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So What’s Next?

Photo by Dr Michael Huang

I really wanted Sunday to go well. It wasn’t just because it was Kentucky and Louisville and the thought of losing to the Fighting Linebeards always makes me slightly sick to my stomach. But I mainly wanted Kentucky to play well for Joker Phillips and his future with the team. It is no secret that this season determines his future in Lexington. Because he only has one year left on his contract after this, Mitch Barnhart has one of only two choices at the end of the season…either extend Joker for two more years or replace him. You cannot leave a lame duck coach with no more years on his contract, because then he cannot recruit. Thus it is an all or nothing decision for Barnhart and there is no real room for error. At the beginning of the season, I made my stance clear. I want Joker Phillips to win six games, get this team to a bowl, continue his positive recruiting and take steps to winning back a fanbase that is desperate for success. Absent that, I wanted to see a team that left no doubt in everyone’s eye what the final decision should be. At the end of the year, I want a consensus…yes, Joker should stay or yes Joker should go. Another summer of discontent, with a split fanbase and no real clear vision for Kentucky football is the last thing anyone needs. So I went into Sunday’s game hoping that the Cats would come out, play great, get a win and put Joker Phillips on the right path to gaining a permanent fitted seat at the helm of the football program he loves so much.

And on Sunday, what did we get? We basically were left with a game that confirmed whatever viewpoint of the program the viewer had going into the game. If you were an optimist who believed that the program was ready to move in the right direction and take steps to improve on last year’s dismal performances, there was evidence to support your mindset. The offensive unit looked sharp most of the day and generally drove on Louisville at will. They scored 14 points, but it fairly can be said that they left at least 17 on the field due to two deep fumbles and a missed field goal. Yes, the offense included a lot of short dump offs, but you know what? They worked. The Cats were able to move the ball consistently and the no-huddle attack employed by Joker and Randy Sanders was effective.

However, if you are inclined towards pessimism on the Joker front, there was evidence for you as well. The defense was awful. Actually, scratch that. The defense was abysmal. There are very few adjectives that can adequately describe what watching a team mount three consecutive drives of 99, 85 and 93 yards against your team looks like. But whatever the worst of those is, it should definitely be used to explain the disaster in Papa Johns. It remains to be seen whether Teddy Bridgewater is a future superstar, but there is no question that Kentucky made him look like a Heisman candidate and soon-to-be first round NFL pick. Teddy went 19-21 and his two incompletions were due only to smart decision making by him. Kentucky had no answer for anything Louisville did on offense all day. And even worse from a fan’s point of view, they never made any adjustments, seemingly content to allow the faulty initial game plan play itself out. The athletes looked too slow, out of place and ill-coached to even suggest that a great deal of improvement could take place in the future, a thought that is quite depressing. Yes, Kentucky left 17 points on the field, but to be honest, Louisville probably left 21 out there of its own, as only Charlie Strong’s head-scratching decision to play Will Stein in the fourth quarter prevented the Cards from racking up 50.

So where do we go from here? At this point, I am still undecided on where this UK team’s destiny lies. Kentucky looks competitive and feisty on one side of the ball, while also looking miserable and despondent on the other. Will it get better? I honestly have no clue. In fact, all Sunday did was give both sides of the pro/anti-Joker forces evidence for whatever conclusion they already supported. Unfortunately for Joker however, those that are down on the program seem to be growing in volume, if not numbers. The situation reminds me of this line from a poem entitled “The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

There is no moral superiority in either position on Joker Phillips and this UK football team. However those that believe change must be made in the future are becoming more certain in that belief. And Joker’s supporters, whose numbers are much larger than his detractors prefer to believe, are facing growing doubt/apathy that makes their position less strong. It is hard to hear loud voices that believe in the future of this program. As August rolled on, many of us took that position, whether motivated by our head or our heart, and hoped it would be true. Sunday didn’t give us any reason to totally throw in the towel, but it also didn’t elicit growing confidence either. The next three weeks will probably tell us little. Beating Kent State/Western or losing at Florida will be nothing new. But as we move towards the next two statement games (South Carolina and Georgia in Lexington), we unfortunately have little in the way of strong cause for optimism. Sunday showed you whatever you wanted to see and thus the most recent battle for the Governor’s Cup can best be described as a detour on the quest for clarity.

Article written by Matt Jones

143 Comments for So What’s Next?

  1. MHFaulkner
    8:51 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    First – we need to get Mitch some better fitting pants.

  2. If the NCAA were a man I'd punch it in the face
    8:58 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    More of the same. I really wanted Joker to be the guy, but he just isn’t, and it makes me sad.

  3. cracka
    8:59 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    supposed to have quit wearing pleated khakis like 10 years ago

  4. Bluecoat
    9:01 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I was shocked Joker and his staff got to coach the 2nd half yesterday. Pretty sure the 1st half was enough for Barnhart to pull the trigger. Is Parcell’s still available?

  5. billyb
    9:02 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Joker has proven he is not a sharp tactician. Should have called time out with 1:15 left in the half, should have kicked the field goal in the fourth quarter, shouldn’t have run the clock down when behind by three scores. Shouldn’t have tried the fake field goal. He’s been doing this stuff all along, but we have been giving him a pass.

    This game, it was just too obvious. I like Joker a lot, but we deserve better.

  6. billyb
    9:03 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Fake punt, I meant. Duh.

  7. Matt
    9:06 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I was optimistic with the offensive improvements, even though they left several points on the field, but the defensive performance was a huge disappointment. I’ve defended Joker in the past, although it’s becoming harder and harder to do so.

  8. BirdDog1980
    9:06 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Bring Chucky Gruden to Lexington! #JonGrudenBandwagon

  9. Roland
    9:07 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Where is the team talk that we here during basketball days?

  10. UK-allday
    9:07 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Well, it was a fun season. Good times. Back to bb recruiting we go.

  11. wickedgood
    9:07 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    i feel just about same way matt does the only big difference he is the only ky football coach who was given a competive team when brooks left and brooks asst coaches . he decided to get rid of the coaches for his own and now he has run out of rich brooks players and lost ace in the hole tee martin it looked very bad . i will continue to cheer but i have not seen any defensive team at uk that bad since melvin johnson made it seem like 80 % of the tackles for bill curry’s team. and this one was really worse cause johnson did tackle them.

  12. FatCat
    9:07 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    The offense scored 14 points. Things have gotten so bad that we are going to be optimistic about a 14 point effort against a Big East team? Louisville and UK should be comparable programs but Louisville is dominating UK right now. I don’t see how that does not fall on Joker.

  13. jhnny
    9:08 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Only at Kentucky do we call a fumble at the 22 yard line “leaving points on the field.” Honestly, I don’t know why they even keep playing defense once a team gets to the 22 yard line. Once you get there, its a known fact that everyone considers it “leaving points on the field” if you don’t score 6. Would we have left 4 points on the field if we had made the field goal (that we missed)? This is silly. The offense scored 14 points.

