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Former Cat explains the problem with Kentucky football

It’s safe to say the football team has been through its up’s and down’s over the last handful of years, with some of the greatest moments in history preceding some of the most frustrating moments fans may remember.  We all like to be armchair coaches, thinking we could do a better job sitting on our sofa at home. While that may be true for a play or two, Joker isn’t a joke; believe it or not, he has a plan. He is putting a system in place, and building his program around his guys.

Going against that notion, however, Larry Vaught received some very intriguing feedback from a former player on some of the biggest problems Kentucky football faces in terms of rising in the Southeastern Conference to be a legitimate contender. The former player asked not to be identified, as not to be disloyal to the university.

Hearing this from a fan is one thing, but from a player from the program is something completely different. Some of this may be shocking to the believers, or affirmation to the doubters. But if any of this is true, it may be a lose-lose situation for Joker.

Truth is (coach) Joker (Phillips) is fighting an uphill battle. Coach (Rich) Brooks got lucky with in-state talent in (Andre) Woodson, (Jacob) Tamme, (Corey) Peters and (Keenan) Burton. And some low rated prospects turned out great with (Jeremy) Jarmon and Myron (Pryor) and Trevard (Lindley). Look at Randall Cobb. He was such a blessing for the program, but if Tennessee was on him earlier he probably would have been a Vol.

It is true that Joker’s job recruiting in the SEC isn’t easy. It’s the northern-most school in the conference, and the elite talent down in Florida or Georgia rarely wants to come north to play football. But this former player did hit one thing big. Joker has to land local talent. If you can’t recruit in your own backyard, how can you really recruit outside of it? And Charlie Strong at Louisville has really turned up the heat for recruiting in-state as well, another reason this former player says Joker is fighting an uphill battle. But there’s a catch, he says…

When you look at the talent produced by (Kentucky) most years, it’s not good. Even in a good year it is not like any other SEC state.

This is a common excuse for Kentucky not being able to turn the corner in becoming an elite program in both football and basketball; a program like Ohio State, Florida, or Texas. But look at it this way: if Boise State can recruit out of Idaho and create a winning football team, there’s no excuse for Kentucky to not be able to recruit from its home state and win games as well. Developing homegrown players can result in wins. Call it “luck,” but that is exactly what Rich Brooks did. He created a system that developed talent into something way bigger than they were projected to be.

How do you get those (five-star) kids? Honestly, for the life of me I don’t see how. Even a top kid in state, what would keep him from leaving for better weather down South and more established programs? How do you go into Alabama and recruit top five players? How do you beat Georgia or Auburn for players in their state? It’s almost impossible to get five-star players, even four-star players, to leave and come to UK.

Joker Phillips is a very good recruiter, and he had a lot of help from former assistant Tee Martin. He does have the ability to go outside the state and haul in good SEC players. He has pipelines building all over the south. It’s because of that Joker need to have the benefit of the doubt. Allow the talent to be pumped in, and his system of “SEC speed” to get put into motion. This may be a season of Joker coaching for his job, so inspiration, most importantly, must flourish.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

83 Comments for Former Cat explains the problem with Kentucky football

  1. UKGrad83
    2:08 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    So go north, or east, or west and get talent there. How do schools farther north get talent? Why not go there and get 4 and 5 star kids? It’s not about location, it’s about having a coach with some charisma and some coaching ability. Sheesh.

  2. CatGrad7072
    2:10 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    So, if you can’t recruit against the other SEC schools, you are left to to game plan, motivate and develop players.
    Joker can do none of the above.

  3. Just A Thought
    2:16 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I always thought it would be easier to go north and find players who want to come south and play in the SEC. That would be an easier sell than trying to get good players to leave GA, AL, FL to come north and play at UK. But Charlie Strong is doing it. But that’s another story for another day.

  4. UKnation
    2:20 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    check out Daniel Negreanu and his UK shirt. Love it!!

  5. Head Bussa
    2:21 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    That is stupid for that player to say such things about Brooks and his recruits. Brooks was a great coach at getting good players that other teams didn’t want for whatever reason. Can’t say all those good players he got were just luck.

  6. Ready 5
    2:22 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Benefit of the doubt? The correct coach will recruit. Use your example of Boise. Joker has to recruit or find someone who will. Brooks wasn’t lucky. He took kids who would have sat on the bench for two or three years at Bama and gave them early playing time. Results matter. Nor this bs benefit of the doubt crap.

