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Overtime loss to Western Kentucky puts Joker Phillips on an even hotter seat

Kentucky's DeMarcus Sweat leaves the field after his team was defeated 32-31 by Western Kentucky in overtime of an NCAA college football game at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Kentucky’s DeMarcus Sweat leaves the field after his team was defeated 32-31 by Western Kentucky in overtime of an NCAA college football game at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/James Crisp)


If Joker Phillips was on the hot seat before this game, he’s been thrown into the furnace now. That’s what a 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky will do to a coach who has had back-to-back losing seasons and no longer can live off a win over South Carolina in 2010 or Tennessee last season to save his job.

Not after his Southeastern Conference team was physically beaten most of the game by Western, a Sun Belt Conference foe. Not after the Wildcats showed no more speed or playmaking ability than Western. Not after his team lost when Western went for a two-point conversion in overtime and easily scored on a trick play — a throwback pass to the quarterback.

Granted, UK is not the only program in the SEC struggling. Arkansas is in disarray. Vanderbilt is 1-2. Tennessee got a dose of reality when it was crushed by Florida Saturday. Auburn needed overtime to beat Louisiana-Monroe, another Sun Belt team and the team that beat Arkansas last year.

But this loss means UK is THIRD in the state. The Cats were smacked by Louisville to open the season and now have lost to Western.

Of course, the loss should not have been that stunning. Remember, Western came close last year and lost 14-3 because it didn’t take advantage of some chances to score. Last week Western went to No. 1 Alabama and lost 35-0, but had eight tackles for loss and was not overwhelmed. Anyone think UK could do the same?

Western raced to a 17-0 lead in this game because UK quarterback Max Smith, who had been efficient with his throws the first two games, was picked off three times in his first 16 passes. It took a late second-quarter rally for UK to get back in the game at 17-10 and keep the Commonwealth Stadium fans from leaving.

But make no mistake about it. Western dominated the line and showed absolutely no fear. Kentucky’s play was so uninspiring that the ESPNU crew covering the game called UK a “lower level SEC team” — and no one at UK can argue.

Well, maybe Phillips can try.

“Western was a real physical team, but I thought we matched them,” said Phillips.

Matched them? Maybe, but shouldn’t a SEC team do more than match a Sun Belt team?

“I still really think we have a good football team. Just didn’t make enough plays. You can’t turn the ball over (four times).

Defensively, we didn’t get ourselves off the field,” Phillips said.

Good teams, though, do make plays, don’t turn the ball over and do get off the field. Since Kentucky didn’t do that and is now 1-2, it’s hard to call Kentucky a good team right now.

“It was a tough loss,” senior receiver Aaron Boyd said. “Any loss is tough to swallow, but this one is really hard. They made one more play than we did. We just have to take it like a man and get ready for Florida. We knew they would come in here and want to make a statement by beating a SEC team, and they did.”

They did to the point that Western coach Willie Taggart said after the game that his team was the “WKU red is the new blue” in the state, a statement Phillips obviously didn’t like but refrained from directly commenting on even though he raised his voice while explaining he would not comment on that.

“I respect Willie. I think he has done a hell of a job there. I am not about to talk about someone else’s program or have our kids run their mouth. I am not going to do it,” Phillips said.

Does he worry about keeping his team together after this loss that will certainly having many UK fans turning their thoughts to basketball season?

“No, I don’t, he said.

What about fans who will worry that this team will hang its head going into SEC play?

“We had the opportunity to hang our heads today. Wouldn’t you say? We were down in the first half and late in the second half,” Phillips said. “This team … I have heard the word soft. This team is not soft. This team is tough. We are not a soft football team. We have tough individuals in that locker room.”

However, there are a lot of questions starting with Phillips having to suspend running back Raymond Sanders, who had his best game at UK the previous week, for the game for disciplinary reasons. Or maybe explaining why the defensive front, considered the strength of UK’s team, gave up another 151 yards rushing.

Phillips and his players said there was no discussion about going for two points with 23 seconds left in regulation when Demarcus Sweat scored on a 22-yard reception to cut the lead to 24-23.

