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Joker deserves more time to develop a winner

Last week our own Matt Jones sat down with UK’s athletic director Mitch Barnhart to discuss a myriad of issues facing Kentucky’s football program. The topics included stadium renovation, the negativity surrounding the team, and the big elephant in the room, the job status of football coach Joker Phillips. Many Kentucky fans have long wanted Phillips out as head coach because they feel as an SEC program the Wildcats should be more competitive. They also believe that there has to be a better head coaching option than Phillips and, if contacted, would be happy to be the head coach of a SEC school. Honestly, I can’t fault the fan that thinks like this. Football is currently at the forefront of American sports and every fan wants to be associated with a winning program. Heading into this season Phillips will experience the most pressure from the Kentucky faithful that he has seen in his short career as head coach. It’s a weird situation for Barnhart, because on one hand Phillips’ team could be more competitive than last year but the standings might not necessarily reflect it. He would then face the tough challenge of staying with Phillips or conceding to a rabid fan base calling that has been calling for Phillips’ head. Looking at the Wildcats schedule for the 2012 season, this scenario is not completely farfetched. Phillips’ team might be more complete and still only manage a similar five wins. So what would be Barnhart’s next move? I think that despite the record this season that Coach Joker Phillips deserves more time to develop Kentucky’s program and here’s why:

Changing the culture of a program takes time. Fans talk about the Rich Brooks’ era as if Coach Phillips was replacing Nick Saban. Yes, Brooks took Kentucky to four straight bowl games but we are quick to forget that there was three straight years of atrocious, sub-.500 seasons to begin his tenure. Coach Phillips should at least be given that much time to provide a winner. Phillips always talks about getting UK Football to a point where it’s competing for major BCS bowls, and even a national title, one day. I’m not quite sure he ever reaches that level, but I do think that he can get this program to great heights. Continuity and time are key factors in producing a winner in the game of football.  Coach Phillips has a great staff in place with a great plan, but needs time to recruit the right players to be able to compete in this league.

SEC dominance. Speaking of the SEC, it has been the premiere league in college football for a while now. The champion of the BCS title game has been from the Southeastern conference every year since 2006. Unluckily for Phillips he might have run into the peak of the dominance while trying to establish himself and his program. Along with winning every championship, this league has produced the most NFL players in that span as well. There were two SEC Championships games this past year for God’s sake, and one was the National Championship.

Beating Tennessee. With halting the 26 game losing streak to the Vols, Phillips removed one of the darkest clouds over Kentucky football in its history. That should count for something right? Most fans were overjoyed with the fact that the Cats were able to take down Rocky Top but still managed to give Phillips no credit. The new generation of Kentucky fans have been waiting their entire lives for this to happen, and yet continue to call for Joker’s resignation. Is that fair?

As a fan base there should be a lot more support for a guy who is a former player and alumni. I respect Mitch Barnhart for the firm backing and retaining of Coach Phillips. His livelihood is based on hiring successful coaches in Kentucky’s athletic department and his support of Phillips shows that he is fully confident in him getting the job done. Coach Phillips has said all of the right things in his tenure and continues to make progress toward making the Wildcats nationally competitive. He seems to be recruiting a little better out of the state than Brooks did at this point, and as was said in the interview, that’s where the talent is. I’m fairly confident he will deliver a winning program if it he is given the time to do so. I’m curious to see how this plays out. Is the roar from the fans and media too loud for Barnhart to ignore, or does Phillips and his Wildcats surprise the world and deliver seven or eight wins? We shall see.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

106 Comments for Joker deserves more time to develop a winner

  1. Commonwealth Stadium
    6:04 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink


  2. BigBlue
    6:07 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker can’t coach…I don’t think more time is going to change that

  3. terry clagett
    6:11 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker was bad choice when named “Head Coach In Waiting”, which still astonishes me – we named a head coach in waiting when exactly ZERO other teams were interested in him – and he is a bad coach now. UT game goes out the window. Aside from the victory that was possibly the worst football game I’ve ever witnessed in 37 years. He is terrible! My season ticket form remained unsigned – first time in 12 years. Not watching that crap

  4. RonnieO4
    6:12 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I think that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are real people too Mr. Franklin. If you believe that Joker gets 8 wins this season, you are either high on Crack, or mentally challenged. Joker is a “great” guy, a “UK” guy, and all around nice person. But our program cannot and will not improve until we get a guy that can recruit 5 star players. We have had our share of Billy Gillespies and Hal Mumme’s.

  5. terry clagett
    6:13 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Sugar coat it any way you want to – He is not a SEC caliber head coach. You know it, I know it, hell…Joker knows it!

  6. Slick Willie
    6:14 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    So let me get this straight, Rich Brooks takes over a program strapped with probation and you want to compare his first 3 years with Jokers first 2 years?