  7. BBN
    2:22 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Aside from the recruiting impossibilities, Joker was a bad hire without question. He was an awful offensive coordinator and had Kentucky ranked 93rd & 106th in total offense his last two seasons in that position. He had no head coaching experience with lower tier programs. In short, he is way over his head and was guaranteed to fail from the beginning. I suggest creating a new position within the atheletic department title “Athletic Director in Waiting”. The AD in Waiting can look after the basketball and football programs full-time and Mitch Barnhart can spend his time doing what he does best – improving the other athletic programs. I know Mitch’s hands are tied with the funding issues, but the blame for Joker Phillips & Billy Gilispie are 100% his own.

  8. Lightbulbon
    2:23 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    The problem with UK football, is UK football.

  9. yerp
    2:24 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    1.) That makes perfect sense. If you cannot go south, go north and give kids the chance to play in the SEC. You will be able to find enough playmakers to be competitive.

  10. BetterOptionsThereTo
    2:26 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Nope, that won’t work either UKGrad83: Go north and try to pry kids from Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, etc. Go east, and UK is competing against VaTech, PennSt., WVU, etc.. West, and you have Oklahoma, Texas, USC, etc. The fact of the matter is, as noted in the article, Kentucky doesn’t produce much, if any, in-state talent in football, and even if it does those kids would rather go to a program with better facilities, more history, and a greater likelihood of winning. Contrary to your suggestion, it is not just about having a coach with some charisma and / or coaching ability. Don’t agree? Then name one coach that has succeeded at a much greater level at a program like UK’s – i.e. a program with a poor in-state recruiting base and no neighboring state with an abundance of talent and a lack of marquee programs, mediocre facilities, and no history of success.

  11. yerp
    2:26 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    7.) dude we just one a NC with Cal. Our programs are way better off with Mitch here. Football has and will suck no matter what AD we have.

  12. BBN
    2:32 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    11.) dude, Barnhart was practically forced by the boosters and Lee Todd to hire Cal. So, I don’t give him credit for any of Cal’s success. In fact, without the effort from Mike Pratt, Cal would not be at UK. As long as schools like Boise St. can go out and recruit and have big time success, I am not convinced UK football has to stink.

  13. duh
    2:39 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Really? How does uofl recruit? How does Vandy recruit? Damn, I hate all the excuses! If / when we renovate Commonwealth, there will still be excuses. Possibly, just possibly, hiring a fresh young coach and paying them enough that they wouldn’t leave if they actually have success. The ONLY coach in the past 10 coaching hires that had any real passion AND a plan was Hal. Do any kids get excited that Joker is visiting them? Calling them? Offering them? Joker is the biggest part of our football success problem.

  14. jojo
    2:39 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Recruiting is a legit issue. The stat of Tennessee is almost as bad as Kentucky these days, and look at how much that has made UT slip in the last decade.

  15. minton
    2:40 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Give Joker some time. You can’t turn a pile of crap into a diamond over night. It takes baby steps. You can’t compare it to basketball. Cal did it with basketball, but he only had to recruit a handful of great players, not nearly as many as it would take to load up a football team.

  16. Argyle
    2:40 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    14, true, and they had a national reputation to begin with!

  17. Katdaddy
    2:41 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is just the fall guy! This fb program sucked before him and will after him!

  18. BBN
    2:42 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Joker needs to come out and level with the fans and publicly acknowledge that Operation Win has not been a success his first two seasons and that he understands why the fans are disappointed. Then he needs to say that this season the team will get creative on the field and play moneyball and plead for the fans to support him. Then he needs to deliver on his words and actually change things up on the field and play moneyball. If he is going to get fired if things don’t improve, he should go down guns blazin.

  19. UKGrad83
    2:42 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    10) Chris Petersen at Boise State and Urban Meyer at Utah. Idaho and Utah don’t produce any better talent – dare I say less? The difference is those schools were smart and hired better coaches, plain and simple. Those programs were built using LESS talent than UK uses but due to coaching, they succeeded in building competitive programs.

  20. BNClay
    2:47 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    @ #10
    “name one coach that has succeeded at a much greater level at a program like UK’s — i.e. a program with a poor in-state recruiting base and no neighboring state with an abundance of talent and a lack of marquee programs, mediocre facilities, and no history of success.”

    Louisville & WVU. I understand that the big east is nothing near the level of the SEC, but both teams have been to BCS bowls an typically have much better recruiting classses than UK.

    Before Spurier South Carolina was as bad as UK. But now that they have a coach they have a top 10 team. Same story with UT, they have fallen down to UKs level, but guess what, they are gonna fire Dooley make the investment in a coach that is required and in 1-2 years they will be competative, 2-3 year they will be competing for SEC title. UK has got to make the investments required if they want FB sucess.