“I didn’t hear any discussion of going for two,” said Smith, who overcame his shaky start to complete 37 of 60 passes for 332 yards and two scores.

“We had the momentum. We decided we were at home and try to continue to play overtime and it looked good at the time, especially after we got the ball back and put it in the end zone,” Phillips said.

But it didn’t look to good when Western also scored in overtime and then never hesitated to go for the game-winning conversion, a trick play Taggart put in just this week in hopes it might help win this game.

“I just don’t what to say,” UK linebacker Bud Dupree, who had 12 tackles, said. “We know we should have won this game. We’re better than this.”

Maybe. But maybe not, too, and that’s what UK players and coaches better realize.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/overtime-loss-to-western-kentucky-puts-joker-phillips-on-an-even-hotter-seat/


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  1. Rich Madky

    Joker is either a complete moron (possible) or totally delusional (probable). We matched them? Just didn’t make enough plays? Did we lose a squeaker to Georgia? Uh, no. Lost to WKU. Fire Mitch for not firing Joker. Let’s clean house.

    1. King Ghidora

      Joker will be gone after this season. I had hoped for better but that isn’t what he brought to the table. After the successes of the Brooks era and with the win over USC the first year I had really hoped for better days. But I don’t believe they are coming. UK looks like a mid-major team at best. They play in the SEC. The SEC is a monster conference for football. I get the feeling UK doesn’t even belong there at this point. I hate it but there it is. Joker will be gone soon.

  2. Kathy

    I like Joker as a person, but he just isn’t a very good coach. He is a good recruiter and he is friendly, but UK needs to get someone like Bobby Petrino to head our program. I went to Kentucky, but there is NO reason for us to not be both a basketball and football school. I wish Coach Brooks would consider coming out of retirement-he did have the progrma going in the right direction.

    1. Yvette

      Say…Bobby Petrino as new UK head coach? He is a changed man. He has been humbled. He is a winner and can recruit. Look what he did at Arkansas. Look at Arkansas without him. Wow he could turn UK football around! Congrats to WKU on an excellent game plan and execution!

      1. Jim Boyers

        Yvette, PLEEEEASE tell me you are joking.

        The risk vs. reward with THAT hire would carry an infinite (and very probable)downside.

        Think Billy G. on the football sidelines.

        1. UKFan

          Think Calapari with all of his past skeletons that are going end up exploding here in Kentucky. Give it 2 or 3 more years and see what happens when the banners come down and wins are vacated…

          1. Chiefsfan24

            Coach Cal has no skeletons; do your homework!!

      2. LindaS

        We don’t need the baggage that Petrino would bring to the program. You don’t need two Italians at the same school, it just won’t work. UK can have only one Italian Stallion and we have the best in the premier sport.
        I am so glad I am not a football fan, maybe if we had winning A+ teams I would feel differently.
        You need a coach who is a proven winner, one you can lure away with lots of $ but Kentucky is not going to pay what a good coach would cost for football.
        You can’t recruit the top players for the Kentucky program when you have so many other schools recruiting the same player. Kentucky has nothing to offer against an Alabama, Nebraska etc.
        The brains at Kentucky need to sit down and examine what it would take to get the type of coach and the type of players from throughout the USA to establish a premier program. I don’t see it happening in my life time.

    2. Chiefsfan24

      We don’t want Bobby Petrino to lead our program! We want someone who is a winner both, on the field and off the field!
      Yes…look at Arkansas, look at them now….that is Petrino’s fault! The guy can’t stay loyal to a school or to his own wife!! Thee are better men for the UK job if it opens up!

      1. larryvaught

        not much of a petrino fan myself

    3. Anonymous

      no uk need ul monrow coach or a coach like him cause we wont be able to get a coach like patreno

  3. Kathy

    I do agree with Rich Madky…..fire both of them. Put Petrino in as football coach or bring Coach Brooks back. Move Joker back to QB coach and fire the AD-why do we have all these ppl outside the state in UK management when we have someone like Jack Givens who has moved back, is from Kentucky, and would make a great Athletic Director. Why give our hard earned tax money to ppl from other states when Kentuckians are able and willing to serve those offices? Just sayin…

  4. KL

    Joker should be fired TOMORROW.

