By Cody Porter
The first practice of spring football provided some players the chance to test their healing bodies, or for others, the opportunity to earn a starting spot.
“We’ve got to get ourselves better,” UK football head coach Joker Phillips said. “We got to get better at communicating. Got to get better at lining up. Got to get better at playing a little bit faster.”
Phillips said that the aim of Wednesday’s practice was the “basic installation of both offense and defense” before switching from shorts to pads for Saturday’s practice.
The ability of players such as freshmen Bookie Cobbins and Marcus Caffey to transition from their natural positions of quarterback and running back to wide receiver and cornerback, respectively, make learning the routes and coverages a slow task for day one, Phillip said.
When speaking on Cobbins, Phillips said, “It’s still a tough transition. Learning how to run routes versus the different coverages and all those things. He struggled a little bit at times — making the adjustments on the routes.”
Freshman quarterback Max Smith enters spring practice as the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart.
With the position comes more responsibility.
“Just got to focus and pay attention everyday,” Smith said. “Just like I was before, but now it’s my job now to come out here with the ones.”
Although he was named to the Freshman All-SEC football team last season, Smith said it no longer means that much.
“Time to step it up,” Smith said. “It’s all about first team SEC and becoming an All-SEC player.”
Redshirt freshman Daryl Collins was one player in particular that Max Smith pointed out, saying that he, along with junior La’Rod King and freshman Demarco Robinson, played well during Wednesday’s drills.
“Daryl looks good,” Collins said. “I can’t wait for you all to see him.”
Although Smith thought he looked good, Collins said he believed it was difficult to readjust to the speed of the game.
“There’s speed on both sides, so it was very difficult,” Collins said.
His confidence, though, is still lacking after going down during last season’s training camp due to a knee injury.
The keys to regaining that confidence, Collins said, is to stop focusing on the leg, and instead just go out and play full speed.
“I felt like I was 100 percent,” Collins said. “I did every route at a fast pace.”
King agreed with that assessment.
“A lot of people have a psychological block, but he didn’t show anything,” King said. “He trusts his knee completely, 100 percent, and he went out and just played his game.”