  7. Harmon
    6:15 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I think Joker has shown what he can do.

  8. RonnieO4
    6:15 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    And BTW, I still purchase my football tickets every year which only ensures that Mitch Barnhart has more time before replacing the Head Coach. It’s a no-win situation for fans.

  9. Reality
    6:16 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Brooks is the one who did most of the changing of the culture of UK football. Joker was given the job so there would be consistency and instead we have experienced a drop off. His time should have been up last year and beating a very mediocre Tennessee team doesn’t merit a whole lot of credit. Tennessee has a coach who is one of the few ranked lower than Joker. Joker fired coaches who could actually coach and make 2-3 star players better and opted to hire recruiters instead and they are failing at recruiting. Time to go.

  10. kywildcat
    6:19 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Sorry the joker ship is already taking on water, will sink very soon.

  11. Leachmeister
    6:20 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve got dollars to doughnuts that says Joker is gone at the end of the year.
    We’ll be lucky to win 3 games. He’ll be gone. Nice guy, but this is the wrong job for him.

  12. IsaacShelby
    6:20 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    “Fans talk about the Rich Brooks era as if Coach Phillips was replacing Nick Saban.” WTF? Really? Wow Rashawn. You are the biggest fanboy in KSR history. Congratulations.

  13. RockyMtnCat
    6:21 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I like Joker, and if he’s 5-7 this year, would keep him for another year, probably. But your comparison of his first three years to Brooks’ start is WAY off base. 1) Joker was “Coach in Waiting” so he helped build what he started with, unlike Brooks; 2) Brooks started with MUCH less than Joker. Brooks inherited a loser (because the lingering effects of probation) and made it a winner. Joker started with a winner and it is sliding back a little each year. Here’s hoping this year is better.

  14. BOL
    6:21 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    UK was a winning football team when he took over. They were respectable. Now they completely suck. Next season is going to suck.

  15. thenamerobdigity
    6:22 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    The thing I like about Joker is that if he does become successful (and that is a big if), he will stay because he is a Wildcat. I dont want UK to be a stepping stone to programs like Bama, Florida, Ohio State, or Texas. I think he likes UK. I think he has 2 more years to right this ship or he is gone.

  16. Mark Liptak
    6:26 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker should have been fired a long time ago.

    We’ll see how much more time he gets when UK is playing before 25,000 fans in November.

    Mark Liptak

  17. The Joke is on Joker
    6:28 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Giving a coach 4 years to develop a program is dumb. Why? Because Players come and go in 4 years. Joker has been at UK for a long time and its not like he just came here brand new fresh on the field. He knows the players and coaches around him. He should have a good team after 2 years of being the head coach. The main problem is executing plays. Take more chances on the field and do things unexpected.

    If we are supposed to have a bad season, why not take more chances during our games to spin the heads of our opponents? We would be in the news more for something spectacular than a terrible performance.

    If we run the ball 3 downs in a row consecutively, other teams dont need safeties. How many times last season was it 2nd 15 and we have a QB sneak called…with a run up the middle on 3rd? …seriously

  18. Jim
    6:28 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Why post this crap? You know the entire audience is going to comment negatively. R. Franklin should be banned from posting.

  19. JayCee
    6:29 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    What a completely moronic take, Rashawn. And I’m being nice.

    Wow. Could you possibly have your nose any farther up Joker’s starfish?

  20. Ready 5
    6:31 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Someone explain to me how this year’s team could be more “complete “. What does that even mean? It is about wins and losses. Nothing else. More complete? Well, win games then. Wtf?

  21. Collie
    6:32 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Wrong! This isn’t even worth reading. I hate to feel this way but I hope we lose every game and if I wouldn’t have to give up my parking pass I wouldn’t have even renewed my tickets. Bs about him having more time. He was the head recruiter for Brooks, and offensive coordinator. What culture change? Apparently he couldn’t carry Brooks jock strap or he shouldn’t have missed a beat.

  22. NL
    6:33 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not sticking up for Joker, but everyone who wants him fired knows that UK is not going to go out and get anyone any better. The pay is lousy, in state recruiting sucks, and no one wants to come to the SEC to get pummeled week after week by powerhouse teams. Both opinions on whether Joker should stay or go ultimately do not matter because the university doesn’t care enough to do what it needs to do so that we can build a quality program.

  23. Tired of Excuses
    6:34 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    He took a stable program and turned it into dog $hit. If you can’t at least maintain the program then you need to be fired. It’s that simple. Oh and we only have 1 commit while the rest of the SEC is either already wrapped up or wrapping up the recruiting year. But Joker is just getting started. That means we’ll be fighting like hungry dogs over 2 and 3 star scraps that are choosing between UK and Middle Tennessee St. Posts like Rashawn’s are what happen when expectations are low.

  24. JayCee
    6:35 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    #9 hit the nail on the head. HCIW was an effort to create a smooth transition of power… then Joker promptly replaced 3/4 of the staff that made 4 straight bowls at UK no sooner than he was handed the reins. And we’re supposed to give that guy an extension?