    And the last fumble occurred in the fourth quarter when UL had stopped blitzing. In fact, the majority of our yards occurred in the second half, most of which was played by UL without their best player. Why is that important? Because it means their offense (which we never stopped with their starting QB) didn’t eat up all the clock.

    Finally, lets see what kind of defense UL really has going forward. My guess is their defense is almost as bad as ours. Lets see what UK does against UK. I would like to be positive, but I sometimes wonder what game some of you watched.

  14. Rich Madky
    9:08 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Before the game you said a bad first half trailing by 2 TD’s meant Joker wasn’t going to work. Well, he was down 15 and they were down 25 before Strong pulled his QB. Now you say you’re undecided. You can’t have it both ways. Joker is toast and he deserves that fate. You can’t inherit the program on an upswing, run it into the ground and ask for more time. Time to move on. A year too late, in my opinion.

  15. CM
    9:08 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Didn’t Stein play basically the entire second half? We could have lost that game by 80 if C.S wasn’t looking out for Joker.

  16. BBN
    9:09 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Matt: I really enjoyed reading this. Personally, I think Joker has been over his head since Day 1. What responsible major D1 school would hire someone with no head coaching experience to take over the football program? NONE. Even when Joker was the offensive coordinator he hurt the program. His last two seasons as OC, UK ranked #93 & # 103 in the nation in total offense. Barnhart should have refused to support the “coach in waiting” BS and found a capable coach in the market who could build upon the contributions Rich Brooks made. Joker should have been considered in the future after he proved himself as a Head Coach somewhere. I say the choice is clear and has been since Barnhart made this bad decision — Joker must go before we totally lose the fan base. No more making and accepting excuses from the Joker apologists. He was hired to win SEC games but is not capable of doing so.

  17. Chicken Little
    9:09 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    The season has started. There is no real need to guess now after one game, if it will be a failure, there will be 11 more games for it to play out either way.

  18. jhnny
    9:09 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Sorry, meant to say lets see what UK does against UF.

  19. BlueTexan
    9:09 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Sad and embarrassing comment/observation from Yahoo Sports: “The final score was 32-14, but it was only that close because Louisville coach Charlie Strong backed off on his friend, embattled Kentucky coach Joker Phillips.”

    Give it ‘up’ Matt…Barnfart needs to leave on the same Greyhound as Joker (maybe they can find a B-O-G-O ticket). Together, they have decimated the season ticket base and, as an Alum who’s been supporting UK football since the Charlie Bradshaw days…I’m tired. Tired of the excuses. Tired of the ineptitude in recruiting, coaching and delivery on the field.

    Maybe it’s time we (as UK) change to the Vandy model…get rid of the Athletic Director (and, good ‘ol boy network) and use more of a ‘produce-or-leave’ management style.

    Barnfart isn’t a FBS caliber AD and Joker should find a job as an assistant at a Div. III school.

    Sunday WAS NOT “whatever you(I)wanted to see.”

  20. UK-allday
    9:10 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Also, we are the red zone fumbling kings of NCAAFB

  21. Slappy
    9:12 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I was in the pro-Joker camp before this game. He’s a good guy, loves the program… But it just isn’t gonna happen. I’ll still go to the games and support the program but I really don’t see a way he can turn it around.

  22. catfan68
    9:16 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I’ll tell you what’s next, Mitch needs to pull his head out of his a$$ and get a real football coach!!

  23. Biggass Hungguy
    9:17 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Matt, you are a complete moron when it comes to football. 373 yards is a good day on offense, but hardly moving the ball at will especially when Louisville basically stopped playing in the 3rd quarter.

    ‘I am still undecided on where this UK team’s destiny lies’ really? You quit your blog in the 3d quarter as well, you know where this teams destiny lies, just have the balls to say it.

  24. Tim
    9:17 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Leadership.. Players accused of being tired… Bad play calling… No excitement… Going with the flow… Yes as one posted ( we should of lost by 60 ) if no QB change. Joker can get the backing but a firm handle of the team would have to be present. The second half- on side kick … almost fumbled the ball and Joker smiling saying “hey grab the ball”. Too soft ~!!!!!!

  25. Smyrna_Cat
    9:17 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Only at UK would we talk about how good the offense was after scoring 14 points. The offense was acceptable … barely. The Defense was beyond terrible. How anyone could find anything out of that debacle is beyond me. And if Strong hadn’t backed off, UL would have beaten us 50 to 14.

    It was horrible.

  26. BigBlueSexMachine
    9:18 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    BOTTOM LINE: no D no SEC victories. Period! Unless of course we plan on playing perfect offense every game. If you can’t stop someone you have to hang points. This offense is not that good. Really like Smith, Love his footwork in the pocket

  27. Rich Madky
    9:20 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    At this point, I have to wonder if Matt can’t tell the truth for fear of remaining on good terms with UKAA and keeping his access to Cal during basketball season.

  28. elite 11
    9:20 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I say take a chance on someone that i feel would be a great head coach that top prospects would want to play for. Tent Dilfer has no coaching experience, but he has a lot of potential and a lot if connections.

  29. Wake Up
    9:21 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with #12 Matt how many games do you think 14 points will win ? The defense gave up in order drives of 99 , 85 , 93 yds for tds. Then 71 for a fg then 38 for a td. Maybe that’s why Vegas only has them a 7 pt. fav against Kent St.

  30. Head Bussa
    9:22 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Unfortunately, we get to watch Joker all season. Barnhart will at least give him three-fourths of the season before actively pursuing a coach. That just seems to me the type of guy Barnhart is. I think Mitch can pull the strings this time to bring a good coach in and I look forward to it.

  31. JBR
    9:22 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Matt, it is obvious that you are a basketball fan that casually watches football on occasion…your opinion on this is truly that of the defeated, typical apologist UK football fan that accepts that our program sucks, and will always do so. Joker has NEVER shown anything on the field or with the players (locker room) that would suggest that anyone should have anything to think that he could change this program.

    Bluntly put, I think that Joker’s largest of many deficiencies is that he simply cannot communicate with anyone. Have you ever really listened to the man speak? He can barely finish a complete sentence. Sorry, but the players have no respect for Joker, and neither does the fan base. He put himself in this situation, and it is time to move on. Delaying the inevitable is only hurting the program…I was one that did not renew my season tix after more than a decade of having them. I would call and renew tomorrow to support the PLAYERS if Mitch fired Joker…but the refusal of this administration to do the very obvious kept me from wasting my money this year on a flawed product. Joker made that decsion feel really good yesterday.

  32. Rich Madky
    9:23 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #30 I hope you’re right, but I have my doubts. He didn’t fair very well the first time, but Brooks ended up bailing him out. He’s too religious for this cut-throat business, in my opinion.

