A simulated game week has begun for the Hilltoppers. Bobby Petrino started his team through five days of closed practices Monday and WKU will hold a mock game Friday night. His comments after Monday’s practice below.
Petrino also said senior fullback Kadeem Jones (left foot) and sophomore running back Leon Allen (left ankle) are almost ready to go.
Monday’s practice: “It was a pretty good day. This is the week where you have to just come out and be about business and working hard. It’s always a week that challenges your mental toughness because there is no game, we’ve already been in camp for two weeks.
“We got a little bit of a slow start, but we started getting better as practice went on and practiced faster and better at the end of practice – which helps. We have to win the game in the fourth quarter.”
Week of closed practice: “It’s kind of how I’ve always done it. Give two weeks where it’s open, let the fans come around, see us. It’s good for our players, but now it’s time for no distractions and just get ready for the game.”
Goals for the week: “First I wanna see each person concentrating on getting better individually – assignments, alignments, technique and really working at their position and taking strides.
“We cut back some of the things we’re doing. The first two weeks you’re installing everything and it’s something new everyday. Now it’s cut back so the focus and concentration needs to be where we don’t have the same mistakes and we start getting better at our assignments, alignments and technique.
“Then start executing better offensively and defensively and in special teams. We still got a lot of work to do on special teams. I like our special teams. We should cover well. We’re kicking the ball good, and I know that we got a pretty good return game. Hopefully we’ll be good in special teams.”
Friday’s mock game: “We’re gonna play it a little bit like the spring game where coaches are off the field, but you also try to really hit all the special teams situations that come up.
“It’s a like a scrimmage, with the scripting of certain situations.”
UK prep: “We’re going, probably, 60 percent practice against UK and 40 percent working ones versus ones, twos versus twos to get the fast, hard look that we get better at. We’ll probably change it up a little bit each day, but they get a feel for what a Tuesday practice is, what a Wednesday practice is going to be like and then a couple other practices will kinda be half-and-half.”
Time to challenge for a starting spot: “There’s always time. That’s what the players get, they get the opportunity everyday to go out and prove themselves and go out and take somebody else’s job or go out on the practice field and keep their job.
“I tell ‘em all the time, ‘You earn the right to win games on the practice field,’ and that, ‘they determine the depth chart – not the coaches.’ If they wanna move up on the depth chart, there’s certainly an opportunity for them.”