    In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary, “Come Again?”

  25. big tim
    6:39 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    20 cause last year we had 3 starting olinemen get hurt before then first game the olineman were banged up most of the season then you have collins, clemon and sanders hurt and thats most of our starting offense and had a freshman qb

  26. Bigcatinva
    6:39 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    1,2,3,4 really? What are you thinking?

    There is absolutely nobody in the coaching profession that has given more or cares more about UK Football than Joker Phillips. Any “big Name hire”, any new hot shot hire would be here a season or two and then we’d be in the hunt once again.
    More importantly, what coach in his right mind would walk into a program where it’s fans eat their own like UK fans? Nick Saben is not walking through that door.

    I can promise you if Joker gets to 8 wins a season in the future….he’s still going no where. He is at his dream job.
    You cant say that with any up and comer. Do you really believe Frsnklin will be at Vandy in 5 years?

    Point two, as stated in the article he has one of the best staffs UK if not the best UK has ever had. They can recruit as seen in the last few classes and can coach as seen in the UK victory. The article also forgot to mention that Joker also broke the South Carolina/Spurrier streak and played Auburn to a last minute field goal.

    Point 3 The past few years we’ve not had the QB to run our system. That will soon change with Towles. I also believe Max Smith will wow some folks this year.

    Point 4 Joker has shown he will make the changes needed on defense by hiring Minter. You cant discount the last three games the defense played holding teams to approx 20ppg. There were a LOAD of freshmen playing those games who will be stepping in to key roles this season.

    This is not basketball. You can’t recruit a great class and expect every kid to be SEC ready right out of highschool. Our last two classes should start paying off some this year and really pay of in 2013. That’s why the hire of Rock Oliver was such a big deal. SEC Football is a man’s game……BIG, FAST, MEN. Joker has shown he can bring these guys in by doing so the last couple of classes.

    My biggest worry is the fanbases “microwave” view of instant success. The pressure and overall negativity created by such fans who want instant success can hurt recruiting. I think it already has to some degree. Some of the very same FAAAAAR Brooks crowd has resurected to jump on this band wagon and then try to compare Brook’s success as a reason to fire Joker. Mitch stuck with Brooks and what happened? He should give Joker this season and next. Now, if we come out and win 4 games and don’t look competitive I think Mitch’s hand is forced. This season or next. I really don’t dee that happening. The talent is starting to get there, the coaching IS there as seen in the last three games. I also think Joker has learned a lesson about developing QB’s. The #2 better be ready to play.

  27. Smyrna_Cat
    6:40 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    No. Joker has been here a long time. He was building off what Brooks had done. He wasn’t starting over. He was continuing … or at least he should have been.

    He is this year. Lets see what happens.

  28. capt. price
    6:40 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    19) Hey, I call it a starfish too!!!

    Operation Boycott still in full effect at my house. No ticket purchases, and no UK football on tv until the administration starts taking it seriously. 17’s comment about the long qb sneak followed by a run up the middle sums up last year’s offense. I saw that happen way too many times. It wreaked of “we don’t know what the hell we are doing.” Pathetic!

  29. UK FAN
    6:44 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker was brought in to keep the program moving forward. He wasn’t a coach taking over a losing team on the downswing. The team has got worse every year since Joker took over as HC. It will get worse once again this year. He needs to go

    6:46 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    UK FOOTBALL FANS ARE LIVING IN FANTASY LAND !! Joker is a good guy and a solid recruiter. I am dumb founded when I sit around listening to people talk about how JOKER is a bust… Really !! A bust !! Reality check moment … UK has never been anything but average in Football since the Bryant years. Remember .. This is the SEC>> LSU, Alabama,Auburn,Georgia,Florida,etc..etc… Joker is building his base of players, and unlike basketball, recruiting classes need time to mature and develop.. You say Rich Brooks era was better?? One play knocking out Woodson and we would have never seen two of those bowls.. So lets be realistic. Joker will get us to that 8-3 season if the fans get off his back and show the same passion for basketball as football… Remember recruits do show up to the games and see the attendance and hear the boos… WE ARE NOT Alabama boys… so stop dreaming… This guy needs 2 more years to develop depth and get QB maturity… And to all those fans that think UK can do better are smoking the funny grass….Who would we hire to replace JOKER that would be better??? Fresno St. coach that has no SEC recruiting experience?? Listen.. we were one win away from going to a second straight bowl last year…. Remember Curry??? Remember Mummy the Dummy?? Charlie Bradshaw??? The is a long list of failed UK football coaches… So stop pretending that Bill Parcels is going to walk through that door and realize UK is never going to be a powerhouse in the SEC … Not unless the change the borders of our state and we absorb Georgia and Tennessee.. Short of that.. 7-4 is a solid season and JOker will have that in two years…

  31. ColoradoCat
    6:46 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Last year was the most successful football season we have had in the last 26 years! I don’t see why the fan base is so low.