  33. williamtian
    9:24 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Didn’t this guy help go to 5 bowl games?? Help bring this program back from the dumps? Had the best offensive team in the SEC in 2007 and 2008? (statistically) Won against Steve Spurier? Fist time Kentucky has done that ever! Helped beat Tennessee in 26 years? This is not Alabama or Florida you guys. No matter how much you want it to be. What everyone is predicting is truly unfair and ridiculous. OK joker had a 5 win last season. ok cool. There are bigger tragedies in the world, but we did beat Tennessee? I think so… He pulled something out of his ass with a WR who never played a snap as a QB in college!! To me thats freaking awesome! It shows he knows what he is doing. Believe it or not, we are a rebuilding team right now. every program goes through it. USC, Florda (right now), Tennessee, hell Alabama went through a slump before they got Saban. show some dang patience. did anyone see the offense?? Max smith, play-maker. Darryl Collins, play-maker. (Joker stole him from Alabama. What more do u want from him?) Sanders, play-maker. Demarco Robinson, showed some athleticism. The future looks bright for this team. Get it together you guys!! Your starting to sound like spoiled fans who doesnt have any patience at all. Support your team or bite your [email protected] tongue…

  34. jhnny
    9:24 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #27 – This is exactly what I thought when I read Matt’s post. I mean, it either comes from a complete ignorance of football, or a desire to stay good with UK. At some point, when media outlets become part of the “establishment” they tend to lose their objectivity. Its true for political reporters too. Maybe it has happened to MJ too.

  35. Hal
    9:25 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    16- actually UF’s HC had no prior HC experience. same with nebraska. same with oklahoma. & oklahoma st. & georgia. & florida st.
    at least you know what you’re talking about

  36. Rich Madky
    9:25 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I would also like to add I’m one of the 27%ers…Gave up tix after 13 years.

  37. Billyboyy
    9:26 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    UK will never be a full player in football until they put some REAL money into the football program. Basketball is secure, you think they would want to get the football program up to the top.

  38. Rich Madky
    9:26 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #33 You’re the same guy who supported Tubby and BCG til the last day.

  39. UKBlue
    9:31 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is going to make this decision for all of us. It’s already over, the only thing left now is the funeral.

    I’m all in for taking care of one of our own, but not at the expense of destroying what little creditability UK has left as a football program. Joker should have never have been hired: he has no idea what he is doing at least on an SEC level, he is in way over his head & he isn’t a leader; Joker is essentially the Barack Obama of college football coaches. Make excuses & defend all you want, it is what it is !! Joker beating cupcakes teams just to get 6 or 7 wins isn’t going to cut it when UK is getting blown out by SEC teams.

    Barnhart is going to have to hire a coach that he doesn’t want to hire ie Jim Tressel, Petrino or someone with a black eye on their record. UK has a tendency to always hire the same kind of coach, a warm body that is boring; Mitch is going to have to hire a coach with a big enough name for the fans, media, & recruits to take notice and say Whow !!

  40. williamtitan
    9:34 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    haha yeah i did… look at this, tubby tried, lets see, i think it was 2004 when he got Crawford, Morris and Rondo… all of them McDonald all Americans… all of them flops at the college level. at least he tried. Gillespie is a different story. his decisions off the court was questionable and not right at all but he had it coming. he was our head coach though. since i am a huge KY fan i will stand by my team till i die. for the record… i guarantee you that 90% of these people who commented on this post all said Calipari is a cheater, etc. before he got hired at Kentucky. now y’all treat him like a god. i can go all day with you about this crap but Kentucky fans have a hard time to shut up and just support your team. for all we know Kentucky will make it to a bowl game this year.

  41. tyrus
    9:34 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Kent St. and Western will have tape of the UL game so the no-huddle short dump pass offense won’t be a surprise to these two teams. Adjustments must be made to beat either team. Let’s see what Joker has planned next. That will make things clearer. Good luck.

  42. JBR
    9:34 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    If Joker really cared about this program the way he professes, he would resign immediately.

  43. wildcat golf
    9:36 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #34 and #27 – C’mon man… I don’t think Matt is being partial to Joker just to stay in the good graces of UKAA. That’s not his history. Just look how bad he roasted Billy Clyde back in the day.

    Matt- I do have to question your statement “Joker’s supporters are much larger than his detractors…” I’m not saying I know a ton of people, but out of the people I do know, I can’t think of any Joker supporters, can you back that statement up?

  44. Roland
    9:37 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Yadda… On to the next game

  45. BBN
    9:37 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #35: Okay, hiring someone without head coaching experience has worked at other major football programs. But would they promote their offensive coordinator to head coach if the team ranked #93 & #103 in the nation in total offense his previous two seasons? That is exactly what Barnhart did with Joker. The decision made no sense.

  46. Paducah Patty
    9:40 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I like Joker and really wanted him to succeed this year. I know it’s just one game but I think it told a lot about the season. Yes, we have talent at quarterback and that’s great but what has been our, sometimes, only strength, our defense was terrible. I didn’t agree with Joker being made the coach in waiting before Brooks left but I did support him and felt he deserved it, however, I think it is time for a change. I have no idea who we can get to help turn our program around, after all this is Kentucky football. I’m still behind the coach and team for the rest of the season. Joker, prove me wrong!!

  47. Rixter
    9:42 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    How would it be possible for Joker to suddenly become a better coach, a better recruiter? His situation is completely different than when Brooks took over, or Mumme, or Curry…. Joker took over a GOOD program, a program on the rise, coming off 4 straight bowl games. Plus, he wasn’t a new coach with a new system, he had been on the staff for several years. The program IMMEDIATELY started to slip when he took over, and the decline continues. I think the basic problem is, he’s not a very good coach. Even back when he was ‘Head Coach in waiting’, and the team was good, the fans major complaint was unimaginative play calling. Joker was calling the plays…I had a bad feeling way back then this would be a disaster…. give me a scenario where he turns it around?

  48. WERUK
    9:47 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone know where u can get one of those #WERUK shirts?

  49. Roland
    9:48 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Wobble on the comments here. Just play some college football.

  50. Georgia Blue
    9:49 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    UK negatives fans, writers and coaches are pathetic,. Alot of yall dont know anything about football. The coaching staff was watching the game like the fan. They thought that it was the same drive dduring practice. What are TIMEOUT for, did the coaching staff call TIMEOUT during long LOUISVILLE DRIVE NO. We still had TIMEOUTS at halftime.. Timeouts are sometimes used to stop momentum. The game was loss because we dont believe in our players as writer, coaches and fans. Their is alot of talent on this team. The Coaches just need to open up the playbook. I think Joker should send Minter and Sanders to the Press Box so they can see whats going on during the game. They dont need to be on the field. We do have playmakers and receivers that can stretch the field. Its just we play to conservative. Open up the playbook and believe in your players Joker. You have the talent but can you coach them up and gdt them to play. I am tired of hearing what you have and you dont use them. What happen to the run on SATURDAY, COSHIK carried 10 times for 64 yards and SANDERS carried 3 times for 38 yards. I know both had cautouisly fumbles that hhrt the team, but the run was there the whole game and we didnt exlloited. Why didnt we stretch the field, when they had one SAFETY. Everything was underneath conservative football. Football is a game of CHESS, you have to put your opponent in position that they are not comfortable with, which is match ups. You need to ask the question are hour assistant coaches with you

  51. Mountain man
    9:49 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Until UK gets a clone of a Mayers, Saban, Miles then we will continue to watch UK football fail. Under the current sitution it will be fail, fail, fail, and fail.

