Most Recent Posts
- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
- ESPN.com’s Jason King seems to have logical rankings going into next season
- Mark Stoops on John Calipari: “I love being around him”
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands that hiring Vince Marrow was a home run for Kentucky
- Video: Larry hears cowbells, makes a chocolate cow and soaks up the culture in Switzerland
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about recruiting the home state of Kentucky
- What role did Drew Barker’s mother play in his athletic development?
- Calipari will be keynote speaker at Iba Awards June 3 in Tulsa
By LARRY VAUGHT
LOUISVILLE — Kentucky coach Joker Phillips had a passionate plea for UK football fans.
“Get behind this team. You don’t have to get behind me. It’s the wrong thing for a coach to sell himself and what he does. Coaches change (jobs) on their own or don’t win. Coaches retire. You are not about to see me selling me. I am selling you the fans (in recruiting). This a great state, great university. I tell that to players when they come here,” said Phillips during an appearance at the Louisville Quarterback Club.
“Get behind them. Don’t get behind me. When this thing is all over for me, I will be one of you and will be behind this thing. Get behind this team. They deserve that.”
Phillips also tactfully explained to those questioning the coaching staff changes he’s had in his two years why that is not a bad thing and how receivers coach Pat Washington and secondary coach Mike Cassity are valuable additions to his third UK team.
“I learned a lot from (former assistant coach) Bill Glaser (who was in the audience). I learned not to be afraid to speak up when I was working under him at Kentucky,” Phillips said. “I like change. I am not afraid of change. I want staff changes every two years. I am open to new ideas. The same thing year after year is not always good. I want to be open to new ideas and things and tell our coaches that.
“If you have change, I see that as a good. Mike Cassity wanted to be back here. He’s from Kentucky, played at Kentucky. He’s put 35 guys into the NFL. I am glad to have him back coaching the right team in this state (after previously coaching at Louisville). Pat Washington has coached in this league for 13 years and played in this league. He coached and recruited Tee Martin (at Tennessee). When Tee left (for USC), why not go get him.”
Phillips called the Southeastern Conference a “grown man’s league” and noted that is why it was encouraging to view UK’s defensive line as the team’s strength based on the way the returning players performed the second half of last season.
“Mister Cobble is a Myron Pryor, Corey Peters (two former Cats now playing in the NFL). The biggest adjustment for college kids in athletics is being able to go from freshmen to sophomores. Once they get to their sophomore year, you can see things go uphill. He had a problem (academically) getting to be a sophomore. He didn’t care of himself academically. Now he is way ahead academically and I think he will get his degree next year,” Phillips said of his defensive tackle.
“Him and Donte Rumph, who we signed three times … he ought to be good. He is a guy coming into his own, too. Danny (Trevathan) made a lot of tackles last year and people said our defensive line was not very good. But the defensive line did not let guys get on the linebackers and Danny made plays because of the guys up front.
“End Collins Ukwu is a self-made guy. He’s a first generation football player from Nigeria. He has not grown up in the game. The most natural guy at the position is Farrington Hugeunin, a guy we redshirted last year. He has the most natural ability. He is a more natural defensive end. Those guys are why I think the defensive line will be the strength of our team.”