  32. martinsm30
    6:47 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I wonder what the excuse for losing so many games will be this year…injuries, bridge year(the Pitino special), Tough schedule, etc?

  33. Big J
    6:48 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Many people knew that joker was not ready for an SEC head coach position. It’s unfortunate that Mitch did not know and place him in this position to fail. I feel really bad for joker. He loves the school and we all like him personally but we can not wait another year for a change. And yes UK can find better.

  34. C A T S
    6:50 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is just like Tubby. He don’t want to be here so can him. All he want is $ and to not do nothing. I knew as soon as I saw him that I didn’t want him leading us. You can read into that however you like. Why not get someone like Fat Phil or Tom Leach to lead us? Hell even Petrino.

  35. JayCee
    6:51 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    29- they don’t have to hit a homerun, they just have to hire a guy that actually has some head coaching experience, some common sense and an actual set of testicles and they’d be doing better.

  36. UKBlue
    6:53 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker should have never been hired as head coach in the first place more or less keep him !! I totally understand loyalty to Joker because he played at UK, but not at the expense of him being a horrible coach. Joker can’t but asses in seats & as long as that is the case, Joker has to go bye bye.

  37. R-frank-loves-meth
    6:54 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I am black so I must support the joke,,, change the culture. ,,,what the hell… We was rolling when he took over,,,he. Couldn’t coach eku to 8 wins. U lost all credibility with this article

  38. UK Homer
    6:54 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Is a 6 win season really that much better than a 5 win season? Is a team with 5 really that much worse?

  39. Crazy
    6:56 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t understand the love fest for Joker. Franklin must have not watched a UK game the last 2 year’s. The team hardly ever comes out and plays a good first half of football. That shows me he can’t get his team prepared to play. His first bowl he had a ton of time to prepare and got creamed by a team with no Headcoach. I gave up my tickets after 1 year of Joker. Any true football fan who watches other teams besides UK could see the ship sinking after the bowl game. The guy just isn’t HC material and can’t coach with the big boys.

  40. NegativeNymph
    6:57 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    75% of these statements are completely idiotic. Is there a reason to be negative? Sure, but Joker was one game below 500% and people act like they won 2 games. The last 3 games they held Ole miss, Georgia, and Tennessee all under 20 points and won 2 of the last 3. You have a new defensive coordinator installing a complicated new defense and expect there not to be a learning period. When GA installed the 3-4 there was a huge learning period, but once they got the defense down they went from OK to good with the same exact players they had. I would love to know what Georgia was ranked defensively nationally in 2010 and how much it went up in 2011. There are a few things to be positive about like the D, Maxwell Smith being better, and there being more play makers on offense. I hope the spread on the UL Game is more than 8 or 9 (and I assume it will be) cause I’m going to get some of that easy money.

  41. 3 fan
    7:02 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Hell. No. Joker is football version of Tubby. Take over a program at its best and run it downhill. I wouldn’t take tickets to a game last year when offered for free and I won’t this year

  42. JayCee
    7:04 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    37- that depends.

    Do you like your favorite fb program to be broke or flush with cash? B/c that single bowl win means an extra several million dollars added to the SEC pot. A pot UK shares. And you can’t win bowls if you are satisfied with 5 wins, b/c the bowl folks aren’t impressed with 5 wins.

  43. UK FAN
    7:05 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Mark it down Joker will be LUCKY to win 5 games this year.

  44. big poppa
    7:07 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I honestly don’t think he will make through the whole season without being fired.

  45. NegativeNymph
    7:08 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I absolutely hate defending some of the crap that did go on (like the qb sneaks, the draw plays, and most of all acting like Morgan Newton was half way good), because there isn’t a sane and logical explanation. They didn’t have the play makers or the QB, and Joker prob didn’t deserve to be the head coach. At the same time it’s not going to change this year so I’m still going to support and watch the boys give it hell. I see reasons for them to be better than they were ,IF NOT , get a new coach ITS TIME. Until then Nut up or Shut up and see what happens.

  46. JayCee
    7:08 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    39- Vandy 38 UK 8

    Now tell me more about how UK defeated what is described as “the 3rd worst UT team in UT football history.” (That’s in 120 years of UT football, btw)

  47. Briar Gates
    7:12 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    No he doesn’t.

  48. Rich Madky
    7:15 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Honestly, this is one of the most ridiculous articles in awhile. This guy is lost (both Joker and the author). He’s done. The fans have quit. All of the efforts to bring them back while going 4-8 are a waste of effort. He’s finished. Let’s move on.

  49. dave
    7:16 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    39-the defense is losing guy & trevathan. the offense doesn’t know who’ll be QB yet (for 3rd year in a row). the O-line will be mostly all new. the WRs were terrible last year so doubtful they will be great.
    joker had 2 of the easiest sked’s in UK f-ball in past 10-12 years to start his career, yet losing record both years.
    is this being negative or simply stating facts?