  21. BNClay
    2:50 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Sorry I thought you said team, if coach, then Rich Rod and Petrino.

  22. Calvin
    2:51 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with the standpoint that our program could be much better than it has been the last 2 years, but what bothers me most is not the lack of 4- and 5-star recruits, but the WAY the team plays. I have watched every second of every game and the biggest takeaway I get is they simply don’t expect to win. If my impression is true, then the talent level becomes a secondary point because if the coaching staff can’t do 2 crucial things (prepare an executable gameplan, and motivate the players), it snowballs into a frail and weak mindset… in the end, as Brooks got some momentum on, the entire mindset must change. At this point, all the momentum he had built up during the last 4-5 years of his tenure is now gone.

    That being said, I don’t think programs like Boise St are such a great comparison – for one reason: if Boise St was in the SEC, would their style be nearly as effective as it is in the Mountain West? I am not convinced we are doomed to have a mediocre program either, but on the other hand I can’t see Kellen Moore being nearly as good facing SEC defensive lines, just for arguments’ sake. And, if memory serves, they sign virtually no blue-chip recruits – they recruit the players based on who will fit in their system best, and then develop them. UK simply doesn’t have this luxury, playing in the SEC and recruiting against the likes of Bama, LSU, Florida, etc etc.

    I am a Barnhart supporter. Its easy for us now to lambaste him for Gillispie while forgetting that the majority of us were really excited about it. It obviously was a bad hire, no question, and I realize it’s the AD’s job to know everything there is to know about the coaches they hire… but at the same time I think it’s clear that BG’s self-destructing tendencies got exponentially worse when he got to Lexington. We hope the AD makes the right hire, but he’s not a fortune-teller.

  23. BBN
    2:51 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    21) Petrino would eat his own children. No way he becomes the UK football coach.

  24. UofL Fan
    2:51 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I know you guys want to compete and go to BCS bowls, but you’re not going to be able to do it without facilities upgrades. I believe Joker is a great coach and will have success, you’ll just have to wait.

  25. BlueBallin'
    2:52 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    ‘But look at it this way: if Boise State can recruit out of Idaho and create a winning football team, there’s no excuse for Kentucky to not be able to recruit from its home state and win games as well.’
    –Need to research the Boise St rosters over the last 8 years or so. You’re gonna find a lot of Cali kids, some Texas kids (aka Kellen Moore), etc…..didn’t become a Top 10 power on the backs of Idaho high-schoolers. Relevant, okay; but not what the power they are now. Peterson at Boise St. is a national recruiter. And we won’t win again without one. So for the 2nd post I’ll say it if no one else will: after we go 4-8 (5-7 at best), get that broken, humiliated, desperate, offensive football genius Bobby Petrino to sign the most morally-restrictive contract in history and lead this team. We hate him; he hates us…just crazy enough a recipe to work. If you can get kids that can legitimately compete for a national title to Louisville & Fayetteville; you can get kids to Lexington to compete from time to time for the SEC East crown. Even if it means putting a PI on the athletic dept budget to watch his sketchy arse, it’d be well worth it. Any real college football fan knows he’s among the Top 10 to 12 program-builders in the country; and no one is better on the offensive side of the ball.

  26. TN Cat
    2:53 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    There’s not a lot of talent in Tennessee either but UT has managed to have some pretty good teams. As far as getting players from the north, good luck. The kids that are any good are going to the Big Ten or to a good SEC school. And have you looked at Commonwealth stadium compared to the big time SEC schools stadiums?

  27. Ryan
    2:55 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks for letting us know what we have known for years. Kentucky high school football sucks. We will never get guys outta the South that all the other SEC school haven’t found a flaw with. Ohio has alot of talent look at what Cincinnati has done lately…

  28. LigginsIsMagic
    2:56 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    If local talent is lacking then it seems that creating some sort of state-wide football league sysstem for kids would be a good idea. I’d guess that KY has one of the worst pee-wee football league systems in the country.

  29. Mark Liptak
    2:56 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink


    Joker is done, it’s just a question of if he’ll get fired in mid season or after it.

    Mark Liptak

  30. BBN
    2:56 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    24) Yeah, just like Tubby Smith was a great coach and should not be pressured to change things up when he became pathetic and how Billy Gilispie should be given more time and how Travis Ford, John Pelphrey and the other Rick Pitino lackies should be hired instead of Calipari in order to benefit Pitino. We are familiar with the BS your selling.