  52. Rich Madky
    9:49 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #47-There is no scenario where he succeeds. That’s what’s so disappointing about Matt’s post. He’s said for weeks that Joker couldn’t have a blowout. Well, they get down 25 and Strong takes his QB out in the 3rd quarter and now Matt is calling for patience. Give me a damn break.

  53. Rixter
    9:50 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    # 23: Thank you, you are absolutely right. Matt can’t throw his hands up, quit the blog shortly after halftime, then say he still thinks Joker might be the man.

  54. Ares
    9:51 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    My only statement is this I wanted Brooks gone and as the season played itself out I found out I was wrong. I will let this season play out I prefer not to possibly look like a fool again.

  55. williamtitan
    9:53 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #51 even if we did get coaches like miles, or aban, etc… they would just leave for a btter opportunity or not even join cause its kentucky football. cough… tee martin??

  56. Rixter
    9:58 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    # 40 – “for all we know Kentucky will make it to a bowl game this year.”

    Name the last 3 – 8 team to go to a bowl game.
    There is NO way this team beats anyone other than Kent, WKU, and Samford, and those 3 aren’t locks.

  57. Rich Madky
    9:58 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    54, there is NO COMPARISON to Brooks inheriting a probation strapped program and Joker taking a team coming off of a bowl streak. He’s ran it into the ground in record time.

  58. tim
    9:59 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    ummm lets explore.. Is there a place to play.. Is there a fan base.. Is it the best conference.. Does the high school players want to stay home.. Is there tradition of winning such as basketball, cheerleading, baseball ect… Does the school attract recruits.. Does the school attract coaches.. dice it anyway you want.. THERE IS SOMETHING SOMEONE ISN’T SAYING.. 🙂

  59. Matt Jones
    10:00 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #43 you didnt finish the sentence…more than his detractors “want to believe”. I know many Joker supporters…they just arent the type to post on message boards, etc. Just listen to our radio show. He has them. I dont think they outnumber his detractors, but they are out there.

    #53 I didnt quit the Live Blog to leave the game. I went and watched the 4th quarter on the field as I often do when I have a chance. They dont let u do that often at UK (until last 5 minutes) and at UL you can. I find that you can get a good sense of team’s emotion from down there, which is why I wanted to go down.

    And say whatever you wish about me being beholden to the UKAA. That is silly and would make anyone in that building laugh, as I am often their worst nightmare. I write what I believe…if you disagree, so be it. But anyone who knows me even a little knows that I am not beholden to anyone.

  60. Buckets
    10:01 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    So What’s Next?
    Basketball season. That’s what’s next.

  61. Rixter
    10:03 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    You cant compare Joker’s situation with Brooks. RB was an outsider coming in with a brand new system, and inherited a team still racked from probation…. of course it took him time to get it turned around. With Joker being the OC for several years with a program on the rise, it should have been a seamless transition..IF the rise was going to continue.

  62. williamtitan
    10:03 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    u just dont know that man… i mean for all we know kentucky’s defense will get better. the offense will still succeed. just stop jumping off a bridge and see what happens next…

  63. uktim
    10:04 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I was one of those who believed that this team would be better than last. Offensively they looked improved. WR caught the football,there was a running game, and a very good game plan to go No-huddle and to spread Louisville’s defense out making them play there cover two. Defensively UK looked slow,and non-athletic. Players out of position or not line up right. A person told me that minter’s 3-4 is very complicated,very hard for freshmen to learn. Lots of signals calls ,alinements. Yesterday the players were clearly trying to read first then react. Way to much thinking going on. They need to reconize the formation then react instead of reading firt. By reading or trying to read they lost there aggressiveness.
    Bottom line if UK loses to Kent or WKU joker will be fired before the season ends. I hate to see this happen because he dose care about UK Football and is a very good person.
    I for one just do not see the defense getting any better under minter he failed at ND,and Marshall. Uk never should have switched from the 4-3 to a 3-4 they do not have the athlete’s to run it. Brook’s tried the 3-4 for two years then scrapped it.
    3-9 record for the cats ,and probably a new coach.

  64. WERUK
    10:06 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Lets say Joker is let go after the season, how many players leave and how many more years will it set us back? Just curious, while we are at it……..

    1. Mike Leach, but can he get a defense?Would he leave Wash St after 1 year?
    2. Jim Tressel, when is he available to coach again?
    3. John Gruden
    4. Chris Peterson
    5. Gary Patterson

    I wouldnt want my kids or grandkids to play for Petrino. No morals or Values

  65. Rixter
    10:09 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    From the live blog:
    5:44 pm.
    Matt Jones:
    “Fake is sniffed out and stopped. and with that, I am done. Folks it was fun, but I cant deal with another quarter of this and I am …..

  66. Rich Madky
    10:10 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    64-That’s a silly list. Save Leach, the other 4 are complete no go’s. Tressel has a 5 yr NCAA show cause. The others wouldn’t answer the phone.

    We aren’t the morals police. It’s about winning football games.

  67. WERUK
    10:13 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    66. Thats my point, who would want to come here and build the program and stay? Your list? Sorry, but as a father I am the moral/value police.

  68. BravoBigBlue
    10:15 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    The once-great KSR (in Matt’s mind) has reached an all-time low. Now Mr. Big comes along every once and a while to do a suck-up piece. Reminds me of when I finally got fed up with The Cats Pause about 20 years ago. I don’t like homers. Tell it like it is, damnit! There’s nothing to be taken from yesterday’s game except for knowing for sure this is a 3-win season at best. Joker is at the bottom of NCAA “D-1” head football coaches in all the country. Saying anything else is just fluff.

  69. Rich Madky
    10:15 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    65-How dare you go and find written evidence that contradicts Matt’s post here. Oh, the nerve….

  70. williamtitan
    10:21 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    first we need new facilities for football then we need to show some of the coaching candidates the money… thats the only way to get someone good. i dont see that happening though.

  71. williamtitan
    10:22 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    now everyone is turning on Matt Jones!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH YOU GUYS!!!!

  72. Tommy
    10:23 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    59 – You can also get a good look at a butcher by sticking your head up his a$$ but I’d rather just take the bull’s word for it

  73. Pat_Wren
    10:23 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    As a lifelong UK diehard fan (yes I do bleed blue) I see no scenario where Coach Smith has a successful season….and that hurts. I wanted desperately for Joker to succeed, simply because he is one of our BBN members. I have supported him in the past and will support him up until he is fired at the end of this season. Mitch Barnhart is a smart man. He is capable of seeing a mistake (BCG) and rectifying the situation. At the conclusion of this seasonCoach Smith will be dealt with…..barring some kind of miraculous turn-around. The question at that point will be….”Can we hire a quality Head Football Coach?…..Will they come to Kentucky with the issues we have that must be addressed if we are to become competitive in the Sec?…” Mr. Barnhart has demonstrated in the past that he is capable of hiring quality Head Coaches. I for one will continue to support our team….and mourn with our team…as we await the final outcome of this football season. I hope Coach Phillips can somehow work some magic, however, I will be there when Mitch decides to move on. It’s been too long since Fran Curci and the magic of Kentucky Football…..but I believe we can do it again (without cheating). Here’s one hoping for Joker but preparing for the next Head Man to be another awesome Mitch hire!

