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Jay Pharoah’s Monday News and Views


We are in the middle of political season, which means two things. #1 no matter what the issue, the comment section of KSR will turn into a political nerd fight. The latest example came in an email I received this weekend that said (and I am not making this up), “The elitist attitude of Obama voters like you, Drew Franklin and Joker is what is wrong with UK football.” I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I was glad to read it for its overall craziness. And #2, Saturday Night Live will get some of its best material utilized during the political process. And along those lines, we give a big KSR shout out to the man playing Obama, Jay Pharoah.

I will be honest, it is very easy to curry favor with those of us at KSR. Owing in part to the fact that we are generally despised by all of our local media peers (except the ones we like…and some of them don’t like us either), if someone is nice to us, I tend to root for them big time. National media guys like Dick Vitale, Ian Eagle, Gregg Doyel, Bomani Jones and others have been friends of KSR and thus I cheer for their successes at any opportunity. The same holds true for the very few celebrity types we have gotten to know in the KSR time, including Tucker Max, Josh Hopkins and the Sklar Brothers. Be nice to us, and we root for you. That is why it has been great to see Jay Pharoah get his moment in the sun this year. When he came on our show this summer, Pharoah couldn’t have been nicer, not only doing the interview but being nice to all involved and taking an interest in what we do. We saw him perform live in Louisville and have since then, watched him blow up on a national stage. As we head towards November, you will see his face more and more, not just doing Obama but other characters as well (such as his brilliant Michael Strahan this past week). His impressions and comedic timing make him a natural for tv and he is about to take the leap. And just three short months ago, he was hugging it out with Shannon the Dude. That is fairly cool. If you aren’t familiar with Jay, watch his “50 impressions” video below and check him out on SNL. He is the only cast member who has ever uttered the words, “BTI Sucks.”

We could spend some time talking basketball, but beside the Harrison Twins’ father calling out Adam Zagoria’s flowing hair, there is little news. So we need to focus on UK football…


I don’t need to tell you that the game on Saturday was pitiful. There are a myriad of decisions, plays and moments from the game in the Swamp that suggest the end is nigh for Joker Phillips and the current UK football system. But maybe the best way to look at what happened, and the fallout going forward is to visualize it as a tale of four Quarterbacks.

Max Smith: We start with Max Smith, who surprised everyone by not running out on the field on the first series in Gainesville and commanding the team. Smith had been one of the few bright spots on this year’s squad and he came into the game leading the SEC in passing. After a great three and out stop by the UK defense to begin the game, a feeling of optimism may have existed had Smith taken the reigns in a manner similar to his first three games. Instead, we were told that he had a shoulder injury and would not be able to go. The decision was perplexing, as just on Thursday, Joker Phillips told the media that he had “no worries at all” about Smith’s status for Saturday and he would be good to go. But something occurred to change the gameplan and he was told during warmups that he would not see the field. After the game, Smith tweeted (apparently against the “no Tweets after games” rule that was broken by at least ten players on Sunday) that he wanted to play but the coaches said no. It was an odd thing for Smith to send out, but probably necessary after some bloggers (not here) questioned his toughness for not hitting the field. The real shame is that while Kentucky did lose 38-0, the first half could have been competitive if Smith was in the game. Receivers were open and the defense played well…but Max was not in there to lead the team.

Morgan Newton: The player who was in the game was Senior Morgan Newton, who proceeded to put forth one of the worst Quarterback performances I have ever witnessed. I won’t take the time here to blast Morgan for his game anymore, as I am sure he did the best he could. But it was clear that he can no longer play the position at Kentucky. Why that is the case is somewhat less clear, as Morgan looked worse than at any time during his first three years in Lexington. He missed receivers by large margins and looked absolutely out of sorts from the opening moments. After the game, he said that he had very little practice at the QB position the last three weeks, as he had been working at other positions…which makes one wonder, how in the world could UK have gone into its last two SEC games without a QB ready to play the position? If Newton is correct, it is hard to imagine how the coaches didn’t get ready for the possibility of a Smith injury…especially when it occurred before the first play. By the end of Saturday, I legitimately felt sorry for Morgan Newton, especially when he said afterwards that he feels like he is “not as bad as it has looked like.” I know that feeling in life…when a mixture of bad luck and poor performance makes you look way out of your element. It is an awful feeling, and one that Saturday was very painful to watch.

