooks says UK was able to sign three quality running backs last year because of the possibility of early playing time and all three want to play as they compete in training camp.

"The freshman running backs are starting to get a grasp of what is going on but they are just learning," Phillips said. "Jonathan George is starting to stick his head out a little bit and as he does, Donald Russell does. I am not sure how far they are out, but they are both starting to make some progress. Dakotah needs to continue to come because they are stepping away from him a little bit."

However, all three have work to do to show Phillips they are ready for Southeastern Conference competition.

"The biggest thing all three need to work on is ball security. In high school, you can swing the ball around and with the speed of the game people were not fast enough to get to you and knock it out," Phillips said. "Here as soon as you think you have passed somebody and are swinging the ball all over the place, somebody is there to punch it out. That is the biggest thing with all three. They have to take care of the ball if they want to play."

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