  74. Rich Madky
    10:24 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    71-I’m not turning on Matt. I love the site and his show, but in this instance he’s gone back on what he said. He clearly said Joker couldn’t afford a blowout. He even said the first half would tell the tale and they couldn’t be down 2 TD’s or Joker isn’t going to work. Both happened and now it’s wait and see. He’s acting like every woman I’ve ever known…wants things both ways.

  75. wickedgood
    10:25 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    matt jones single handily brought uk sports to the internet. quit taking your frustration out on matt and barnhardt .he breaks the news allows access to the rural areas ad keeps everyone in the loop . he has done more for the fans of interactive opinions and giving everyone a chance to talk on the radio and feel part of the uk nation. if u want to pic at him critique his political leanings or the fact he went to duke but he bleeds blue deeper with his honest analytical thoughts only oscar combs or cawood ledford should be compared. as far as barnhardt he gave us a baseball coach , womens bb coach, calipari , rich brooks which matt could look back and most of u wanted him gone we are at best a 7 win program if we max out with a good coach. brooks spoiled everyone not just bowl games but on certain days we could beat the national champ [lsu] or stop the greatest running tandem in sec history mcfadden , jones, hillis . now get behind our athletic director and the wildcats number one ambassador matt jones because this will be the most difficult year in uk football modern history . cuss me if u want it will not make the outcome of the season any better.

  76. Slumping Teams
    10:26 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    33 – You are correct, Bama went through a slump before Saban. Read that and think about it. Went through a slump FIRED the reason for the slump and got a good coach. UF went through a slump FIRED the reason for the slump and got Meyer. They are in another slump right now and you better believe Muschamp is on thin ice there in only his second season. Don’t believe me? Ask Ron Zook.

    UT went through a slump and got rid of their alumni coach Fulmer to hire Kiffin who if he wasn’t a dbag would’ve rebuilt them (probably by cheating). You better believe Dooley is on thin ice after losing to an abysmal UK team last year. The point is when other schools have success and then take steps backwards they don’t stand for it. Why exactly should we?

    South Carolina was a joke in football until they said we need to take this seriously and hired an aging Lou Holtz in order to get some kind of name recognition to USC. They parlayed that into Spurrier and where are they now. If UK is truly serious about football, then need a big name. It may not be a in their prime big name, but it has to be someone people know. Since we can’t build facilities to attract kids we need some credibility.

  77. Rich Madky
    10:27 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    73-I agree. Ol’ Coach Joker “Smith” has just underperformed. Maybe Randy Landers and Dick Minter can shore up their units soon.

  78. Matt Jones
    10:29 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #65 I am not sure your point…I couldnt take it any more…and I cant take it even more in hindsight. But I didnt leave the game. I went and watched it on the field until the 4 minute mark when I left to drive to the studio for postgame.

    #68 If you dont like the site, dont come. That is about all I can say. I said what I legitimately believe…if you dont like it or dont think it is my real opinion, then you are wrong. I am not going to say something just because you want me to.

    #74 I did say he couldnt afford a blow out. But if you will remember the context, I said in order to keep the fans, he cant afford a blow out. For me, I have said all along that I wouldnt call for anyone’s head until at least half the season was over. But I suspected, and have been borne out to be correct, that many in the fanbase would react quicker than I

  79. Doug
    10:30 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Face it folks…Kentucky will never be top tier in football. Go back to the 1950s, never have been (except when they cheated) and never will be. There is no recruiting base in Kentucky and no coach worth his salt is coming to this dead-end job regardless of the money. Football is just a filler designed to take up late summer and early fall, usually with a few feel-good wins against weak non-conference opponents, until the Real Cats take to the hardwood. I know this is frustrating to all of the gridiron fans on here, but it’s reality and won’t change.

  80. Justin
    10:32 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I never understood the hire…Why name a coach in waiting for a 6 win team. Most of those wins were coming against non-FBS schools. I just want UK to be competitive. We are in the SEC and for us to expect to be a contender every year may not be realistic, but damn let me at least watch the second half. I think it is about time we go after a big name and spend a little money. Bring some excitement back at least.

  81. BigBlue
    10:32 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    The daming thing about Joker is that he was named COACH IN WAITING simply in order to maintain the level of success that Brooks built..ALL JOKER HAD TO DO WAS MAINTAIN that level of success and he would be a success. As so many new coaches do, he did not inherit a program in shambles…he inherited a pretty healthy program…and is bringing it to shambles. Instead of carrying on what Brooks made, he fired a slew of Brooks’s staff and decided to do it his own way…and here we have it. He can’t run a program or a team…also, T Martin is gone folks, the recruiting is not going to get any better.

  82. UKBlue
    10:34 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    UK fans & apparently UK administration has long excepted our life on the long road of mediocrity in football, but when we are no longer even able to be good enough to stay on the road mediocrity then we have a huge problem.

  83. huh
    10:34 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    So where do we go from here? At this point, I am still undecided on where this UK team’s destiny lies. Undecided? What does it take for people to understand we need a new coach? We should beat Louisville and Kent St and Western, but fans get happy with beating these weak teams and making a bowl game, As a fan I want a team that competes in the SEC, I would love to watch a team that could looked like they know what they are doing on the field. Its time for UK to get a well known coach and give the fans and the players some wins.

  84. Kent State
    10:35 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t sleep on me. Matt says the next weeks will likely tell us nothing new, but I disagree. Kent St will be much tougher than UK thinks. They finished strong last year have a good defense and while it was said maybe their struggling offense is just what UK’s defense ordered, that may be the other way around.

    MAC teams have proven tough this year. There is a reason they are only a 7 point favorite at home (keep in mind 3 of those points are just home field advantage). That means at a neutral site UK would be only a 3-4 point favorite. Kent will be ready to win and how UK responds will determine the kids belief in their coaches and their coaches ability to keep this team with all of the negativity swirling.

  85. bigB
    10:35 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Got a short list for you. It starts and stops with Bobby Petrino. He certainly has baggage but so did Calipari. Let’s not forget how much it would irritate the cards “fanbase”. Make it happen Mitch.

  86. BigBlue
    10:36 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I guess the icecream truck won’t be at practice anymore…

  87. Seriously?
    10:37 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Doug 79 – Yes they have been good – See Bear Bryant. Also, South Carolina was a very similar football program to UK until they took the initiative to hire a big name coach in Holtz build off his moderate success by getting Spurrier and they are coming off of an east title, SEC championship appearance and have a current top 10 ranking.

