LOUISVILLE — Kentucky coach Joker Phillips touched on a number of subjects during his talk to the Louisville Quarterback Club on Friday.
Here are some of the tidbits he shared:
Senior Morgan¿Newton, one of four UK¿players to have a perfect 4.0 grade-point average last semester, will play quarterback and not change positions.
Sophomore¿Maxwell Smith goes into the season No. 1 at quarterback, a spot he gained last season when¿Newton injured his shoulder and ankle.
“Morgan could be a Wildcat guy, but I think it is way too late in his career for him to change positions,” Phillips said. “He’s a senior. We have quality tight ends already. That’s what I say he could be our Wildcat guy and we could use him similar to what we did with Matt Roark against Tennessee (in last year’s win).
“We went into last season without a Wildcat guy. You can have a lot of deception when you run the wildcat. I don’t know if I will ever go into another season without a guy that is a Wildcat guy for us. We are going to be in a lot of no-huddle this year. I don’t know how fast we will play, but it will be no-huddle. But I still want us to have a wildcat guy that can change the pace of the game.”
Redshirt freshman Bookie Cobbins is still an unknown going into preseason training camp.¿
Cobbins was a high school quarterback in Louisiana but has been moved to receiver after redshirting last season. However, he missed the end of spring practice because of academic concerns.
Phillips said he was a lot like defensive tackle Mister Cobble, who lost a year of eligibility due to his poor academic performance his freshman year but is now a starter on track to graduate.
“We battle our tails off to get players to be sophomores and learn how to take care of business,” Phillips said. “But when you are doing that, how could you trust him to be on the field? It’s hard to say what he can do talent-wise. Will he do what he’s supposed to do. Does he have it now? We think so. If not, you will be seeing him somewhere else.
“I think he is very talented, but he’s got to do what he’s supposed to do on and off the field. He was one of those guys we thought might hurt us, so we did not play him because we did not trust him. I think now he is becoming a guy we can trust.”
Fullback D.J. Warren had a solid freshman year, but Phillips is not sure how much he’ll play.
“You don’t see a lot of fullbacks in the game today. We think we have got a quality fullback, but you have to get your best 11 players on the field and sometimes the best 11 is not the fullback position,” Phillips said. “When we had John Conner, he was one of our best 11. But when we put him in the game, that meant (wide receiver) Dicky Lyons was on the sidelines. You want to try and get your most explosive guys on the field. We have a quality fullback, but how much he will play is yet to be seen. A lot has to do with how our third receiver comes around.”
While Kentucky is concentrating on recruiting Ohio, the staff has not cut back on its recruiting in southern states, as shown by five verbal commitments out of Florida in the 2013 recruiting class.
“We are not focusing more in Ohio than the South. We still have a huge emphasis in the South,” Phillips said. “We are focusing more in Ohio. (Assistant coach) Mike Cassity has had a lot of success (recruiting) in Ohio. (Defensive coordinator) Rick Minter has ties. (Linebackers coach) Chuck Smith has an area of Ohio.
“But we are working just as hard in the South. It has taken a couple of years to get benefits from the relationships we are trying to build. We have five commitments from Florida. What we have done in Ohio is try to put some (scholarship) offers out there earlier and hope to see that pay off. We think there are a lot of players in the state of Ohio that will come South to play.”