Jalen Whitlow: But as we watched Newton struggle, the question in nearly every fan’s mind was, “why not put in Jalen Whitlow?” After all, he was the third team QB and with the first down and the second ineffective, Whitlow was the next man up. Yet bizarrely, Joker Phillips waited until the 4th quarter to put Whitlow in, almost conceding the game in the process. The set of downs in the third quarter when Newton came in and simply ran up the middle seemed like a quitter’s mentality that was almost shocking to watch. Afterwards Joker said that Whitlow had very few snaps in practice (another peculiar fact) and that he didn’t know as much of the playbook as Newton. Fair enough. But it was clear that Morgan was playing horrendously and the coaches obviously took all of the passing plays out of the playbook in the second half. So what in the world did UK have to lose? Let’s say Whitlow went out there and was awful…at least it would be a Freshman taking his lumps and learning. Newton was bad and is a Senior…what was left to gain by leaving Whitlow on the bench? When Jalen did play, it was hard to gauge much either way, but after the game hints were made that they will prepare to move him into the backup QB role going forward…even if they weren’t prepared to play him on Saturday.

Patrick Towles: Which brings us to Patrick Towles. Everyone’s favorite Kentucky High School All American is likely to get redshirted, a move that on the surface makes a lot of sense. Towles needs a year to learn the system and the dirty little secret amongst everyone who has watched practice is that at this stage, Whitlow has been better. But Towles’s father today suggested that he might not like that one bit. After getting in touch with media members and letting them know he was unhappy/considering a transfer (the tweets/radio mentions on Sunday morning at around the same time surely came from the same source), he did an interview with the Courier Journal’s Kyle Tucker in which he expressed his displeasure with his son’s playing time. He noted that they would discuss at the end of the year what options Patrick had going forward. In response, all I can say is this. It is NEVER a good idea for parents to go to the media with playing time issues. Name me a time it has ever done anything positive. Meddling parents have ruined the careers of a number of UK athletes and Patrick Towles is too talented to have his father interfere with his time here. Patrick showed maturity in tweeting later in the day that the only place he wanted to be was Kentucky, a helpful sign that should have been originally heeded by his father. If the elder Towles is upset at Joker and the staff, I understand…so are many fans. But leaking transfer rumors and then doing newspaper interviews isn’t the way to handle it. Talk to the coaches, Athletic Director or people around the team…but after that, keep it to yourself. Chances are a change is coming regardless at the end of the season.

So that is where we were left after Saturday…a team disoriented, a coaching staff making baffling decisions and a fanbase as upset as I can ever remember. UK football needs a good four months, but it is hard to imagine it being much lower than it is right now. This Saturday’s performance against South Carolina, which will come on national television in primetime on ESPN2, will probably tell us if Joker’s lost the team and if there is any hope for the rest of the season. Until then, most will still speculate about future coaches (which is understandable) and we will try to learn more about the hope for major football facility renovations in the coming months. The sting of Saturday in Gainesville will be hard to overcome however as the ineptness of much of what we saw (highlighted by the screen pass behind the receiver that became a pick six…maybe the worst pass I have ever seen) stick with us. We go at it on radio tomorrow at 10 am…stay tuned.

And oh, if you didn’t get Madness tickets online, remember this. The ONLINE BBM TICKET SALES NEVER WORK RIGHT! If you keep that in mind, you will give yourself much less frustration on a daily basis. That is all.

Article written by Matt Jones

32 Comments for Jay Pharoah’s Monday News and Views

  1. What
    11:07 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is still coach, really mitch ?

  2. Duuuuuude
    11:09 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    Folks, until the legislature and administration can get their heads together to allow proper funding for championship facilities at UK, we will never be able to attract the quality coach you seem to think we can get. I mean, to suggest we could get Charlie Strong if not for his friendship with Joker is silly. I doubt seriously we could even be a destination for a guy like Taggert or even Pitrino. We are at a point where we are going to have to settle on a coach in the twilight of his career like a Fullmer, not a person at the dawn of a promising career. Until we get the funding, we will always be a coaching grave yard.

  3. wildcat502
    11:15 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    I`m confused. Newton said he hasnt practiced at quarterback due to practicing at other positions. Joker said Whitlow didnt play a lot due to the lack of practice at the position. But Smith was too hurt to play Saturday. Soooooooooo who practiced at the quarterback position all week????? Mr Cobble???

  4. B List is being kind....
    11:18 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    The fact you consider Tucker Max a celebrity is disturbing……..