  50. Patrick
    7:21 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    At this point I don’t even care anymore. Until they can upgrade the facilities they might as well keep him because no coach worth a crap is gonna want to be here knowing the problems we have upgrading the program. And even if we did find a hidden gem they would bolt for a better job. Until we can upgrade our facilities we will never attract a coach or the talent we need to compete in the SEC. So keep him or fire him really doesn’t matter.

  51. unreal
    7:24 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Unreal. The guy gets 2 shots at a difference making QB and 1 transfers never getting a real shot and the other couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. All I keep hearing is what great recruits we are getting, where are they? How come Florida/Tennessee/USC and others can put their freshmen on the field but ours just stand around until they are juniors.

    Maybe Joker recruits busts….or maybe, what I think is true is that he can’t coach the kids he gets. One thing about Brooks was he got middle of the road kids and they overachieved. With Joker you get above average kids that come here to die or transfer as of late. The difference between Brooks and Joker was when Brooks left, Joker turned over the whole staff and ever since we haven’t developed one kid.

    Shane Boyd, Brandon Gainer, Glen Faulkner, Ryan Mossakowski, Morgan Newton, of late that were big “steals” or “gets” that couldn’t get on the field, or were miserable when they did. So were these kids steals? Terrible, or terribly coached. I can’t wait for Towles to come in and sit the bench behind the highly touted Max Smith…….

    If you truly believe Joker needs more time, you are drunk and stupid. He took over a program that was doing well, bringing in it’s best recruiting classes in years and turned it into a team that struggled to score a touchdown on Western.

    Brooks took over a probation ridden abomination and turned it into a winner. Joker took a winner and is running it into an abomination.

  52. Jbcruse
    7:27 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    This is about as big of a suck up article as I seen since the days Cats Pause’ writers were trying to crusade to save TLT’s job….are you kidding me!

  53. Dr. Cornhole
    7:31 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    This article is about as accurate as a Morgan Newton touch pass.

  54. UK Football Fan
    7:33 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Although we completely sucked for 3/4th’s of the season last year the level of negativity around this message board is completely pathetic. There is a point of being skeptical and then being unreasonably obnoxious. You don’t have to support the coach but at least support the team these guys work there rear’s off.

    First I am not a fan of Joker, his play calling is poor but if you saw the spring game they let Maxwell Smith air it out more. Smith was far from amazing but he did show a lot of improvement and I think he will be a big improvement of what we saw last year.

    Second, our line last year was badly beaten up. You cannot have your qb do a five step dropback if your line cannot block these SEC defensive lines. Yes these screens were frustrating, but it’s not like a sack would be much better. Plus King, Roark, and Adams were more possession guys instead of deep threats. Hopefully Robinson and Collins can be the deep threat we need.

    Third, their defensive playbook is very complicating. If you have ever seen a playbook it is huge. It takes time to grow into a new defense. And down the stretch, Ole Miss, UGA, and UT, this defense got much better and started forcing turnovers. Trevathan is going to be a big loss but we are getting stronger at the D Line which will mask a lesser talented player. This defense will be much more comfortable in this new system.

    I will be surprised if we win more than 5 games but this team is definitely heading in a positive direction

  55. r[ngo
    7:33 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Give the man a fair chance… 5yrs… then evaluate

  56. r[ngo
    7:36 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    ask yourself… how many games would urban meyer win with this yrs team??

    7:38 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Rashawn! Where have you been? I haven’t seen you around lately. I miss you. Come join me again real soon. 😉

  58. buzzard
    7:38 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    thank you #29…
    I’ll be at every home game this season cheering my ass off!..but that’s just the kind of guy I am.
    say what you want, but Joker beat UT with a receiver as the QB and I for one, would like to thank him for that
    Go Big Blue!

  59. JBR
    7:43 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I will save my thesis that I could write on why you are completely wrong, Rashawn…so I will take the short route…for you or any other blue kool aid drinkers behind Joker…name ANY positive coaching characteristic or example that you have seen in Joker on the field, or off, that gives you any reason to believe he will turn things around. Just one…and I don’t mean the bs, do-gooder stuff…I’m talking football stuff. X’s and O’s, game plans, talent evaluation/development, the psychology aspect of the game (i.e. motivation, attitude, respect, etc)…name just one.

    I can save you the time…there is nothing, absolutely nothing, from a football standpoint that I have seen on the field or off that tells me that Joker can get the job done.

  60. catfan
    7:45 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I guess we should all start following UK futbol. b/c the futbol americano we got going on in Lexington sucks.