    1. Steve

      Why wait until tomorrow? One more day just means we have to wait another day in this embarrassment! Fire him today and prove UK means to be a winner!

  5. TheProfessor

    I was a witness to this game tonight, at Commonwealth Stadium, and there are several issues that seem to defy explanation. How does a team get a delay of game penalty on the first play of an overtime period?

    The 3 win season forecast has now been proven overly optimistic. This was one of the 3.

    1. Andy

      I don’t know how they got the penalty but they still scored the touchdown to take the lead. WHat I want to know is why our tackling is so poor. Neloms missed a crucial one there when he had Jakes and then somehow missed the tackle.

      1. Lori Metcalf

        I’ve been watching UK football since I came to Lexington 10 years ago. They have never had good tackling teams. Wrap up!!!!!!!!

        1. larryvaught

          Amen Lori. Tackling a huge problem this year

    2. RJ

      One more win. That’s it.

  6. oldkentucky

    It saddens me to read so many comments complaining about our team, our coaches and Barnhart. We have a good and wise collection of people running our football program. Right now is the time to give them our support and encouragement. This football is getting better every game.

    1. John

      We have fine quality young men on our team. They are also a talented group. Some of them are a higher talent than should realistically be at UK.
      However, we as a fan base should never accept loosing to a Sun Belt team AT HOME even.
      The guys on the field have the ability to make us a proud fan base. We don’t expect to win the SEC, or even come in second in the East. We expect to win the games we are suppose to and surprise a team or two along the way.
      It is obvious that the leadership of this team is not capable of meeting our expectations. Joker is a great man, and a great recruiter. But being a great man does not put W’s on the field.
      He should have been let go after last season. Our team after two years of him as head coach reversed the momentum that they had in precious years. The argument that you can’t fire a new coach only two years into his contract does not hold water in this case. Joker had been head coach in waiting and OC and recruiting co-ord. His thumbprint is all over this team and has been the entire time he has been coach.

      To say we shouldn’t be critical of the leadership of our football program is absolute homerism. We as fans don’t expect much. But it is foolish to think we’ve gotten any better in the last 28 games.

      1. john l

        Joker should have been released after UKs’ pitiful performance against Pitt .And his handling of Mike Hartline.Both showed he was not suitable for the job.Last year and the first three games of this year have verified this fact.Maybe UK could releave him and name him Dean of Students.A job he may be better suited for.

    2. UKFan

      I guess we should all sit around a campfire and sing koombaya also??? The money needs to be put into the football program is it is in the basketball program. There needs to be a high profile coach that has the ability to be paid on the same level as the basketball program. Facilities need to be updated and the recruiting money needs to be there and not this 400,000 grand crap compared to the other teams 2-3 million…..

      1. King Ghidora

        UK has gone with high priced coaches in the past. It didn’t work out well at all. They need a good coach for their program. Brooks got it done IMO even though people said he would never cut it. Yet when we bought Alabama’s coach right out from under them (Bill Curry) it didn’t accomplish much at all. He never had a record better than 6-6 at UK. Curry had been very successful at Alabama winning the conference and going to several bowls. But he had lost to Auburn 3 times so they weren’t real happy with him and didn’t give him the contract he wanted. UK did. The rest is history.

        Hiring a known coach is not always the best thing to do. UK needs a coach that can come in and make a name for himself and the school. Heck Marshall did it. They came from so far down in the world it was amazing. Dropping to Div. II was a really bad thing for them. But they sure came back ending one year ranked #10 in the country as a MAC team. They were undefeated that year and they were great for years besides that one. They won 5 conference titles in a row and a whole bunch of bowl games not to mention Div. II championships. If Marshall can do it UK can do it. Heck Georgia hired their coach away from them (and ended up firing him in one of the most ridiculous moves I’ve ever seen) but Marshall found another coach that led them to even greater heights.

        That’s how UK needs to do it. Build their program from the ground up with their own coach. It can happen. UK has done it before. I remember Fran Curci. Yes he got caught cheating. Half the country has been caught cheating. I’m not saying they should cheat. I’m saying that maybe the NCAA just looked really hard for a reason to get rid of Curci.

