Most Recent Posts
- DeCourcy says Julius Randle is “so freaking quick” and powerful he will be special
- UK football coach Mark Stoops on wife: “She gets involved as much as she can in a supportive role”
- Swiss Cat – Vacation notes and photos from Larry from his trip to Switzerland.
- Kentucky softball team earns 40th win to tie school record for most wins in a season
- Calipari says Cats will press more, foul more, bump and grind, hip-check next season
- Caldwell County sophomore Elijah Sindelar special QB but also has big-time baseball options
- Stoops believes he has special understanding of high school coaches
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about working with head coach Mark Stoops
By LARRY VAUGHT
HOOVER, Ala. — Kentucky players that came to the Southeastern Conference Football Media Days here know fixing mistakes could determine whether coach Joker Phillips is back next year to bring other players to SEC Football Media Days or losing his job.
Defensive end Collins Ukwu says Phillips’ confidence rubs off on the team.
“He really knows how to get us motivated. We as a team now have something to prove just from last year. Not only coach but also how our performance was last year that really motivates us to be a better team,” Ukwu said. “We are players. That’s what we came here to do is play. We know that the SEC is the best conference in America. We know the challenge we face every week, and we are ready for it. We are ready to compete.”
“He cares about the program and about us so much. It shows in everything that he does. He eats, sleeps and breathes Kentucky football. He cares about this program so much, and he shows it on the field with the intensity that he brings. It’s crazy how much he loves this program, and we are better for it,” senior offensive guard Larry Warford said.
Senior center Matt Smith says the low expectations for UK this year are motivation for the team, and also nothing new.
“We know that a lot of people don’t give us a whole lot of respect at the beginning of the season because normally we have a lot of young guys that we are going to be counting on to step up. Those people that pick the preseason rankings don’t see us in the summer, and they don’t see what we are doing in between those white lines,” Smith said.
The senior center says while the players don’t worry about the coaching staff’s future, they know a winning season would solidify Phillips and his staff at UK.
“We don’t look at that administrative stuff,” Smith said. “We don’t pay attention to the hot seat stuff, but we know we need a good performance to keep our coaches. The win over Tennessee last year was huge for that. We love coach Phillips and I want him here forever. But to do that, we know we have to perform a lot better this year.”