  61. Every UK Fan
    7:50 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker was given a winning program by Rich Brooks. And what did Joker do? He ran it in the ground is exactly what he did. So whatever Rashawn and Mitch, you’re wrong as hell and everyone knows it. Brooks laid a solid foundation, all Phillips had to do was continue with 7 win seasons and everyone is happy, but no, he can’t even muster that. Freaking Bill Curry all over again. It will take 2 years too long to fire him and in the meantime we are expected to keep spending money on a losing team. NO thanks.

  62. catGrad7072
    7:50 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    54: Smith aired it out against UK’s defense. Every Spring, it’s the SOS. Get real!!!

  63. thebrewerman
    7:55 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink


  64. Beepthacreep
    8:04 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    If joker was white he would have already been fired, hell he would have never got the job

  65. gobigbig blue
    8:32 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Shocks me that people don’t take the high road and back our football players going into this season. Like it or not, the team we are about to field are the Kentucky Wildcats. We came one game short last year of another bowl game. Last I heard we are on a winning streak having beat Tennessee for the first time since much of the BBN was born. I don’t think KSR is even a minute portion of those that follow UK so comments on this website probably are meaningless. I just hope you all gave up your season tickets and enjoy cutting your grass all year.

  66. 2020
    8:35 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    From a fan’s standpoint, beating UT was huge. From the perspective of evaluating Phillips’ job performance, it means jack squat. UT was horrible, not winning a single SEC game last year. Just because all other teams couldn’t play to their expected level, that doesn’t mean Joker is king for simply meeting low expectations.

  67. 2020
    8:37 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    and (63) is dead right. “Give him time” means he’s already failed.

  68. 2020
    8:42 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    … and (56), Joker recruited this year’s team. Your question should be rephrased “Ask yourself how many games Urban Meyer would have won this year if he had been recruiting coordinator, the coach-in-waiting for 2 years, now just having completed his 2nd season?” my guess is UK would have looked very very different this past year at 11-2.

  69. Slim
    8:43 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I see KY and South Carolina as similar programs. In Spurrier’s third season at South Carolina, they went 6-6, a step back. He has been there since 2006 and only last year did they win 10 games. In basketball, the program can change overnight as only 5 players are on the court. Football definitely takes time. Kentucky has a winning culture in basketball where we expect to win even if we are the underdog. For football, we are still in the process of changing this culture. (Winning cultures never rush the field/court, for instance). It takes players from winning programs to do this. Patrick Towles went 49-1 in high school and won 3 state titles. He expects to win. It takes more players like this to change the culture. Can Joker recruit enough players to do that? I don’t know. Regardless, trying to get to the top of the conference means trying to be a TOP 5 program nationally. To me, that will take a coach that has the proven record of developing players that go on to be drafted for the NFL. Otherwise, I see an 8 or 9 win season being the cap on this program as it stands.

  70. Jokesonme
    8:43 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is from here and, therefore, one of us. It strikes me as odd that this administration – and even this website – know how deep that runs with all of us and how much everyone would like to see one of our own do well coaching this football team.


    “Head Coach In Waiting” is a title bestowed upon an insider with the program who can provide continuity after a few really solid years on the uptick. Not one single SEC school, including UK, hires Joker off the street when he was given the job while OC. Not one. Not us. Not Trinity High School. If the reason for the hire was continuity, and he is not supplying it (Oh My God he failed miserably last year) then why do I have to put up with what we saw last season? I understand we aren’t winning the SEC last year, but that was an embarrassing season. Yes, UT, but be rational.

    It is an absolute slap in the face to a fanbase that is, without a doubt, the most passionate about their school of any I know of, overall.

  71. uklaw95
    8:43 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Funny that some people call others “idiotic” and then write that Joker’s record is around “500%”.

  72. jacob
    8:44 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    you think we can reqruit 5 star players you must be crazy his first year wasnt bad until dumb ass morgan newton tried to be qb this last season was terrible because newton started msot of the games and when smith came in we actually did good we need to wait and see

  73. BigBlueBrock
    8:45 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker deserves a shove out the door. Nothing more, nothing less.

  74. Dave in Kabul
    8:48 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    UK Football will suck as long as people defend the scheit that UK Football puts on the Field.

    I wasn’t satisfied by the smoke and mirrors of the Brooks era.

    If a Football School (UF) can win back to back National Championships, surely UK can put together a football program that can win 8 games a year.

    No one is expecting BCS Championships. Hell, they get 3 cupcakes a year. They barely beat the cupcakes. Joker is flat out terrible.

    If UK can’t win 8 games a year, they should just fold the program and stop stealing the people of Kentucky’s money.

    UK Football is highway robbery.

  75. Dave in Kabul
    8:50 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink


    Unfortunately, that word is not in Joker’s vocabulary.

    It’s not in the UK Football Program Dictionary either.

    Someone struck it out and put “do the same old losing sh*t” in it’s place.

  76. 2020
    8:52 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    … and Rashawn, Brooks did not have the full number of scholarships and other recruiting restrictions at the beginning due to the Mumme-era violations… which you failed to mention when citIng his sub-par record early on. Joker has always had the full amount.