        1. Anonymous

          You people keep saying how Brooks got it done. Not against SEC schools, only by scheduling much lover level inferior teams did he manage to get UK to Wimpy at best bowls.

          1. King Ghidora

            Hmm.. Didn’t he beat LSU when they were ranked #1? Didn’t he go 4-4 in the SEC one year? Didn’t he win 3 bowl games? If you can name another UK coach that has done that well in the past 30 years please let me know what I missed.

            Did I say Brooks was the best coach UK has had? I believe I pointed out that Curry did a better job than anyone else in my life. Did they pad the schedule? Doesn’t everyone? I see Big 10 teams playing MAC and Conference USA teams all the time. Didn’t Alabama just play the same Western team UK did? Louisiana Monroe beat Ark. who was ranked in the top 10 at the time. And like it or not, there are some really good mid-major teams around. I remember Michigan falling to Appalachian State, a Div. II team. Sometimes you run into a very good team that is off the radar. I remember a time when Boise St. was one of those schools that you wondered if they actually existed or they just showed their scores on tv to make it look like the NCAA was bigger than we thought.

            And again, if you saw how Marshall pulled themselves out of the cellar and became a top 10 team with players like Chad Pennington and Randy Moss you’ll know it’s possible that a coach can make a difference. I believe I called for a coach that could do that sort of turnaround at UK. Remember Marshall played teams like Miami with some QB named Ben something. He plays for the Steelers now. Those “inferior” teams can be mighty freaking good friend. I saw Marshall come very close to beating Big 12 powerhouse teams among others. They did beat Louisville (twice), BYU, Cincinnati, and they very nearly beat Ole Miss. Those were bowl game wins BTW. They weren’t playing those teams in severely down years. They were all bowl eligible which means they all had decent years. So I wouldn’t be so quick to discredit those “inferior” teams because I can name hundreds of examples of teams that won or nearly won against top teams. Heck Ohio St. barely go by teams like Miami, Cincinnati, and more recently Central Florida. There were a lot of games like that for OSU. Yet OSU was ranked near the top of college football for many of those games. In fact they were ranked #1 for some of them. That “inferior team” thinking leads to defeats if you’re a player. I don’t think it helps much to criticize the schedule when your team plays in the SEC. Good grief they play in the toughest conference in the country (by far the toughest). Very few teams play top notch teams out of their conference these days. Ohio St. was doing it but they lost to USC at home and to Texas once (they won another time) and they realized it was bad for business to lose at home so they quit playing those tough teams.

  7. donv

    Experts picked us at the bottom of the SEC. I just didn’t know how low the bottom was. We have made another bad coach rich. Again we are last in recruiting and you can spin it any way you want to but Joker has lost the team and the fan base. Time to move on.

  8. Jim Boyers

    WKU? WTF?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I feel both mentally and physically abused, after watching that train wreck of a game. It would have been a monumental performance, IF it had happened against LSU or Alabama. But WKU? WKU? REALLY?

    I will ask again: IS IT BASKETBALL SEASON YET?!!!!!!!! AAAAAAARRRRRRGH!!!!!!!

    1. larryvaught

      Jim Boyers, that’s fair to feel that way this morning. What UK fan wouldn’t.
      Something just has not been right the last two years. Seems to me one huge problem for uK this year is lack of on-field leadership. Just don’t see any take-charge players. Maybe they aren’t allowed. Maybe the ones who could are too young. I don’t know. But this team has played the way I feared it would after watching spring practice before I become somewhat more optimistic as the season neared and I heard all the reports about extra summer work and great team chemistry. But this loss pointed out every weakness this team has

      1. hoboat33

        “..this loss pointed out every weakness this team has.” God, I hope so. I couldn’t take any more weaknesses.

      2. john l

        This loss pointed out what i’ve been saying from day one,UK has no defense and one of the worst defensive coordinators in D-1 football,and perhaps one of the worst defensive coaching staffs, by position, in D-1 football.

