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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Close Game Wins Make a Coach?

What makes the difference between a good coach and a bad coach?  Is it motivation?  Is it recruiting?  Is it the ability to make in-game adjustments?  It’s probably a little bit of everything wrapped into one.  But, sometimes it’s just luck.  And as we have seen over the years, often times the ball bounces your way in close games, and sometimes it doesn’t.  I am not going to argue that Joker Phillips and Rich Brooks were similar coaches.  Brooks did a lot better than Joker and I don’t think “bad luck” played a serious role in Joker’s struggles at Kentucky.  But look at how the 2 guys did in close games, those decided by 7 points or less, during their time at Kentucky.  And keep this thought in your mind: If Phillips just gets 4 or 5 of those losses to bounce his way, would he still be the coach at Kentucky?  And if Brooks didn’t catch the breaks to get 15 wins by 7 points or less, would he have lasted as long at Kentucky as he did?

I only point this out to highlight how precarious a head coach in college football can have it.  Mark Stoops can do everything right, put the right players on the field, and still lose the majority of games inside 7 points, and he is suddenly out of a job.  Here’s to hoping Stoops has success like Brooks in close games and not Phillips.

2012 (0-2)
Lost to Western Kentucky by 1 (OT), Lost to Georgia by 7

2011 (1-1)
Beat Tennessee by 3
Lost to Louisville by 7

2010 (2-3)
Beat Louisville by 7, Beat South Carolina by 3
Lost to Ole Miss by 7, Lost to Auburn by 3, Lost to Mississippi State by 7

2009 (3-3)
Beat Louisville by 4, Beat Auburn by 7, Beat Georgia by 7
Lost to South Carolina by 2, Lost to Mississippi State by 7, Lost to Tennessee by 6 (OT)

2008 (3-4)
Beat MTSU by 6, Beat Arkansas by 1, Beat Mississippi State by 1
Lost to Alabama by 3, Lost to South Carolina by 7, Lost to Georgia by 4, Lost to Vanderbilt by 7

2007 (3-1)
Beat Louisville by 6, Beat LSU by 6, Beat Vanderbilt by 7
Lost to Tennessee by 2

2006 (3-2)
Beat Mississippi State by 3, Beat Georgia by 4, Beat La-Monroe by 2
Lost to South Carolina by 7, Lost to Tennessee by 5

2005 (2-2)
Beat Mississippi State by 6, Beat Vandy by 5
Lost to Louisville by 7, Lost to Ole Miss by 6

2004 (1-2)
Beat Vanderbilt by 1
Lost to South Carolina by 5, Lost to Tennessee by 6

2003 (0-2)
Lost to Florida by 3, Lost to South Carolina by 6

Article written by Bryan the Intern

26 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Close Game Wins Make a Coach?

  1. rabble rabble rabble
    9:11 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    that auburn loss is the ONLY one i will say joker had “bad luck.” the rest are on him. 2010 Ole Miss he put a guy WITH A BROKEN HAND on the hands team to get an onside kick. WTF?! 2011 louisville, he gave that game away. 2012 WKU was an amazing coaching job, especially making sure the defense was ready (sarcasm).

  2. KSRgraduateschool
    9:19 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Brooks wasn’t exactly stellar at 15-16. I think the take away hear isn’t the record it’s that Brook’s (good) teams were IN significantly more games than Joker’s. Besides 2010 (which should have been a 9 win season with the parts they had on offense) Joker’s team weren’t even in close games.

  3. James Young
    9:26 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Jerry Meyer doesn’t think I will be eligible.

  4. Cats
    9:27 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    The year before Joker was HC he made one of the worst offensive play calls in the history of UK football… Late in the 4th quarter against Tennessee we had the ball deep in Tennesse territory on a 3rd and short play. Randall Cobb was our all everything and we hadn’t beaten TN in 26 years. We wanted to win that game SOOOOO BAD. So what was Joker’s play call? A QB rollout run with Morgan Newton NOT RANDALL COBB. HOW DO YOU NOT PUT THE BALL IN COBBS HANDS AT THAT MOMENT!!!! I am so mad even typing this!!! Don’t get me wrong, I think Newton could have been better if it was for injuries and other factors but at that MOMENT YOU HAVE TO PUT IT IN COBB’S HANDS… Joker was doomed as HC from there. Could never get the fans back behind him after that

  5. rabble rabble rabble
    9:34 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    4 – then he punts on 4th and 2 from the tenn 40 with 8min to go down 10. he lost the rest of us then.