  31. Zack
    3:05 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I was expecting a salacious bombshell when I saw the headline on this “insider’s” story. Instead, all that was said was the obvious. I truly didn’t find a single piece of that information to be anything outside of what we already know: that Joker will never be able to swing with the big boys in the SEC because Kentucky Football is Kentucky Football.

    #28 hit the nail on the head with the youth system. It’s the same thing with American Soccer (yes, I just went there)…we won’t compete for a World Cup title until our youth and feeder systems become world class. American soccer IS headed that way; I do not have enough knowledge of KY youth football to say the same thing. What I do know is Basketball will always be king in KY, just as most of the premier athletes in America will choose football/basketball over soccer. Believers should stop believing and enjoy the once-every-blue-moon top 20 season.

  32. UofL Fan
    3:06 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    #30 Difference between Tubby/Billy G is that both of those coaches had programs that were having money poured into them. Joker does not. What is BS is that you guys actually care about SEC football. You only care about the football program when the rival down the road is starting to get really good. Then you fear a return of the Petrino days.

  33. BetterOptionsThereTo
    3:08 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    A couple of things about Boise: (1) they play in a super weak conference and have largely padded their record with wins over weak conference opponents; (2) they have 2 marquee wins in 10 years – Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and TCU in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl; (3) they are currently on probation for multiple violations in multiple sports, including football; and (4) look at a map and notice that Boise, ID is able to regionally recruit California, which produces a ton of talent and has 1 premier program (USC) and only a couple of other decent programs at any one time (UCLA, CAL, Stanford). Put UK in the WAC and I like its chances. Put UK in the WAC with California close by and you have Boise State.

  34. big tim
    3:10 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    32 uofl a average football team so congrats on having a average football team it pretty bad ky the best team you play and you barley beat us

  35. uklaw95
    3:12 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Facilities, facilities, facilitiesn BULLSH*T! It wasn’t long ago that we had some of the best facilities in the country. Hardly anyone else had a facility like our indoor facility and it didn’t get us squat. Utah and Boise State? Were they playing Alabama, LSU, GA, TN, FL on a regular basis? Of course you can build up a team in the Mountain West/WAC. UK has to bite the bullet and hire a great name coach to get the kids here. Fans will follow and upgrades will be made as needed. Joker didn’t come in from outside the program and he wasn’t handed a turd. Oh and the better weather argument was made when Tubby was here and we now see that was a BS excuse as well.

  36. West Ky. football fan
    3:14 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    When did Joker’s mom start writing for KSR? She’s put out a lot of posts the last couple of weeks, all basically repeating the same tired mantra.
    The bottom line is, Joker is a good position coach and a good recruiter. He’s not a great anything when it comes to football and he doesn’t need to be a head coach at an SEC school.
    I find it laughable that anyone says Joker has a “plan” for UK football. The only plan I can see is riding a gravy train while trying to convince everyone not to expect too much because, after all, UK football is just plain horrible anyway.
    Joker’s a millionaire thanks to UK, yet the fans aren’t supposed to even expect 6 or 7 wins and a bottom-rung bowl? Seriously, that’s what KSR is trying to sell here?
    Sorry, I’m not buying it.
    Get the right coach (and pay for him) and you will magically see better football players start showing up at UK. Until then, we’ll continue to go into seasons wondering if we can win more than 3 or 4 games.

  37. BigBlueJake
    3:24 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    If you can’t go North, South, East or West to recruit and Ky doesn’t produce enough talent then it’s time to get creative. Play an exciting, different brand of football that entices recruits to want to come. Find a system (and they are out there) that will allow you to play with the big boys while hiding some of your personnel weaknesses within that system. If the right coach (maybe Joker, probably not) has the vision and the leadership to try something new and exciting then maybe UK football can finally get over the hill we have been climbing for the last 30 years.

  38. BetterOptionsThereTo
    3:33 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    As for the suggested coaches, Chris Peterson, Urban Meyer, Rich Rod, and Petrino:
    Chris Peterson – good coach, but see arguments for Boise for reasons this cannot be compared;
    Urban Meyer – great coach, similar arguments as for Boise when at Utah for 2 years (a few good wins there, but like Boise padded the record with weak teams), and then moved on and had Florida benefits to help his success
    Rich Rod – I hate to say it, but WVU probably has a better football history than UK; it has always been in an easier conference; and is bordered by more talent than Kentucky is; plus I think the jury is still out on Rich Rod b/c while he had good success at WVU in the weak Big East, he failed miserably at Michigan in the Big 10
    Petrino – his time at UofL is probably the best example, but it is hard to gauge b/c the success came in the weak Big East; and when he went to Arkansas and the SEC he was surrounded by tons of talent to recruit in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, etc.; and he is a complete scum bag.