    2. LindaS

      Can you imagine, Jim, what ALA will do to them? Would there be any shame in not playing anymore games this year?

      1. Jim Boyers

        The problem is that I CAN imagine it Linda. Not having to play them may be the best thing we can take from this season.

        They still have to play the games because they will still make a ton of money on them. Our collective psyches will just have to deal with it.

  9. NostraDanis

    Did anyone notice the expression on D. Sweats’ face after he scored? That was the look of a winner; someone who expects to win. Someone who demands to win (think Kidd-Gilchrest basketball people). The current KY coaching staff lacks that attitude and it trickles down to the players.

    Losing is waaaaay too acceptable in the UK football culture; from the BofT, Pres., AD, HC, Coordinators, and position coaches right down to the players. The look on Sweats’ face should be the norm – not the exception.

    1. Ben

      I totally agree! The team is a reflection of the coaching staff! This staff has no real confidence in itself and it shows on the field in this teams play. Joker was a bad pick from the start!

      Rich brooks needed him, so he sold out the programs future to assure his success. Like it or not the truth is playing out right in front of you! Joker is not qualified to be our head coach and should not be kept because he is a good guy or one of us.

      Do we pick another coach like the past 12 or so, who will last 4-5 years? No! We need a coach who is non conventional and will give us a chance to win! Mike Leach is such a coach. We will soon see the direction that Mitch will take. Good luck Joker in your future jobs!

    2. larryvaught

      Agree 100 percent on Sweat. Play him more

    3. shinny

      I agree with the expression on his face and it could mean”see why haven’t you played me at reciever all night” He also could have been saying “I’m a freshmen yes but please coaches don’t hold that against me” or “See I’m a agressive reciever I will go and get the ball and not let my opponent jump in front” or “see I came to play not sit”or “let me lead I hate to lose geez”

    4. King Ghidora

      Sweat sure seems like someone who deserves more PT to me. Ugh. This coaching staff reminds me of one that I played for in high school. I played for one great coach and one that was worse than bad. It stinks to play for a coach like that. Heck half our team quit because of the way he did things. I should have but I really wanted to play. He was one of those guys who was just coaching so he could make his nephew into a star. Yeah he took what I earned away from me and gave it to that nephew and not just me either. We just came off a 6-3-1 season as a single A team (plus we had a JV team that lost 1 game a year for 2 years) then we consolidated and became a 4A team that went 5-5 playing many of the same teams we played the year before. It stunk to lose those games after winning before the nephew came along. Sorry to vent here but that still stings many years later. He chased off our QB, our whole line except one guy and stuck me at fullback to block for you know who (I got to run the ball about twice a game) even though he didn’t have a clue how to use a block. Arrgghhh! I should have been playing receiver anyway and I did much of the time but the QB he stuck us with couldn’t throw the ball 20 yards in the air, no joke. I would run a square out and the ball would bounce 5 yards before it got to me. The QB he chased off could throw the ball about 75 yards.

  10. Bob

    I watched the game last nite in hope i would see an improved football program . What i saw was an UK team hot and cold thats missing something an coach. I said last year he was an joke and now here we go again. Joker was an mistake just as BG was. I’m not sure what the AD was thinking . Kentucky is an great program and solid project for the right person to head our football team .We need an coach Cal of football . Person whom can recurit , coach, and bring out the best in people . I liked the way UK put together drives .However the D has weak spots. I think UK has alot of talent but lacks leadership in game plan and direction. I like Western alot and i though they played an solid game . They came in with an game plan and stuck to it. What really blew me away the last play. Uk’s every player pulledto the ball leaving half the field un guarded for the pitch back .This is an lack of first knowledge of the game and an sorry no plan. Any coach would have called an time out and decussed issues and let Western think about there plans . I’m unsure whom should head our football program , or be AD of UK, but i think the two people there now should be replaced . I never liked Mitch either .

  11. Jeff

    For some reason they dont put the best players on the field, Sanders has been guilty of this for years. Did anyone notice Sweat’s lack of playing time ?