  77. Duke sucks
    8:53 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I supported hiring Joker. Unlike some I think he deserved the job. I think he deserved time to prove him self.That said 3 years is plenty to show progress and so far it isn’t there. Changes in coaching staff Questionable. I like Nord but not having a true special teams coach has cost at least 3 games. The O line has more to do with coaching change then injuries. To say give him 4 years looks more like reverse racism then being objective. Shame on you rawshawn for looking threw racial glasses. If Joker was white you would be leading the charge to replace him.

  78. cruz
    9:10 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Fact. Joker is a joke as a coach. Roy Kidd @ Eastern could still school this poor man. I do like his name cause he’s a joke and that big pay check is even bigger.

  79. Duke sucks
    9:27 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Wasn’t Joker the recruiting these kids for Brooks. So to say they needed to up grade the players saying Joker sucked at his previous job. C’on man it’s comes a time when it’s been long enough put up or shut up. It doesn’t help that the program instate that we had owned passed us up. Strong is recruiting in. The same area what is your excuse for that RF.

  80. Raekwon
    9:36 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    R. Franklin must be on drugs; Joker is a terrible coach and he should be fired immediately.

    9:49 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone who thinks that Joker is a good coach is in need of some serious mental healthcare. Give him time to “change the culture”….He has changed the culture. He took a program with some positive momentum and has turned them into the worst team in the SEC. Under Joker, we can’t even compete with Vandy anymore!!! Yes, Coach Brooks did struggle his first few seasons, but the two situations are completely different. Brooks was taking over a team with NCAA sanctions, limited scholarships etc so of course it would take him time to turn the ship around. But Joker had been on the staff, he knew the school, he knew the system etc. Joker had no NCAA sanctions to deal with and yet under his watch, the program has regressed to the point where I have given up my season tickets and I will not be watching that brand of football on TV because it is embarassing!!! Barnhart needs to wake up and make a change before it is too late.

  82. HAhahahsha
    9:53 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Four more years four more years

    Mitch u stupid fu(k

    Welcome to the toilet bowl every year
    Brooks was a bad call joker was a worst call


    Joker. Fail

    Mitch. Fail

  83. dto UKblue
    10:23 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Ive changed my stance on Joker over the past few days. The more I think about it, the more I want to give him some more time. He is a KY guy and I want to see him succeed, he might not but I think I want to give him another year or 2. I know he has to get a contract extension if we keep him so give him 2 more years. It’s not like hes going to be able to get a better length somewhere else. Offer him 2 years and see what he can do. If he cant get something done with 5 years under his belt then it will be easier to let him go, but who knows he may get this turned around like Brooks was able to. I know he inherited the program in decent shape and it has declined but it was his first 2 years as a head coach, maybe he just needs to figure out they way he needs to operate things. If you would have asked me 2 weeks ago I would have said Joker better not be here next yer but Ive decided I want to see him get a few more years to actually get a chance to improve things.

  84. DHo
    10:24 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Been going to UK games since 1975. I’ve seen guys who can coach and those that cn’t.
    This one can’t.
    It will play itself out. Seen it before, will see it again.

  85. David
    10:49 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Brooks started with nothing so his sub .500 seasons were no surprise. Joker started with a much better foundation that Brooks laid. Joker has failed I am sorry to say. This year will be a total waste of time and effort. Joker needs to leave in spite of the fact he is a great guy whom I personally like.

  86. dexter
    11:03 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    well said Rashawn, don’t listen to the haters

  87. UKFot
    11:20 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    Wins/loses aren’t as important to me this year as players giving their all and not making stupid penalties or mistakes. If he can get his guys straightened out, I’m fine to give him another year to Put together a 6+ win season. If the teams looks sloppy again this year, yer out.

  88. erniecat
    11:43 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    If you don’t want to go to games stay at home,but quit crying all the time. I hear what a great fan base we have,but must not be,great fan bases support their teams by giving not whineing. We wouldn’t have the worst facilities if we cared about football.

  89. Wildcatsteeler
    4:32 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    My opinion of Joker as a coach formed with him as our OC. To just hand the job to someone without interviewing other people was absurd. This season will be a total waste and then set us back several more years on recruits.

  90. Put in Richie
    5:35 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    How has Joker failed exactly? What were the expectations of the last two seasons? In two regular seasons, we have gone 6-6 and 5-7. What were some of you expecting….8-4??? If that is the case, the problem is more with unrealistic expectations. Some of you want to draw your stance on two seasons, but that’s not fair.

  91. Put in Richie
    5:50 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    One more comment: we went 6-6 and 5-7 respectively the last two years without a real QB. I know that Moss is 100% Joker’s fault and Newton is a bum he recruited, but a lot of other great schools offered Newton too. We were just the unlucky ones who got stuck with him. The fact that Max Smith seems to be much better at moving the ball and Joker landed our QB of the future in Towles shows me that he is addressing the position.