    I am not saying Joker is going to succeed at UK, but didn’t he supposedly just bring in one of the best recruiting classes in the history of the school?

  39. Ryan
    3:34 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more with #35 lets quit making excuses for Joker… He was a coach in waiting for one of the worst football schools in the country. What does that mean NO ONE ELSE WANTED HIM!! This ain’t Florida St come on lets get real! Until we go out and get a big name and show that we are committed to developing a stable program we will never have a respectable football program NEVER… We keep talking about stadiums and wieght rooms, Let me ask a question are players going to Alabama for wieght room or Nick Saban? Are players coming to Kentucky because of the Coal Lodge or Calipari? Do the math until we commit ourselves to a big time coach we will always be a step behind in football..

  40. Quickdraw
    3:35 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Not sure why we compare ourselves to Boise St. but if you want to do that remember they came to Atl last year and beat UGA by two touchdowns so I think they can compete. Also unclear of why this article was written. If I have heard these same insights once, I a have heard them a thousand times. There is nothing new here. We will hope for a competitive team to cheer for this year but we have been conditioned not to get emotionally invested in UK football.

  41. BetterOptionsThereTo
    3:38 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    And, the notion that the “right” coach is going to come here is crazy. Why would any “great name” or “big time” coach come to UK? For money? Aren’t all the other schools that need a coach willing / able to pay that money (or more) also? Then, why would that coach choose UK with all of the built in problems of average facilities, no recruiting base, no history, etc.?

  42. DerbyDemon
    3:49 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    It seems all we can get from Joker are meaningless “jingles” about the upcoming season. First, it was “Operation Win”–which turned into Operation WHEN. Last year it was “RISE,” which turned into SINK LIKE A STONE. I’m tired of excuses. I’ve been following this program for 47 years and it just seems like nightmare after nightmare. There should never have been any “coach in waiting” named; what the hell kind of incentive would that give anyone? “I’ve already got the job so who cares?” UK was manhandled last year by just about everyone in the SEC. Our players looked lost, confused, and (worst of all) scared. All the fans heard last year before the season was how GREAT our O-Line was going to be, and they were pushed all over the field. And I don’t care what anyone says, the mindset at UK for football is “we CAN’T win.” Until they can hire a coach that can change that then that’s the way it will always be.

  43. Gman
    3:50 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    21, have you been living under a rock? Rich Rod is at Arizona.

  44. lldjr
    3:50 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…Mike Leach took all the left over Texas high school recruits (2,3 stars) and made Texas Tech into a winning program. Watch the 60 minutes video of him and see how UK could be the next Texas Tech if we would hire him. Keep an eye on Washington St. football and see how he will turn them into a winning program this year.

  45. Brow Down
    3:51 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Guys, UK cannot be compared to Boise St. or any other team not in the SEC… Boise State is not playing UK’s schedule week in and week out. Also, for those that are saying to go north and get guys to come in….. How much talent do you believe is north? Not SEC talent… Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State get players in the north and midwest….What would their records be if they had to play UK’s schedule?

    Also, a facilities upgrade would help but, that is still not going to get guys here… What will get guys here is a coaching staff that can get guys to the NFL (not 6th, 7th or undrafted guys) on a regular basis and can win 8+ games per year…. A coaching staff that can comepete with MIZZOU, SC, Mississippi St, etc… for recruits. It is never a good sign when a player signs with UK and had other offers from schools like Akron and Ohio. We need to BEAT OUR COMPETITION for recruits!

  46. Ryan
    3:52 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    #41 it doesn’t matter if you get the right coach… The issue is and always has been being committed to the football program… We need to make a point that we don’t want to just make the Music City Bowl, we need to send the message that we want to compete for BCS Titles. Until we stop crying about facilities and in-state recruiting or recruiting in general and take action the coach will fix all those problems when they come in

  47. BetterOptionsThereTo
    3:54 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    #40, that same UGA team beat a then 4-6 UK team by a whopping 19-10 – in Athens. Which leads me to believe that one of the worst UK teams in the last 5 seasons, according to most UK fans, could have at least competed with Boise State at home in a season when Boise finished 12-1 and ranked 6th in the nation.

  48. JokeGetsFour
    3:57 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I think it’s really quite simple. Joker must have four years minimum at the helm. If you don’t give him that then you’ve hamstrung him as well as run off potential future head coaches.