    1. UKFan

      You mean like the Mr. Kentucky Football that ran all over UK???? LOL Love it!!! Joker and the coaches at UK are horrible and as you said the best players dont get the reps or play.

      I also have heard that the coaches carry petty grudges on certain players and wont play them or put them in a position to succeed. Joker is the king of that!!!!

  12. Jlorenzen

    So Joker can’t coach, choose or control his coaches, evaluate talent or prepare for second tier teams. What are his qualifications for employment again? The answer would be none. How do you not recruit the Mr. Kentucky Football when he just embarrassed your team? My first season as a season ticket holder and I don’t want to go to anymore games.

  13. UK football fan - I think I am?

    How much more should UK fans accept? I have had tickets for over 25 years and now understand the 10,000 that did not renew their seats.

    1) Sanders and Cobbins were both suspended for the Western game. Why? We will never know. Absolutely made a difference in the game. The media is not allowed at practices. Anyone that is suspended, quits, or it thrown off the team it is because of reasons that are between the coach and the player.

    2) WKU has run the play that they scored the 2 point conversion on several times before in Taggert’s career. Unacceptable preparation by the defensive coaches to not expect that play. Great coaches watch game films from the time they get home until the sun breaks every morning. Ask Minter if he had been aware of that play next time you see him Larry.

    3) Third in Kentucky, behind Louisville and now Western. Look for no decent football player from the state of Kentucky to come to UK. And don’t be surprised if some young players on our current roster who WKU wants, see the light and transfer.

    4) Offensive scheme. Get some wrist bands for our players for calling plays. You can’t have players getting the play with 5 seconds left on the play clock play after play. 177th out of 178 teams in total offense last season and no wake up call. Delay of game in the overtime on the FIRST play of our possession, due to Sanders not getting the play in.
    And don’t use a timeout on that the most important series in OT, just take the delay, so it is 1st and 15. A timeout wasted in the 1st half, then a timeout wasted in the 2nd half as play clock running down because the coaches didn’t get the play in.

    5) Defense. Roughing the passer. Then a blow to the head of the QB. Add that poorly disciplined action to the defensive coaching staff. Cost us the game!

    6) Passing game. Florida will beat us by 40 points. No deep passes. No receiver has beat a DB long this entire season. Look for Florida to crowd the box and destroy UK next Saturday.

  14. Andy P.

    Joker’s doing the best he can. The blame goes to Rich Brooks and Mitch Barnhart for putting him in a position to fail. Double blame goes to Mitch Barnhart for not having the intuitive sense to realize sometime last season that Joker is way over his head and no matter how long he stayed here as the head coach he would never be a competent head coach. Barnhart’s lack of sound judgment has cost the university millions of dollars, and that’s on top of the millions of dollars that we lost on Billy Clyde.

    We need a new athletic director before we go looking for a new football coach.

    1. UKFan

      You sound like someone that will vote for Obama!!! LOL Blame the previous person even though you have had time to correct an issue. Its not poor Jokers fault… Blah Blah Blah…

      1. john l

        Are you really Rush Limbaugh ????

      2. Andy

        Actually UKFan, he does have a point. Mitch Barnhart has stood by Joker through and through. If you think UK athletics has money to throw around on a new football coach, while letting go of Joker and paying him through 2014, they better find some funds fast.

        1. larryvaught

          Great point Andy. UK is not going to throw around any more money than necessary for football

      3. Andy P.

        That’s laughable. I wouldn’t vote for Obama for dog catcher.

        I didn’t say this isn’t Joker’s mess, I just made the point that Joker is doing the best he can and that is far from good enough. It’s classic Peter Principle. Joker is way over his head.

    2. larryvaught

      Love the passion and insights here. Never try to tell me UK fans don’t care about football. All these comments clearly show UK fans want to win in football as much as they do in basketball.

  15. grant

    Max Smith stares down his recievers way to much without looking anywhere else, when he gets to sec calibur competition level he is going to throw a ton more picks. A pump fake to freeze the safeties could possibly help him or just going through his progressions and checking down to other options needs to be done, and only late in the game he did not have time to do such, as he was on the run and then on his back.

    Max is a tough kid , with all kinds of heart and maybe the best attribute a short memory and it served him well.