  92. Put in Richie
    5:54 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Finally: Before someone says we were 6-7 and not 6-6….i do realize we made a bowl game in Joker’s first season. That said, I don’t think Joker is being taken to the wood shed over the bowl game….it’s the regular season results that matter most.

  93. Bledsoe's Biceps
    6:32 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I appreciate the never ending enthusiasm and optimism by some, but they seem to be confusing effort with results. Coulda, woulsa, shoulda and never ending excuses just don’t cut it anymore. Joker took a rising program and quickly headed the other direction. He has repeatedly failed to achieve results or at least show consistent promise they are forthcoming. Joker has not shown there is any reason to actually expect improvement. I have no reason to believe this year will be any different. Unless miracles occur this season (get to a bowl), it is time for a change.

  94. BravoBigBlue
    6:54 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky fans (well, most of us) are not idiots. But obviously Rashawn Franklin is. Joker is in way over his head as a head coach in the SEC. It’s like trying to justify obama’s record. Head football coaches, like Presidents of the United States, shouldn’t be getting paid for on-the-job training. Get the pink slips ready!

  95. bluesince66
    8:28 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Getting beat in the SEC is one thing, but barely beating some pretty weak non conference teams makes it even worse. Like has been stated Joker was named coach in waiting so this sort of thing could be avoided.

  96. bluesince66
    8:33 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Those of you talking about 6-6 season his first year need to realize that was about as friendly a schedule as we’re going to see for awhile.Getting beat by Ole Miss that year and getting drilled by a not very good Pitt team without a head coach in the bowl game was enough for me, and last year just reenforced that.

  97. JayCee
    8:43 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    90- hard to take criticism on someone’s logic from a man that can’t even properly form a sentence.

    You know what I’m saying?

  98. ThatOneGuy
    8:45 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Our RB and QB last year ONLY played because people got hurt that were in front of them, these two guys were what, 3rd and 4th stringers? And they BOTH played better than the starters. The lame coaching staff we have cannot even properly assess the talent they do have. That, along with game play calling on BOTH sides of the ball, players leaving the team, lack of recruiting REAL players, the game at TN, getting beat by VANDY, and a BUNCH of other reasons, makes me think it is time for a change. PERIOD. Joker is probably a good guy (just ask MaryJo) but he is in WAY over his head. I HONESTLY HOPE I’M WRONG! But, I’d say, it will be another of year of turning off the radio in disgust (who would show our product on TV) at the start of the 4th quarter, and wishing for basketball season would hurry up and get here…. It is hard to be a UK Football fan these days…

  99. Can't be overstated
    8:48 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I know this has probably been addressed in the comments, but…
    How can Franklin justify keeping Phillips, based solely on beating a bad Tennessee team?
    I was very excited we beat them…still doesn’t change the fact that the team sucked and got embarrassed on almost every Saturday.

  100. markp
    8:59 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    If he doesn’t have a winning record this year, get rid of him! Period, end of discussion. He should have been canned last year. He is not the answer and we will have a losing record this year.

  101. Shocker
    9:40 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Looks like KSR is now on the UK athletics payroll too. What a dumb blog post.

  102. Syphino
    10:04 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I am all for controversial opinions but this post is either an attempt to stir the pot and get hits or written by a 14 year old relative of Joker. Joker has been at the UK program in some capacity for over 10 years. He took over as the head coach for UK football at its highest point any coach has ever taken over UK football and he has returned us to a boring conservative Bill Curry-esque bottom of the SEC mess. Season ticket renewals will be at an all time low and football feeds the athletic family at UK. This article is incredibly inaccurate and almost appears as though some at my favorite website KSR want to get in good with Mitch and the UKAA rather than speak for the fans.

  103. Hoss_Cat
    10:05 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Time to rake this poster across the coals. what an idiot. Joker was given the keys to a waxed camaro and is now dragging the bumper across town. You don’t inherit a program like he did and go backwards with it.

  104. jokerSUCKS
    12:20 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Joker did not inherit the turd that Brooks did. He was also around for the entire Brooks tenure and recruited the the players he is now failing with

  105. Hal's Mummy
    2:23 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    People fogey Joker was out coached by Dooley in his first year. Not developing enough players too predictable in over his head. Even if you never watched a Joker coached team play you can tell he doesn’t have what it takes by listening to him talk.

  106. Put up or shut up
    2:41 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    People this is real simple. A) Joker leads this team to 7 wins and gets a extension. Which would be the best for everyone. Jokers a Kentucky kid who has given a lot to this program and if he’s capable he is the man we need.or B) We have a bad season and Jokers gone that simple He will have had three years and that is plenty to gauge his abilities considering he recruited all of the players.or C) We win 6 games make a weak bowl. But are very competitive in the losses.To me this is the only way that the answer isn’t clear but I would guess Mitch would keep him