Settling in: Thursday practice notes

Coach Joker Phillips talked about newly named starting quarterback Maxwell Smith getting comfortable and settling into his spot.

“Once it’s announced, the starting guy feels a little bit more comfortable and guys are more comfortable with him,” Phillips said. “You’re able to lead a little bit better. He’s a little more vocal because now he knows it’s his.”

Always the realist, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders noted that comfort level comes with more repetitions for Smith, now that he’s taking all of the snaps at the No. 1 spot.

“It’s a little easier to take charge when you’re getting reps with first group,” Sanders said. “I’ve been pleased with what he’s done, but I’ve also been pleased with how Morgan (Newton) has responded.”

He said Newton, who started last season as the starter before injuring his throwing shoulder, has the perfect mindset for a backup.

“Morgan’s all about Kentucky and he wants Kentucky to do well,” Sanders said. “He would love to be ‘the guy,’ but he’s bought into the team concept.”

We have to take the coaches’ word for it on the quarterbacks, who were not allowed to speak to the media on Thursday.

Sanders also was asked about the offensive line. He seemed pleased with the first-team guys, but still uneasy with the depth.

“I’d like to have four more guys you really feel good about,” Sanders said, saying of the second team: “I’m sure my (school-aged) daughters are nervous about a little bit.”

Today was the first day of preparation for Louisville and Phillips was happy with the team’s focus.

“There was a lot of crisp routes, crisp passes, guys competing on defense,” he said.

  • Running back CoShik Williams (foot sprain) practiced on Thursday and Phillips said the senior likely would be the starter versus Louisville.
  • There have been no significant injuries recently, either, which is a switch from last season going into the opener.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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