  6. Honky Kong
    9:36 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas….

  7. BBN
    9:42 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    The difference is clear when you compare each coach’s first three years. Jokers steadily declined while Brooks’ steadily improved. Joker went from being in 5 close games and winning 2, to being in 2 close games and losing them both. I might add that both of the close games last year are games that should not have been close in the first place.

  8. BBN
    9:44 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    However, this stat is just a piece to the puzzle of why Joker was so much worse that Brooks. His in-game play calling was terrible (which was clear before he was head coach), his recruiting was piss poor, and he lacked a motivational fire that I am hoping Stoops and Co. will bring to our program.

  9. Tim
    9:59 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Its called coaching There intern. A loss is a loss. Learn sports before you post. And joker had a lot to do with the play calling loss to tenn during brooks era. Instead of giving it to our best player, cobb, on the three yard line He does a qb sneak for three plays. I was sitting right in front of there. After that I quit going to uk games when joker got hired. Stoops knows what he is doing and you have no grip on reality of football. It’s not basketball where there’s 5 players on the court. First off, joker sucked at oc before he was even hc. He lucky to even have a job. Look at stoops record of dc at Florida state. Yes this year won’t be pretty. But your an idiot Bryan and Matt should never let you post again. We went from a horrible year to having a top ten recruiting class in football. iN FOOTBALL. Where that is basically the hardest recruiting sport. You have no clue about sports more this history of the program with this post

  10. Reply
    10:01 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    #8 Joker did lack motivational fire, recruiting was bleh. But I always laugh when I see comments like yours that say “brooks was better, jokers play calling sucked” . Joker called the plays for Brooks when Brooks had his most success at UK (later years, and yes we r talking “relative success” compared to past UK years), but Sanders was calling plays for Joker, so put part of the blame on Sanders and the other part on Joker for letting Sanders call them. My cousin is a UT Vol fan and said they were so glad to get rid of Sanders, and couldn’t believe he was able to stay at UK so long.

  11. Tim
    10:02 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Not to mention joker was already with the program and should have already had a steady flow of recruits coming in. Dumasses like you should never talk about sports

  12. Reply
    10:07 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    #9 right about the UT game. But Joker was not ALL bad as OC. “In his first full season as offensive coordinator, Kentucky finished with a 8—5 record and defeated Clemson in the 2006 Music City Bowl. In 2007, Kentucky finished the season with another 8—5 record, defeating Florida State in the 2007 Music City Bowl. Winning the Music City Bowl for the second year in a row was the first time the Wildcats had won two consecutive bowls in over 50 years. The Wildcats finished in the top 15 nationally in points scored per game and averaged 460 yards of offense. In 2008 the Wildcats finished 7—6 with a victory over East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl”. (From Wiki).

    I am not defending Joker. He failed as head coach. But when he had some skill players like Woodson, Burton, Tamme etc. he was OC of a top 15 offense.

  13. Tim
    10:10 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    8. Sanders was not not calling the plays? What do you exactly think a offensive hc does? If he don’t call the plays as a offensive head coach ten what does he do? Defend joker all you want but bottom line is if he wasn’t fired we would again be a laughing stalk of not just the sec, but division 1 a in general

  14. Tim
    10:15 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    12. I agree with you there, but they declined over the years as him being there. He had skilled players and couldn’t develope them. And as Kentucky, a sec school, should never drop that low to loosing to wku and have a recurring class go that low. Rich brooks was the head coach and if you wanna give credit to joker then I understand that but that just crazy to even compare the two

  15. Cats
    10:15 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Forget about him being a HC.. I will never forgive Joker purely because of that one play call against Tennessee. PUT THE BALL IN COBB’S HANDS!!!!