  88. BYE BYE
    10:39 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Joker needs to be fired…plain and simple…he let the clock run out at the end of the second quarter without even trying to bring the game to a 8 point game…he just wanted to go into half with all three of our TO’s…he just didnt understand that you get three more in the next half…67 1 yard passes during the game…its just not going to cut it..thought he was going to live up to what he said about spreading out the pass game when he threw the ball deep multiple times during the first drive but I was sadly mistaken…it took him 3 quarters to put in D Collins who looks to be Cobb like on the field..when he caught a screen late in the 3rd quarter and picked up the first down it looked like the uofl players were walking compared to him…how can you not see that during practice?? he didnt play the two freshman running backs that he talked so highly about during the preseason…he put Morgan Newton and Raymond sanders into the game again when they should never see the field..EVER…both fumbled the ball on I believe their first carries…he ran the QB draw with Newton…a play that has never worked and never will..Tyler Brause….enough said….Fake punt RUN…on 4th and 14…on OUR 25 yard line…And this is only one game…who makes this many COACHING mistakes in one game?? the man needs to go. period. Anybody with any IQ could do a much better job..Offense looked like they could have scored 42+ on sunday but play calling didnt allow we have to watch UofL go undefeated..Screw Joker..hes a joke.

  89. TNvolunteer
    10:42 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    While reading this, I legitimately believe that I lost some brain cells. The fact of bashing a 3rd year coach, is kind of insane. By definition, insanity is basically doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Yeah, Joker is on the hot seat, but he hasn’t even had a chance to rebuild the program. This is NOT basketball, it takes more than one year to rebuild an SEC football program. Kentucky Football will not just magically gain skill and gain 5 star recruits with or without cheating. It takes a little time. Yeah Joker probably isn’t SEC material, but why bash on the coach of your own program when he is brand new to the program? The program is young. This is the exact stage that UT went through last year. 32 Freshmen played last year. We were bad, yes, but you had to look at the fact that the team was YOUNG and with no experience in college football, nevertheless the SEC. Watch, Tennessee will do really well this year, despite how horrible ESPN and all the media is saying that Tennessee Football will be. We’ve gotten the experience and now are only starting 2 freshmen players. Just look at the offensive spread for Tennessee, probably top 2 or 3 in the SEC if not closer to the #1 offense. And look how terrible we were last year, but now that they have experience and are healthy, and with good coaching (Dooley, that a LOT of TN fans think is horrible) they will do great, top 3 SEC East most likely. Its about building… In order to build something with structure, you have to start with a foundation. And just like Dooley, Joker has not had time to set the foundation. You cant just slap bricks together and expect it to hold. You have to do it properly. With all of that said, respect your own football program. Respect the coach, but if you dont, it is what it is, but take into consideration the fact that this is his third year at an SEC school, miracles dont usually happen with 2 and 3 star athletes. If you want a new coach, that’s totally fine, but if you consider yourself a TRUE FAN, respect the program, the athletes, and the coaching staff while they are in office.

  90. KcMunk
    10:42 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Lets all root for the Seahawks to lose. Pete Carrol to UK!!!!!

  91. Pat_Wren
    10:43 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #85…. I don’t disagree with you. Everyone makes mistakes and deserves another chance. Petrino should not be written off as “unemployable”. I think he would come back a different person, obviously humbled, and do the things he would have to do to re-build his name and reputation. I for one would be willing to give me another chance!

  92. Desperation
    10:48 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    How come no one has acknowledged the fact that Joker’s coaching yesterday screamed of desperation. Especially the fake punt. When they went for the onside kick, I said that’s a guy who understands he is in trouble and needs to do something and even if it would’ve failed I could respect that call to try and change the game, but it still seemed a tiny bit desperate. Then he tried the fake punt and I said there is a guy who much like a problem gambler doesn’t understand risk reward, says I know I can win it back if I can just guess right.

    The risk is if you fail it’s suicide, if you succeed it’s just a first down and no guarantee of points. They say desperate times call for desperate measures and Joker is a desperate man.

    Hal Mumme used to do that stuff all of the time, but he was borderline insane knew he was always outmatched in talent and hated defense. I wonder if Joker isn’t trending to the first two of those problems.

  93. williamtitan
    10:48 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #76 yeah you made some great points. maybe we do need a change at the head coach. lets dont jump off a cliff yet. we still have 11 games left.

    if we do end up getting a new coach. winning wont happen over night and i dont know if any ky fan understands that. its not like basketball. its football and it takes a few years. changing coaches, i think is the last thing we need. in my humble opinion, winning and losing isnt all on joker phillips. how bout the players or rick mintor? not one person said he should be fired. joker is a offensive genius. the offense looked good on sunday. everyone thought that newton was going to be great look at him now. or miles simpson? the next big thing at running back? now he is on defense cause of rick mintor. joker is trying to succeed he is just doing it differently than we wanted it.

  94. Pat_Wren
    10:54 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #89. He was the “Coach-in-Waiting”. He has been involved with our Program much longer than 3 years. He was basically Coach Brooks’ main man and Heir Apparent Brooks’ last few years. However, you do make some legitimate points about the foundation of a “solid program”. I’m not sure the last few years have made that any more stable.

  95. UKBlue
    10:55 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Why are people still bring up Mike Leach name; he finally just got a job & he isn’t leaving it to come to UK. All the Mike Leach homers need to get over it, he isn’t coming. Jon Gruden isn’t coming because he loves what he is doing on MNF.

  96. BYE BYE
    10:55 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    89- 3 years is long enough…and is for sure enough time to see progress in rebuilding…but the thing is we didnt need to rebuild..he decided he was going to fire coaches that had seen success with brooks and do everything his way..which is obviously wrong. when brooks left we had a team that was challenging most teams and getting beat bad only to the very top teams in the nation…now we have to watch us get blown out because of bad coaching..the louisville game should have been A LOT closer but because of the play calling and a couple bad fumbles we couldnt make it happen…also we will struggle with teams that a SEC team should ever struggle against. Its not disrespecting the program its pressuring the AD to make a big hire instead of hiring someone who is going to put a high school playbook in and someone who is going to work well with others instead of trying to be a dictator and fire other coaches who try to give suggestions. the man has to go. he will never be able to put the program in the right direction as in the last 3 years he is going the complete opposite way and he is doing it in a hurry.

  97. Wrong
    10:55 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    TNVolunteer – He was not brought in to “rebuild” a program he was brought in to keep continuity and build off of the success that Brooks had. Brooks took the first step by getting UK to a bowl game every year in his last years, the next step is to continue off of that success (with the 3 best recruiting classes in UK history) and start winning 7-10 games some years, then start competing for the east and so on. We have regressed since Joker took over.

    He has been dominated by his in state rival in both recruiting and on the field play. He has run off many, many players (look at this years senior class).

    His biggest mistake is in order to try and get better players he fired all of Brooks’ staff and brought in guys that can recruit (ie Tee Martin). The problem is he forgot that once you get these recruits on campus you have to coach them. Brooks was famous for taking 1 and 2 stars and coaching them up, Joker is famous for running off and destroying 4 stars. Remember this, Morgan Newton was his most successful as a true freshman when Rich Brooks was the coach. What happened after that is called Joker Phillips.

