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Rick Minter denies having any confrontation with Joker Phillips over UK defense

Defensive coordinator Rick Minter talks during the win over Kent State. (Victoria Graff photo)

Defensive coordinator Rick Minter talks during the win over Kent State. (Victoria Graff photo)


Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter has not been pleased with the overall play of Kentucky’s defense. Apparently he was even less pleased with a report on Kentucky Sports Radio that there had been a significant confrontation between him and head coach Joker Phillips over changes that needed to be made on defense during the loss at Louisville and for the Kent State game.

“I’m not going to talk about that. It didn’t happen. Now what’s next?” Minter said Tuesday when asked about the confrontation.

Remember, Phillips once worked under Minter when he was the head coach at Cincinnati and he made it clear when Phillips brought him to Kentucky that he knew who was the boss. However, Minter does rule the defense with an iron-hand. Ask any player or coach.

Confrontations also often happen with a staff — and probably should at times when a defense played as poorly as UK did at Louisville.

But rather than just not talk about it, Minter denied it even happened.

So what do you think? Did it happen or not?

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  1. PowerK

    I think Joker should be on Minter regardless. Yes, we’re young, but some of the adjustment breakdowns vs UL were unimaginable. Coaching of the D needs to improve to match what we’re putting on the field. Don’t really care if they’re arguing in Joker’s office or on the sideline

    1. larryvaught

      I agree that when the defense or offense is struggling, head coach should step in and voice opinion. hope he did

  2. Mike Flannery

    I don’t think that KSR makes up stories for interest. It is good when those things are “kept between the girls”, however, it was pleasing to hear that Joker took the initiative to get the situation straightened out. Minter has a real complicated defense from a mental standpoint and when things go wrong on the field concentration is lost, having younger, inexperienced linebackers adds to the outcome.

  3. Anonymous

    This season’s D is looking as bad as last season’s O. I don’t care if Joker and Minter had a bare knuckle donny brook in the locker room after the game, as long as they get it figured out. I have always thought tiffs between the coaches or with the players should be kept out of the press.

  4. Bill

    I did see a sideline shot or two watching the game and there were definitely a couple of “Kodak moments” by Joker when our defensive line was getting run through like water through a screen door. I’ll admit I jumped up from my chair more than a little upset. “We have to stop this … ah … stuff!” Confrontation? I’m not certain this qualifies as a “confrontation.” I am certain that any and all watching this came to the same conclusion, “We have to stop this!” It occurred again early in the Kent State game. Our defense played much better as the game progressed and we started smothering their offense in the 4th quarter. Minter appeared somewhat “stunned” by what was happening. Reading a confrontation into this might be a bit of a stretch. We have too much talent on the defensive side of the ball for this too occur with the regularity it did against Louisville. I understand the “experience” issue. It seems like some changes were made. All the coaches are on the same page when it comes to winning. The WKU game will tell us if progress is continuing to be made. All the guys are trying but there were a couple of times when one of our front seven was simply outclassed … size, strength, and athleticism. Progress is what I am looking to see occur.

    1. larryvaught

      Believe the confrontation was supposed to have happened away from a game, not at a game

  5. love SEC F-Ball

    I don’t know if there was a confrontation or not but it is part of their jobs to discuss these issues with each other at least weekly if not daily. I thought that the defense would have improved under Minter. Why is this defense so complicated?

    1. Lori Metcalf

      From the women’s clinic, I can answer this! The defense is complicated because in any given scheme each player can go one of 2 or 3 different ways depending on what the offense does. While this is good for disguising the defensive setup, it can be confusing for new/young players who have to learn multiple options for each position for each setup.

      1. love SEC F-Ball

        Thanks! I appreciate your reply. It does make sense.
        We need to overcome this confusion quickly.

      2. larryvaught

        Thanks Lori for bailing us out

  6. Lori Metcalf

    It seems un-newsworthy if a head coach and coordinator have words on the sideline and/or off the field. I can’t imagine any coaching staff where this hasn’t happened if people care about their jobs.

  7. Tana

    Well-said within that last paragraph, in particular, Lori — and I also back you up in your first post. Exactly, we gals, indeed, learned that in our women’s clinics the past two seasons. Coach Minter’s schemes are difficult. These young players were, obviously, confused the first game. I daresay they WILL get much better. GO CATS! BEAT WKU!


    I’m sure Joker felk like Joe B. Hall did when UK played G’town way back when. I’m sure it was pretty frustrating watching your team get treated like a bunch of High School kids playing a DIV I school.

    Didn’t the UK offense finish the BLUE/WHITE scrimmage on a 99 yard drive? Thought so. FLASH BACKS usually aren’t good!!!

    I would have liked to hear that they had an alercation. That means they are both serious about what they do. NOT that a confrontation is the determining factor on whether a person is serious about what they do mind you…

    1. UKFAN197TONE



      I promise I was not drinking alcoholic beverages when I posted the above comment.

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