  49. Ryan
    4:02 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    #48 like we did for Billy G?? Joker doesn’t deserve 4 years… It don’t take long to figure out that he is a idiot…

  50. InTheTrenchs
    4:13 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    No. 12, you need to read more than internet message boards for your news. Dr. Todd told the story of how Cal was hired and it’s a much different story than the one you tell. According to him, he was the road block to hiring Cal, not Mitch. He said Mitch convinced him to talk to Cal and give him a chance. In fact, Dr. Todd says that Cal would not be here had Mitch not convinced him to personally talk to Cal and listen to what he had to say. It’s amazing how these stupid internet rumors continue to be told over and over again.

  51. bigblue4
    4:20 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Exactly who will we get to replace Joker? Also, the Boise argument is such crap. Boise plays two good teams a year and has very little to compete with as far as recruiting their area goes. All of the good players around the school go there. UK has to compete with UL, UC, UT, WVU and IU just in the general area. Not to mention if one of the “big boys” comes calling for local talent. And people who say we should throw big money at a coach need a drug test. Let’s say we pay a guy 3 million a year and he has some success. As soon as the guy wins, another school like UF, FSU, or some other power house will come in and offer him just as much or more money along with a better tradition and a larger recruiting base. I think we give Joker a fair shot and a chance to get rid of this extremely weak senior class (Brooks last class, by the way) and see what he does in the next two seasons. He was loyal to this university when he was a hot commodity and could have bolted for a better OC job and I think we should be loyal to him.

  52. njcat
    4:22 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Can’t believe people are dissing Boise State’s record. They beat anyone that will play them, including UGA in Atlanta. When they DON’T beat one of the better teams, at least they are competitive and fun to watch.

    Think they would have been manhandled by Vandy, UL and Western like UK was last year?

    The program has spiraled straight down under Phillip’s leadership and will not improve until he is replaced. He has had a top 50 recruiting class the last 3 years and still ranks close to the bottom in either offense or defense every year… and its getting worse.

    Mitch totally blew it last year when he didn’t go after Mike Leach. TOTALLY BLEW IT!!! (Just like he blew it when he hired Billy G instead of Cal. Two most important hires – two epic fails.

  53. Dick Gosinia
    4:23 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone that complains about our football facilities hasn’t been to many places in the SEC. We have better facilities than Ole Miss, MS State, Vandy, SC and are on equal footing with others. It doesn’t hold as many fans as some but we don’t need it to. All CWS needs is a good sanding and a new coat of paint and maybe some updated bathrooms. Our concourses are awesome and there is easy access in and out. Sightlines are fabulous! We need some luxury boxes to get more revenue but it is very fan friendly.

    Our area for tailgating is better than any place in the SEC that I have been to and I have been to 7 other schools.

    I laugh when I hear Smell fan’s talk about the pizza box like it is some fantastic stadium. It IS newer but it has always looked cheap to me and their pink chair back seats are way overrated. There is absolutely zero leg room and since seats don’t fold up when someone wants to go in and out it is almost a comedy.

    UK footballs biggest current need is a recruiting room, some paint and some more luxury suites and that is about it.

  54. Blue Christmas
    4:38 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Nothing is going change at UK until after this year when UofL beats us by about 35 points. Then we will have to get our ish together.

  55. really
    4:43 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    52 uga at uga we only got beat by 9 last year just think we had more then one true wr witch we will this year and wku and ul i wouldnt call that a manhandle

  56. Ryan
    4:43 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I would rather take a chance of a coach leaving because he was winning than making excuses why we can’t win 6 games every year. Look at what South Carolina has done. They brought in The Ole Ball Coach, and he aint leaving for Florida or LSU… Maybe we bring in a guy like Fulmer or try and get a former pro coach like Gruden anything would help at this point. As long as we stand still everyone else in the SEC is making 2 steps forward so were taking 2 steps back by not doing anything

  57. NotASnowball'sChance
    5:10 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    #56, Ryan: Did you really just type “or try and get a former pro coach like Gruden” as if that is even remotely possible?

  58. jimtown_tim
    5:17 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    i have heard rumors of joker having personal problems, i wonder if that may be part of the problem.

  59. DustinUK
    5:38 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    The reality is this: A down year for UK is 3-5 wins, an average year is 6-7 and a great year is 8-9 wins.

    A down year probably should happen about 25-30% of the time, an average year 60-65% of the time and a great year 5-10% of the time. Those 10-11 win seasons that totally delusional fans talk about will happen maybe once every 50-75 years.