  98. williamtitan
    10:57 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #89 is my best friend. just for the record. what he is saying is as good as you can get it. yeah he is a tn fan but tennessee went through more shit than what we are going through right now and look at them?? tennessee just beat the snot out of NC state. The word i have said a few times is the key word. Patience. if you dont have patience in sports then your going to be one miserable fan….

  99. Wow
    11:01 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Williamtitan– you are an idiot

  100. williamtitan
    11:05 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #99 enlighten me please…

  101. williamtitan
    11:10 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    how do you call yourself a fan when you cant even stick behind your team? man you guys have issues. i thought tennessee fans were bad but geese. football is back! at least be happy that you get to see ky play. i hate tennessee as much as you #99 but he is my best friend. look at the comments above they all said he made good points. so please enlighten me…

  102. Wow
    11:11 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    1. Do you really think fans asking for a coaching change expect instant wins? Obviously not. They are however not stupid enough to think things are getting better. It’s clear that the program is getting worse ever year.
    2. The offense is not as good as you think. Once we play against SEC teams you will think they are getting worse when in reality they are just bad.
    3. Defense wil finish as one of the worst in the NCAA and the offense will be in the bottom 25%.

  103. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    11:14 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    98 – #89 is my best friend. just for the record. what he is saying is as good as you can get it.

    Wait, what? Oh, okay. No, wait, what? What you’re implying is that someone out there might offer me what your best friend just did but it will not be as good as his? And I believe this because you two are best friends and I know you as well as I do….plus your friend went through alot of shit, being a TN fan and all. Okay, I think were on the same page now.

  104. williamtitan
    11:14 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #102 see thats the problem man. 0% confidence. not just you but everyone that is kentucky fans. its just one game. i respect everything you just said there but i dont agree with it. maybe after 4-6 games… but not now. your basically saying that you have given up. thats the problem…

  105. Doug
    11:16 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    The main goal of UK administration with the football program is to keep the program respectable enough to keep fans in the stands so money keeps flowing into the coffers of the athletic department. Even if the Cats go 2-10, we still get our share of the SEC’s massive television contract and our share of bowl receipts from conference teams. We can then take this cash and plow it into Calipari, a renovated Rupp and other basketball related expenses. The UK leaders can pretend otherwise, but this is what it’s all about. No way UK ever spends $4 million a year on a head coach. No way UK brings its facilities up to the level of even the mid-level SEC teams. If the administration at UK ever took some of these steps to develop the necessary resources and infrastructure to win at football, then I might reevaluate but this will never happen. Year after year people delude themselves that football is a priority at UK and year after year they are disappointed. They know that for most UK fans, it’s not that big a deal as long as we are going to the Final Four and winning NCs. Yes, Joker will (rightfully) be fired after this year, but let’s not kid ourselves about UK’s long term prospects.

  106. STEVE!
    11:16 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    On the positive side, not many people seem to have noted how well Morgan Newton ran the Wildcat offense.

  107. TNvolunteer
    11:17 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    94,96,97: I guess I could’ve worded some of the things a little better that I have stated. You have to take in consideration, its not necessarily a bad thing that he fired the coaches that Brooks left behind. What some of you are basically saying is Joker is intentionally trying to ruin the program. And when any coach comes into a program, it’s pretty difficult to continue off of some other coaches success. And the fact of the matter is that rebuilding is part of it. Yes, UK was an average team while Brooks was the head coach, but was seeing no progress after the continuous 6 to 7 win seasons. Maybe Joker was getting other coaches together that would work better as a team. Dooley fired nearly all of the coaching staff at TN last year, to get better chemistry as a coaching staff so that things weren’t sloppy. Basically KY had either a decent offense and NO defense or vice versa. Now the fact that Joker, may not be the coach for KY, any coach in the SEC is a risk if not a BIG name coach and even then, isnt always successful. By no means am I defending Joker, but he did have a win versus UT last year and a couple other success stories. KY needs an experienced Head Coach to come in and actually rebuild the program, but the fact of the matter after reading these comments, a lot of KY are just completely bashing him, after ONE game. You cannot base anything off of the 1st game of the year, its just rather unethical. Now obviously I can understand if theres another terrible season here, but have a little optimism here and hope for a good year. Just one loss to a rival school with great skill is highly plausible, even with a good program. KY has a decent offense this year from what I have seen, minus ball handling skills and lack of confidence. But hey UK could go to a bowl game this year, maybe beat UF, who knows. Only time will tell but the pessimistic attitude is just not something to have after a single game. Maybe Joker will fix some of the mistakes and bounce back a little bit.

  108. I'll Help
    11:19 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    William – Tennessee didn’t go through worse than us. Our “rebuilding” was when we went on probation and Brooks had to rebuild us. We had patience with Brooks and he eventually got things rolling going to bowl games in his last 3 years. Joker was handed a team in transition mode meaning we were trying to get better recruits and transition from 1-3 SEC wins to 3-4 and maybe win 7-9 games instead of the minimum 6. At a minimum Joker needed to keep the momentum of Brooks and continue winning 6 since we have 3 gimmes a year.

    He has run off or ruined several top recruits, shown little in player development and managed to run an offense that ranked in the bottom of the NCAA (not the sec) last year. This year, I am guessing we will run a defense that will rank near the bottom of the NCAA.

    This staff does little to improve players like Brooks did. His coaches knew football and how to get the most out of what they had. Joker’s coaches know how to recruit slightly better talent and that’s it.

    Every year we have this QB battle. There is no chance Morgan Newton was on the same plane as Hartline 2 years ago but that drug out forever. Same with this year. Max is the right choice from day 1, why are we wasting snaps on Newton?

    We are now back to rebuilding because of what Joker is destroying. The longer it lasts the harder it will be.

  109. williamtitan
    11:23 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #103 that best friend your talking about is my roomate. second i dont know where u are going with this… yes i know the guy. is it joke? i dont get it… if it is its not really funny. what are u implying?? that i respect what he said more than any other kentucky fan on this page? yes i do. he has been there as a fan at UT. he knows what he is talking about. 6 years man that he had to deal with the shit we are going through. first with fulmer, then kiffin, then dooley. now look at tn. they are good now. i dont know what you meant by that and for a 2nd grade teacher heading… you basically wrote like a 2nd grader. i have no idea what the hell you meant by the post.

  110. WOW
    11:23 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I am only being realistic. You’re right, I don’t have confidence. I also think that is largely due to coaching. For example, when you go for it on 4th down, need 7 yards and throw a 3 yard pass when you clearly don’t have playmakers to make that work there are clear problems with the decision making. This is only one example and I’m sure if you would open your eyes, you would see many others that justify the current feeling that this coaching staff is terrible.

  111. BlewHare
    11:28 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #89 Remembering last November in Lexington,we might want to wait one more game before we proclaim the drought over.