    I wish there was a rule change on pass interference and it was like the nfl and you get the ball where the penalty was committted.

    I did feel bad watching the UK players walk to the tunnel dejected looking, it was indeed a tough loss.

    If you were not rooting for anyone , this was a highly entertaining game, UK and WKU showed lots of guts and giving up was not an option for either.

    One subtle, yet telling thing coach Taggert said in his post game comments for espn was , “we just put in this play this week”. That being the play that won the game at the end. Now let me explain why its telling, because Uk is supposed to have SEC level talent, and SEC level coaches, and when you have such, you should be able to overcome, overpower, and out think lesser opponents and most of all not fall prey to a trick play that was has been practiced for all of one week.

    This was clearly a step backwards, and Uk is reeling right now. I do give a lot of credit to WKU and coach Taggert and staff, but this game was scheduled for the benefit of UK in hopes of getting to the meager 6 win finish and going to a bowl. I know we are in a culture , and i am guilty of it , where we say fire this person, or fire that person without regard to that persons life. But with respect to coach Phillips, i believe he is in over his head here. Now that being said, if UK is not going to go out and hire a coach that can recruit to the SEC level, then they should just keep coach Phillips. Why trade less than mediocre for less than mediocre?

    Not taking anything from WKU , but this was a shot across Barnharts desk and if he is willing to accept this he needs to have his job looked at as well.

  16. wscomb0

    don’t know what you’re smoking larry but Joker is way past the hot seat.

  17. Tom

    I think Minter’s defense is so complex that he doesn’t even understand it. He was once a good coach, but he’s divisive and has those kids playing much too tentatively. If I’m Joker, I admit I hired the wrong DC, fire him, put Cassity in charge and tell him to simplify and let those kids play football. What could it hurt at this point?

  18. jeeepcat

    As usual, I feel sorry for our players. They have been sold out and the best interest of the program and the players is not at the forefront. If it were – Joker would have been gone already.

    Joker manages his program about like Tubby did – but Tubby was a far better coach.

    Let’s fix this before what talent we have spoils or leaves.

  19. Clyde Root

    Larry-EKU might feel insulted by your remark that UK is no. 3 in the state.

  20. sweat

    u should put m sweat in all the time micth needs to get rid of joker and the cornater too cause they should had one that game last nite joker just dont get it max well did a good job evrybody did a good job so just stop playing and do ur thing micth barhart and get joker up out football coachng

  21. Rob Gorley

    As a player and as a representative of UK, Joker will always be fondly remembered as a class act and a nice guy, but you just CAN’T be in his position and lose to WKU. I’d have to agree with a lot of folks here that this loss signals the need for a coaching change. It will be REALLY important for the University to take its time in their search and not just hire the first available person, but find a qualified, veteran coach who will bring instant credibility and excitement to the program. There’s no reason we can’t get back on track and start a new streak of bowl appearances. We can thank Rich Brooks for setting a new standard for Kentucky football.

  22. sweat

    lets go d sweat micth do ur job and get rid of joker and the cornater case we are not going to win no more games cause joker going to keep running the same plays wont change player joker needs to play all his player

  23. shinny

    I remember when we were above Stanford,Oregon,TCU,Louisville,Western,Cincy,Vandy,what happened? Their fan base said enough is enough get us a football program!!! Nobody has any ears when we yell
    “GET US A DAMN FOOTBALL PROGRAM” gee ma nee christmas Barnfart!!!!

  24. Larry T Clemons

    WOW ! Tough Crowd…Heart wrenching Loss, Hell of a game.

  25. Andy

    Its def time to think about a new DC coorindator. Minters unit can;t stop the run. I just think they dont know how and that starts with coaching. Imagine what AL, SC will do to us. Spurrier will humiliate us.

  26. Jeff

    Anyone who knows anything about football knew the moment they saw Morgan Newton step on the field he was a NFL ,,,,TE,,,,, and they have wastied a gifted and gracious young mans time.

