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By LEE ANN HERRING-OLVEDO
Let’s just get the obvious thought that has resounded in the minds of the BBN. Nearly 22 minutes of speaking the infamous “hot seat” questioned surfaced late in the game at the 2012 SEC Media Days.
Q.” I’ve seen your name on a bunch of these hot seat lists. Is that unfair given that you’ve been there 2 years? Realizing in the SEC you’re only as good as your last year or game.
Well surprisingly enough a small chuckle could be heard amidst media members with a short silence. However, Joker knew this was coming and probably one of the best quotes of his media day simply stating, “I’m not sitting down right now, so there’s nothing hot.”
Paul Brown you to say, “You just got up every day and you went about what you did and you did the best you could do, and it didn’t matter what was going sideways or what was going up. You could be riding high or you could be low. But you’d better go out there and persevere. “
Joker Phillips is doing just that as he continued to echo that the focus needs to be about the program at Kentucky and that’s what he is going to focus on. “All we have time to think about is doing all the productive things in our program that we need to get it back to the level we want to.”
Despite being a part of a powerhouse football conference in the SEC when we think of Kentucky what comes to mind is basketball and coach Cal. Instead of trying to fight it Joker is embracing the success of our basketball program to use as a unique spin on football recruiting. “I’m a long time Kentuckian. I’m a letterman, an alumnus. Everybody has things they want to sell in their program. I’m selling our basketball program, okay? I think it was unbelievable advertising of our logo, every time our basketball team went to the next round. We want to hitch our wagon to our basketball program.”
I think this is a new take for our recruiting that could help if done correctly for our program with even more limitation on our regional recruiting with 2 new members of the SEC it’s about getting creative and utilizing a bit of unconventional methods. By hitching on the basketball wagon Joker feels he can bring in kids to UK and then from there the facilities and football program will sell itself. It’s not about selling an individual program in his eyes but selling the University of Kentucky to recruits. I am all for increase visibility and collaboration as long as we equally promote the UK FOOTBALL BRAND just as well.
The overall sentiment to walk away from Joker’s message was that they know they did not reach their goal of getting the program into a sixth straight bowl game, there was a goal to win our last game. The win at Tennessee though some will think it has been over played in some circles. There is something to be said in a win that could possibly change the energy of your team the mindset in a group of young men to go back and play for something more than individual success but for the potential in knowing they have the ability to win together. We may have young talent but given the right combination anyone can surprise. We may not be able to compete for the SEC title just yet but the important thing is continuing to find identity in play and produce a mindset that is willing to face adversity when things aren’t in your favor. As Shug Jordan would say, “Always remember, Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David.”