  16. Tim
    10:20 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Look at the 4 star qbs joker brought in. One transferred and the other was a backup. I mean come on dude. He wasn’t even recruiting barker and barker quoted this. Barker would not even be at uk if joker was te coach, not to mention in my opinion is the best thing to happen to this program in the last 6 or 7 years. He recruits more than half of our own coaches. Joker was a bust and should even be compared to brooks nor stoops and this post is a joke

  17. Tim
    10:23 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Not I’m sorry

  18. Andrew
    10:36 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    To the idiots who are backing up joker. Leave. Now. He couldn’t motivate a baby to shit his pants. He couldn’t coach worth a damn and he couldn’t recruit worth a damn either. Rich brooks was a great motivator and was able to get the absolute most out of so so recruits we would get at the time. I cannot believe you would back up a coach who drove what brooks did into the ground. Who cares if he would’ve stayed for decades he sucked!! Please if you like losing to vandy by 40 just allow someone to beat sense into you. Mark stoops is the second greatest hire ever behind the bear.
    This program is going to have an absolute huge turnaround because of a coach who has proven he can recruit and develop players!

  19. Tim
    10:47 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    18. Fully agree. After the curry days then mummy. Air rair is back. This is a new start

  20. Tim
    10:53 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    18. It feels so good to have a coach and players that really care!!!!! The program has been drivin down for to long and were back. Might take one or two year but best hire by any school in a long time. Think about it. Top ten recruiting class after a terrible season. At first I wanted petrino but this is better

  21. Reply
    10:53 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    #18 Reading comprehension can be your friend. #1, I think I am the only one in this thread that posted anything remotely positive about Joker. But it was NOT backing him up. If you could read, you would see that I clearly agree he was not a good head coach and needed to be let go.

    I was just pointing out that people label Brooks as successful and Joker as totally not successful. I am just saying that if you want to give credit to Brooks for his last few years, then you have to give Joker at least a LITTLE credit for being the offensive coordinator in the Woodson years and having a TOP 15 nationally ranked offense! And if you can follow that, then you also have to criticize the poor job Sanders did. The biggest problem I had with Joker is that he seemed to reward old friends with jobs. Sanders sucked, Rick Minter sucked, etc. We see now what a young energetic staff can do on the recruiting trail and Joker’s staff the last 2-3 years apparently didn’t want to, or could not relate to the recruits.

    To summarize so maybe you get it, yes Joker had to go, yes he failed to recruit, yes he was not motivating, he lost games, etc. Yes, poor play calling in the UT loss years ago. But geez if you build up Brooks as halfway successful (he wasn’t that much really), then part of that credit goes to what Joker did those 3 years or so with the Burton, Tamme, Woodson offense.

    Drove what Brooks did in the ground? LOL, like going 16-39 in the SEC and never having a winning SEC record? Like finishing 5th, 5th, 6th, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 4th in the SEC EAst in his tenure? Overall record of 39-47? You gonna be happy with Stoops with that record?

    I liked Brooks, but don’t act like he had UK in SEC Champ games and BCS bowl games before Joker took over. That is just a joke.

  22. Tim
    11:07 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    21. We beat the number 1 school in the country. And is wasn’t because of the joke. Go watch the tape. We had tamme, Woodson,… It was
    Not joker

  23. Tim
    11:09 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    21. And what was jokers record in sec? Don’t even compare joker to brooks. We were going to bowls. How can you even sit there and defend that crap

  24. Joe
    11:13 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    One thing you can’t overlook is that at Kentucky, the first step is getting into close games. In Brooks’s last two years, UK played seven and eight games respectively that ended up as one score games (I count 8 as one score, because it is, with the 2 points conversion). In Joker’s three years, UK played five of those games, two of those games, and two of those games. Simply put, UK isn’t blowing people out in the SEC. If UK plays a year where there are only two one score games, odds are really good that they got their teeth kicked in 7-8 times. If they play a season with eight games that are one score games, then factor in a couple of cupcake blowouts and a fairly bad loss or two and those games in the middle define your season.

  25. Tim
    11:14 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t know what your point is but it don’take sense. Go back to when you think joker had his glory days and we lose to tenn because of bad play calling by joker. If we would have won that then think of the bowl

  26. Tim
    11:20 am July 26, 2013 Permalink

    a coach is a coach 24.If you think we would be in a better spot right now with joker then be a Florida fan. It’s our time now. Jokers gone for a good reason. Stoops is a great hire. It’s time for Kentucky football to shine!!!!!!