  5. BlueTexan
    11:18 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    #1- AMEN!!!!!!!!

  6. Success
    11:20 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    Online BBM ticket sales obviously worked for the people who got them, like me. Whatup

  7. wildcat502
    11:23 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    I`m a die hard Kentucky fan, but this coaching team has become comical. They have nothing to say at post game conferences except, hhmm , ohh , ah ah ah .
    The play calling is just as frustrating as last year. We have some really good players as freshmen and sophomores, but if a change isnt done quickly, we could lose some of the better ones. Mitch or someone needs to set down with the players and explain to them who the next coach will be and it has to be done quickly so this recruiting year wont be a loss.

  8. SeaCat
    11:24 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    Matt u and Drew r doing a great job!!!
    Life can be a bed of roses,
    if you ignore the pricks!
    there are 1000 fans for each 1 prick!!!
    i am the Rupp story guy. fyi

  9. Opti
    11:38 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    Joker’s QB decisions Saturday perfectly reflect why he needs to go.

    They are symptomatic of numerous like decisions over the last three years.

    The team and the fans deserve better.

  10. dave
    11:40 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    mark hudspeth
    sonny dykes
    jim tressel
    butch jones
    todd berry
    kliff kingsbury
    bud foster
    tom herman
    bryan harsin
    kirby smart
    josh heupel
    manny diaz

  11. goukats
    11:41 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    Without a doubt,Newton is the worst qb to ever play at UK.His performance against WKU last year was a near disaster,and the bowl game against Pitt was a fiasco.

    #4 made a great observation regarding the latest fiasco with the staff at UK,and this is a great reason for Mitch to pull the plug on this staff.No reason to prolong the inevetable.

  12. kingrex
    11:48 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    #4 and #8 I agree! This experiment needs to end. It is so painful to watch the team ever since Joker took over. The play calling is atrocious and it feels as though we are being played with by a majority of our opponents. It did not occur to me until I read this post how absurd it is that we did not have a backup ready regardless of how Smith was feeling this week! I cannot believe it did not occur to me immediately, but how bizarre is it that we had practice all week supposedly with Smith under center as the #1 but then suddenly surprising even Newton he is told he is the starter during warmups? What?!?!*&^%$? On so many levels this is disturbing. As mentioned above, who was our #2 quarterback all season? Apparently Newton was as shocked and unprepared as we were! There is something wrong there. Who was our #2? There are basically 2 season ending injuries per game, every game at every level of the sport and we let this happen? you need almost an endless supply of bodies to make it through a single season. It is interesting that the one thing Joker seems effective at, is surprising the opponent and media with surprise starting quarterbacks. He did it against Tennessee and now Florida. This may be his one talent.

  13. Ares
    11:51 pm September 23, 2012 Permalink

    Willie Taggart bio is reason enough.

  14. JBR
    12:07 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Joker has always been infatuated with Newton…since he stepped on campus. This was nothing but one last excuse before his firing for Joker to get his boy on the field and hope for something miraculous to happen. Joker reaped what he sewed…time to go, NOW…not after the season.

  15. UKBlue
    12:32 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    I’m so sick of football; if Joker was a man I’d punch him in the face (JT voice) for making me & all of us have to hear & watch this disaster.

    Joker has done more damage then Billy G could have dreamed of doing even with all of his stupidity & that’s saying something.

    Even though Towels dad did something stupid; a father looking at the team his kid is on, with Patrick talent, you’d have to ask yourself WTF, do we need to seriously get off this train wreck especially not knowing what Mitch is going to do. Patrick could be sitting on the bench at Texas, Alabama, USC, or wherever he wanted & he choose UK. This kid should either get his head examined or be considered a saint.

  16. Bart Edwards
    4:24 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    What is the best way to give away a few Midnight Madness tickets if it turns out my out-of-state family can’t use all of those we got at Memorial Saturday morning? Is there a forum for that? I want to make sure they get used if we can’t give them away in the meantime to people near us. (Attendees got four tickets each.)

  17. Student
    6:20 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Rumor on campus is that Noel will miss around 8 games.

  18. IneedTickets
    6:26 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    #16 Just give them to me. I will use them for you.

  19. Beavis
    6:39 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Do you people honestly think Towles needs to play for this train wreck ? Our AD needs to understand,,,the Towles family will make a decision on his future based on what happens to this coaching staff and who the new coach is. In the mean time,,,why risk getting the man hurt when this disaster takes the field ? 2 and 10

  20. barn
    6:41 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    first time i’ve heard of jay pharoah. is he in the ’13 class?