    1. UKFAN197TONE

      Apparently, Newton, his father and all his HS coaches know nothing about football. If he wanted to be a TE (other than being talked about as one), he would be a full time TE. I read an article the other day that said Newton wanted to help his team win and if moving to TE was going to help, he would do it. Guess it was time. Has he caught a pass yet?

  27. RJ

    Just a casual comment that has nothing to do with anything but may have everything to do with everything. When I compared the UK and WKU players I saw on TV nearly a third of the UK players had long dread locks hanging out of their helmets. NONE of the WKU players had them…………………

    1. UKFAN197TONE

      You’re right. Had nothing to do with anything. Troy Palamalu (sp) that plays for the Steelers has enough hair coming out of his helmet to make 3 wigs, but that doesn’t stop him from being a good citizen and one he!!-of-a football player.

    2. larryvaught

      Just think it is matter of coincidence RJ. Lot of guys play on the college level with hair like that. Heck, Winston guy did

  28. coldspringmike

    Larry, we need a football hire that will shock the fan base and make them stand up and say ” where the hell did that come from”. Mitch and a search group should be working behind the scenes and getting ready to pull the trigger whenever possible. A name coach, with a solid staff CAN get recruits to follow them to Lexington. ” Build it and they will come” not only applies to coach Cal but can also apply to this UK football program. There is no reason why we have to settle for 2 and 3 star recruits and not get our share of the 4 and 5 star guys the other SEC schools get that this staff is missing out on.

  29. coldspringmike

    And also nice to know that UKFan is a coach Cal and Obama fan. God love him.

  30. OldFan

    I have been following UK for over 45 years and it is always the same excuses no matter who the coach is. Until the AD decides to have a great Football Program and spends the money, it ain’t going to happen no matter who they hire. UK has always had an AD that wants a football coach that can spin a gold purse out of a sow’s ear. We even had an AD that told UK Fans, if you don’t like my way of doing it, (which was losing) go find another team to cheer for. UK has never had an AD that put money into football. UK needs to go to Alabama or LSU and hire the Defensive Coordinator as Head Coach. In the SEC, defense wins games and these two men are the best in the country. Decide on which one, make an offer they cannot refuse, and watch UK win a few games.

    1. larryvaught

      What about the OC at Oregon. Would that be a good choice?

      1. Jackie


  31. UKFAN197TONE

    This game and especially that last play is just the “Commonwealth curse”. How many games have been “lost” on one play (of course it’s more than one play) in that stadium? How many mistakes, blow calls (not like the Roughing the passer on UK) or miscues have lead to a loss?

  32. Mike Flannery

    We all know that nothing will change with our program during the season as far as coaching leadership – Barnhart will not do that. Hopefully, our young linebackers can improve significantly over the next few games and the defense can catch up with the offense. We haven’t scored in the first quarter since Hector was a pup. I support this team and will be there in two weeks. This was not your typical Western team that came into Commonweath, that did not make the pill any easier to swallow. This team does have an exciting passing attack….we need to get the running game going! This game in Florida will tell us a lot about the team,s character after the Western loss. Go Big Blue!

  33. Jackie

    It’s embarassing at this point. We are officially the worst team in the state; we would probably lose to Trinity or St. X.

  34. TrueBlueJohn

    Larry, one thought has really struck me. If you back up about 8 years or so, competively, we were on a par with South Carolina. That game was a toss-up every year. South Carolina made the investment and hired the best coach available. It took Spurrier about five years, but look at the difference in the two programs. Whether we could get a big name coach to come to Lexington remains to be seen, but if the timing had been right, we could have gotten Mike Leach last year. He had nothing but good things to say about his time at UK, and we would not be seeing the empty seats at Commonwealth. I would love to see what would happen to the program if an effort was made to hire a proven coach. It doesn’t have to be a head coach, but could be a young coordinator who wants his opportunity ala Dana Holgerson at Oklahoma State.

    1. larryvaught

      TrueBlue, great point. Those UK-SC games were tossups and very, very even. Even though UK won two years ago, not the case now

  35. aaron hoskins

    hey UK should give the full 5 years to get the program were it needs to be joker will bring them back to a good program get a bowl game every year that would make me happy thats all we ever be just a bowl team

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