    Work to be the best you can be but don’t make decisions based on fantasies.

  60. ebell55
    5:54 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    As bad as last year was if Cobb stayed for his Senior yr we would have won 7 games. Turnovers by our best players hurt us Jokers first year. Fans need to give the man time!

  61. .5025 winning percentage
    5:59 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    UK football overall win loss record (with ties) 578-572-44 (85th overall)
    Vandy’s fb overall win loss record (with ties) 565-574-50
    Miss. State overall win loss record (with ties) 507-544-39

    Utah 631-430-31
    Boise State: 378-145-2 (4th best winning percentage overall)
    Alabama 814-320-43 (10th best overall, highest SEC team)

    All of this was taken from Wiki so take it for what it is worth.
    Based on the above we should beat Miss. State more often than Vandy, and both should beat us almost as often as we beat them.
    Alabama also wishes they could win as often as Boise State. – Better to be the biggest fish in the biggest pond than the biggest fish in a small pond. UK could win “like Boise” and “like Utah” if we played in the MAC or another small conference , but I’d prefer to remain in the SEC.

  62. BBN
    6:09 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    #60: Give the man time for what? To completely destroy the program? Seriously, do you understand the meaning of incompetance? Joker is asleep at the wheel. He was downright awful as an Offensive Coordinator. He should never have been hired as the Head Coach without experience and proven success as Head Coach at a school in a lower tier conference. What were Mitch Barnhart and Lee Todd thinking? It is shocking!! If we give Joker more time, the Bill Curry days will feel like a Swedish massage in comparision. We will have 40-50 point blowouts every weekend in another year or two.

  63. East Kentucky Infidel
    6:12 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky Football standards are so low they offend championship players and coaches.
    We as fans are making excuses for Kentucky not winning, Joker needs time, bad facilities, too far North, too poor, too political. There is nothing more addictive than HOPE. That is all UK has to sell in football. No other SEC program is doing less than Kentucky and Mitch wants you believe they are committed to championship football by bringing in Joker Phillips. UK has not had a winning SEC record in 35 years, you think the fans would have caught on by now and demanded more. Till you do football will not get better.

  64. UK FAN
    6:39 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Give it up KSR Joker is terrible and will be fired. Why don’t you try to figure out why Ky can not get out of the gate with Joker and always dig a hole in the first half they can’t get out of. How about his team never prepared to play or maybe players crying about Minter practice when he came to UK because practice became to hard. The guy would make a good assistant and is cool with his players. He is not HC material.

  65. Lol
    7:04 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Look joker is dOne! He can’t recruit and I don’t think he cares anymore I mean he’s banged all the fat skank sports casters with fake blonde hair he needs a new challenge aledgedly

    I love joker

    Keep him
    I love to watch uk loss by twenty thirty points it’s the best part of my day


  66. Rixter
    7:14 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I thought I was going to get some real insight in this story, based on it’s introduction.

    I was wrong.

  67. Rixter
    7:17 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    # 65, spell-check is our friend.

  68. JokerGetsFour
    8:22 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    #49 If we fire Joker after three years then we get to lie in the bed we made. He needs four to install his system, recruit his players and win or lose. Judge him after four years at the helm and keep him or fire him.

  69. njcat
    8:26 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    How many times the past 3 years did you folks pull your hair out watching the play calling, dropped passes and inept tackling of Joker’s teams. Face it folks, his teams are completely outmatched and unprepared.

    Like the dude at WKU said…. ‘they suppose to be SEC?”

    LOL Joker’s useless.

  70. njcat
    8:29 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    69. joker’s been running his offense for 6 years. he has had plenty of time to show us what he’s capable of. his teams are poorly coached and completely unprepared. thats how you get down to WKU in the first half – and virtually every other team on the schedule.

    if they didn’t schedule 4 D2 patsy’s that team last year would have had the same record curry’s teams did. AWFUL,, and getting WORSE BY THE MINUTE!!!!

  71. Ireallywanttomatter
    8:36 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I demand more from the football program. There I said it. For all you fans that believe that will fix things, why didn’t it? Because it is players on the field that change programs and create fans, not the other way around. And, UK ain’t getting the players for all the reasons said in the article.

  72. really
    8:48 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    70 you need to learn to count there were only 2 d2 teams last year not 4 and if you want to count 6 years then you got to count them bowl game and wins in 6 years it dont go both ways

  73. dummy
    10:45 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. how many stories is KSR going to write before an update and interview of current players and coaches. This is so stupid.