  21. mattjonesisclueless
    7:03 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    “Meddling parents have ruined the careers of a number of UK athletes and Patrick Towles is too talented to have his father interfere with his time here”

    Stupid quote here by MJ….In most cases it might be true, but with the Joke at the helm you are completely wrong

    I’m sure you would remain silent if this were your own kid (eyeroll)

  22. Shendo
    8:26 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Didn’t Couch plan to transfer if Curry stayed? So it has worked in the past.

    Also, CJP says neither backup took snaps while CRS says both took snaps because he could see Max was hurting. Not the first time Joker has come across as clueless to what his coaches are doing in practice and game planning. Clueless in general about the daily operation of the team. I’m wondering what he actually does in practice because he doesn’t seem to be on the same page with his coaches or his team.

    From what I understand his practices are closed so doesn’t that mean that the “dirty little secret” is coming from the same sources that said it was hard to see separation between Max and Morgam?

  23. Kenneth True
    8:54 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    The online ticketmaster sales worked for me, although I’ll be in the upper arena I ain’t complaining.

  24. BlueCat
    9:04 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Now didn’t you guys show they made over 20 million last year on football. So if you take 3-4 million of that and pay a good coach and profits get even higher……Hmmmm!

  25. Earache
    9:05 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Wonder what papa Brooks thinks about this downfall?

  26. YourDaddy
    9:06 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Again I say, Does anyone really expect UK to win a football game? A team without a coach is worst than a boat without a sail. The only direction they can go is down, straight to the bottom. It looks like the CATS have arrived. What a joke…r Coach in waiting my ass.

  27. thewaitfor8
    9:14 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    If the program is in complete disarray, as it appears, why are we even keeping Joker on as HC until the end of the year? If he is so far in over his head that the #1 backup hasn’t been taking snaps for the past 3 weeks, why is he still here? It’s becoming even more clear that the players quit respecting Joker a couple games ago (violating Twitter ban routinely). Everyone knows he is gone. Just finish it already.

  28. wildcat502
    9:24 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    I will be greatly surprised if Joker isnt our coach next year

  29. Jack Nicklaus-Stein
    9:34 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    The scaring thing is…it was a close battle between Newton and Smith for starting QB during pre-season practice. So they decide Newton is #2…so we are not giving our #2 QB enough reps in practice so a disaster like this doesn’t happen? And we are told our offense is highly complicated and there is no way a freshman can learn it. What?! Our offense is as vanilla as it gets. I think Sanders and Joker are so full of themselves, thinking they are offensive wizards.
    They did give up in the 2nd half..keeping Newton in and just running the ball. That is enough to lose the players too…they see it just like us fans do. I am certain the guys on the team were thinking the same thing…”what the hell are we doing?! Why aren’t we trying to get back in this game?!” Heck, even our radio announcers said it…I believe it was Piecoro who was saying they have given up w/ still a few minutes left in the 3rd quarter.


  30. Alabama Allen
    9:49 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Never have seen the father of Smith, Newton or Whitlow go to the media or ever talk with the media. Getting playing time in the SEC isn’t decided by a popularity contest of the media or fans. Anyone that attends scrimmages understands why Whitlow is the #2 quarterback. How many practices does the media attend at UK. None – you aren’t welcome – so how do you evaluate and report on any player – not just the quarterbacks. How many high school games of any current or former UK quarterback has the UK football media attended. How many times did the UK media go to a high school game in Prattville, ALA or Fort Thomas, KY. How many in the media write bs having never viewed a high school film of any of the four Kentucky quarterbacks. UK football isn’t UK basketball. 600 tents set up for days for Midnight madness which sold out in 30 minutes – UK football is losing thousands of fans after every game. Does anybody really care what any quarteback does.

  31. wildcat502
    9:50 am September 24, 2012 Permalink

    The tv guys said Joker had given up as well. They were laughing at the play calling as well

  32. Jim
    12:07 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Patric Towles and Joker’s system. Every year we hear how this qb won the job based on his better understanding of Joker’s system. Is it possible that sometimes a qb’s talent might be a little above the system and the system needs to be altered to better suit the qb? Isn’t that exactly what happened to Joker, Brooks, and Sanders when dealing with R Cobb?

    What is Joker’s system? We know that Joker favors the running game (60/40) with the short passing game. Did Brooks or Joker ever have a big bruising SEC type running back? What about a big physical SEC offensive line?

    Who’s to say that Joker’s system is not failing Towles as Bill Curry’s system did with Tim Couch? Would qbs like Towles fair better under a spread passing offence that extends the field? It seems to me that is UK’s best hope in being at least competitive in the SEC. Is there such a coach out there and is Barnhart capable of finding him?