Joker Phillips enjoyed his first SEC Media Day as a head coach and handled it like a pro. He threw in some jokes (“people should expect more, we have the only undefeated coach in the league”) and he tackled some tough topics. All in all, it was a good debut for Operation: Win. Here are some notes:
– Obviously, the big headline to come from media day was the endorsement of Mike Hartline as the starting quarterback by Derrick Locke. Locke told the always well-dressed Chip Cosby that Hartline had “a great spring” and “stepped up” when it was time to make plays.
– Along those same lines, Joker Phillips said that while the quarterback job still remains up for grabs, Hartline had lead at end of spring practices. Phillips said that Kentucky is fortunate to have two quarterbacks who have won SEC football games and a “reallly talented freshmen who is really excited about competing with those guys”. The competition continues….
– Again speaking about the quarterback position, Phillips said that he wants his quarterback to “win” the game this year, rather than managing it. This, of course, is sweet music to the ears of those of us who have worried that the Kentucky offense was trending toward a more conservative approach. Phillips appears to have confidence in his quarterback (whoever that may be) and that’s a very positive thing.
– On Randall Cobb, Phillips said “He will be the sorest guy in the league”, a reference to how much he will be used.
– Phillips acknowledged a number of changes he’s made since taking over for Rich Brooks and reiterated how much confidence he has in his staff, especially in their recruiting. There’s no question that recruiting will be a major focus of Operation: Win and Phillips noted that having seven former recruiting coordinators on staff will – and already is – pay dividends.
– Speaking of the old man, Phillips said he still talks to Brooks frequently and the coach’s best advice has been to just tune everyone out. And to also keep the tomatoes in sunlight for at least 9 hours a day.
– Coach Phillips complimented strength coach Rock Oliver for his off-season program and, based on tweets alone, the players would agree.
– As expected, he confirmed that Paul Warford is ineligible. He also joked that Randall Cobb is begging to play some snaps at defensive back now.
– Joker also noted that defensive tackle Myron Walker and linebacker Will Johnson will transfer.
– Joker also confirmed that Mister Cobble still trying to get eligible academically and that these next couple of weeks (or days) will determine his status.
– Additionally, he said that UK is still awaiting the status of four freshmen, who are not on campus yet. He did not mention any names.