  74. UKGrad83
    12:05 am May 24, 2012 Permalink

    @BetterOptionsThere – So you’re telling me you wouldn’t take Boise’s coach or Urban Meyer? Get serious. It doesn’t take a team of 4 and 5 star recruits to be competitive either. That’s what those programs showed early on, they were able to win with lesser talent because they had more talented coaches. Period. Why can Boise recruit in California but Kentucky can’t recruit in the south? There’s an abundance of talent in the south. Boise has to compete against USC, UCLA, Oregon, TCU, Utah, BYU, Stanford, just to name a few, and there’s less talent on the West coast than in the south.

    Kentucky has regressed under Joker and they are not fun to watch. They struggled to beat WKU and Central Michigan last year. They averaged 15.8 points a game while giving up almost 25 a game. Game in and game out, Joker’s teams are NOT PREPARED to compete, let alone win. If you want to know what’s wrong with UK football look no further than the head coach.

  75. MA MA Momma said...
    3:04 am May 24, 2012 Permalink

    Fooseball is the devil!

  76. don
    8:45 am May 24, 2012 Permalink

    This guy did not say anything that we long suffering football fans didnt know already..Why people think this is some big deal is beyond me..Maybe because it was a player saying it,but this stuff is nothing new..

  77. BNClay
    9:05 am May 24, 2012 Permalink

    @ 43 he had a good run at West Virginia was my point.

  78. East Kentucky Infidel
    9:54 am May 24, 2012 Permalink

    #71, it’s not the facilities, it’s not the geography, it’s the lack of commitment.
    Yes, Kentucky is missing the human assets to compete in the SEC. And the lack of leadership starts at the top rung of UK, the board of trustees and filters down to the equipment manager. Three generations of losing is not luck, an institution has to work at it and UK has institutionalized losing.

  79. JokerGetsFour
    10:00 am May 24, 2012 Permalink

    70. There’s a huge difference between being a coordinator and head coach….ask most head coaches who came up through the ranks that way. Yes, it’s been painful during the season but such impulsiveness to remove Joker before four years sets the stage for more head-banging frustration. Judge him after four years. And ask UT if Joker can coach.

  80. MtnCat
    12:18 pm May 24, 2012 Permalink

    JokerGetsFour, Tennessee will mop the floor with Joker this year. I wouldn’t hold that last game up as any evidence that Joker can do much of anything. Louisville will tell us if Joker has any hope left, it won’t take four years. You do know the rest of the conference is not standing still? While Kentucky is spinning the wheel on Joker.
    This program wasn’t broke when Joker took over but it is now. We can’t afford a head coach in training.

  81. JokerGetsFour
    1:58 pm May 24, 2012 Permalink

    MtnCat, I tend to agree with you but I won’t speculate on what UT will or will not do to us this year. I’m looking at what actually happened. Joker doesn’t, in my opinion, get enough credit for a masterful coaching job against the Vol(e)s. FYI, I went to the UT game and sat next to a guy, a nice well-adjusted fellow with his son, who was adamantly against Joker. He was complaining about play-calling, that we weren’t throwing anything down field and when I mentioned that we were winning he immediately gave credit to Sanders!! When things are bad it’s Joker’s fault. When things go right it’s someone else’s credit. Regardless of how I or anyone thinks he is doing he needs four years to put his system in place, recruit his players and win or lose. Judge him on that. At that point he’s had enough time.

  82. MtnCat
    2:45 pm May 24, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky was terrible but Tennessee was worse. Everybody is making excuses for Joker.
    All the comparisons are Kentucky present with Kentucky past. The fair comparison is against our peers in the SEC. That comparison is all you need to know about the state of our program. for comparison.

  83. itsme
    10:47 am May 25, 2012 Permalink

    for #1….good luck going north to Ohio and Michigan and out recruiting Brady Hoke, Urban Meyer, and even Mark Dantonio. UK has no realistic chance with any elite guys in Ohio or Michigan, or even Pennsylvania for that matter….most good VA talent goes to VaTech or disperse to better schools in the country. If they go west they are trying to compete with Big12 territory…the truth is, until UK improves their facilities a-la Oregon, or actually starts winning a large portion of its games, they will never achieve more than 1 or 2 4 star players a class until the money is pourrrreddd into the program or victories become a normal thing. Just because UK is in the SEC does not mean they have some sort of draw that a good team from the Big12, Big10, or ACC don’t have. Having a program rich in history and also rich in current relevancy speaks volumes for recruiting.