  112. TNvolunteer
    11:31 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    111: I’m not too fond of that memory, but it did happen. And Im not sure if your saying TN’s drought or KY’s drought.

  113. njCat
    11:31 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    104. You’ve got quite an approach for evaluating your team…. ignore the facts in front of your face and stick to your guns regardless. If you were making decisions at UK, we’d still have Bill Curry and Tubby Smith (or BCG) and would be the laughing stock of the SEC.

    Fact is, if the fans continue to support a losing program, the administration has no reason to make changes and it will always be loser. If thats your idea of fun, have at it.

    You are what is called an enabler… the most poisonous player on a losing team.

  114. williamtitan
    11:35 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #110 what you said right there makes total sense. maybe we had a couple recievers down field (10-20 yards). when andre woodson was there i remember joker doing those plays. those short screen plays but he had andre throw the ball down the field more too. i think its part of his offense that seems to work. smith had 280 yards passing off of it. it was somewhat working. smith probably wasnt thinking. see i dont know either. like the 4th and long punt fake?? what the hell? shouldnt have happened. people’s opinions matter to me and i respect your opinion and everyone else’s. joker is trying. i have my doubts… not going to lie. everyone does. i know joker knew how big this game was. we all knew how big this game was. maybe thats why the outcome was the way it was. he tried to hard. he did things he never has done ever in his career. thats why playing the rest of this season is so important. we dont know whats going to happen. we may have predictions but that doesnt mean squate. thats why they play the game.

  115. TNvolunteer
    11:36 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #113: I’m sorry, you must consider yourself a fair-weather fan, and a disabler. Must be nice to ignore your team in a bad situation. He’s not saying “Hell yeah! Let’s keep Joker! Hell, give him an extension for God’s sake!!!” No. He’s just supporting a season that has had ONE game played. You can’t judge a team from one game. Yes, Joker is failing to produce wins in the past 2 years, but one loss doesn’t mean anything yet. But we all know when they win <5 games then he will get the boot which he deserves, but hell, I think it's alright to support your team with something that you can't change 1 game into the season.. And by the way, Kentucky is the laughing stock of the SEC, maybe not in basketball, but in football.

  116. williamtitan
    11:39 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    #113 your impossible man… u might as well go hide in the dark and wait till basketball season. support the team!!! name the positives for christ’s sake.

  117. williamtitan
    11:43 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    wow silenced… by a UT fan!!! Boom Roasted GO CATS!!!

  118. njCat
    11:43 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Great picture btw.. Joker looks like he’s in shock seeing his career go up in smoke and Mitch looks like he might actually be coming to terms with what has to be done. If KY loses or is pressed in the next two games, Mitch is really gonna feel the heat.

  119. njCat
    11:48 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    114. My comments are based on Joker and Mitch’s performance over the past 6 years, not the last game. The program is in a death spiral. You either pull the cord or go down in flames.

    The world is not all sweetness and light. Sometimes bad things happen. You can either deal with the issues when the facts dictate what needs to be done or stick your head in the ground like an ostrich and get eaten.

    Like I said… fans like you are the reason we have a crappy football team. You put up with it.

  120. JBR
    11:49 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    TN…don’t know how much UK football you watch…or what your football IQ is, but you are completely wrong stating the generic, politically correct “3 years is not enough” excuse. Many UK fans are basketball first, and know little about the game of football. But there is a reason that so many bailed SO quickly on Joker…they may not be able to verbalize it like they should, but there is a reason.

    That reason is that if you watch UK football under Joker closely, you will see many, many things that are troubling for a football program. The lack of disciple, huge player attrition, the lack of effort, the lack of heart, the lack of aggression. I will take a group of inferior athletes that go out and give it their all…I will support that, but this program has become a joke under our fittingly named Joker. Watch the players on the sidelines…how they act while getting their tails handed to them. Watch the lack of heart on the field. Listen to Joker speak…hell, the players probably can never understand what he is tryig to tell them..I don’t think he has ever completed a full sentence.

    This is not about political correctness or generalities. It is about reality. The ONLY argument I hear for Joker is just that…those general, needs more time for a program type of crap. There is NOTHING that you can show me on the field or in the locker room that is a positive. Nothing. Anybody that knows the sport would watch this team and shake their heads. I have probably watched all or parts of 15 games this extended weekend, and not one other time have I heard the broadcasters make fun of a D1 team or question their heart like they did for UK. Not one time did I question another teams’s heart. I saw teams outclassed, I saw teams lose big…but never with the absolute cluelessness that UK routinely shows under Joker. Anybody claiming that he deserves more time is clueless about this game.

  121. JBR
    11:50 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    williamtitan…you are just a freakin loser if you really think that Joker can improve this.

  122. njCat
    11:55 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    115. Following your line of thinking, Mitch should tell Joker he has his full support no matter what for as long as he needs… say 20 years. After all, ‘it takes time’ to build a solid foundation. lol

    Funny thing though.. it actually doesn’t take much time for losers to be found out. Happens in all walks of life. Like someone pointed out earlier, Joker was the leader of one of the worst offenses in college football BEFORE he was named head coach. He has done nothing but prove his continued ineptness since he took over the program as HC. I feel bad for him because he has so much history w/ the program and seems to be a very nice guy. Unfortunaely, those factors have very little to do w/ building a successful program.

  123. PhotographyFan
    11:56 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Great photo. I remember when fans wanted to fire Coach Brooks. But I never gave up. Coach Brooks eventually led UK to many bowl games. I am still in the game for Coach Phillips! Go Cats!

  124. rainingblood
    12:00 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    you cant judge by 30 min. tv shows but i watched the inside college FB or whatever its called last season on espn and what it did was go in depth at pratices of different schools across the nation. Well they aired UK’s practice and i immediately noticed that JP was somewhat soft in his ways of coaching his players. You know..”come on guys try again” I watched the whole thing taking that opinion with me. The next school was Alabama and the difference between Saban and Phillips was night and day(ha). Dude was losing his mind! It seems to be the same difference in Kragthorpe compared to Petrino. Nice people finish last.
    Now hows about a bit of raining blood from slayer to intro the players at the house? Not everyone likes it but if you keep out the lyrics and loop the first 30 sec’s or so, it would GROW on the players and fans and it would be an immediate shot of adrenaline good for at least the 1st set of downs. Then you take other parts of the song and use them through out the rest of the game. 3rd downs etc. The wocka flocka is ok but i would rather see those boys pumped out of their minds and ready to kick some ass than doing the dougie in that tunnel. Lets make our FB program stand out and be different. LSU uses pantera…im just sayin. That music is emotional and youngins are emotional. With 70,000 people and this intro there would be emotion spilling out of commonwealth stadium. Its what intros are for anyways. Who cares what the bands name is or what the song is titled and it doesnt matter if the players like it or not. IT WILL GROW and be a common theme much like wisconsins 3rdqtr “jump around”.

  125. True Story
    12:06 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    Under Joker we have become the retarded, fat kid of the SEC. Catching passes is improvement? Really? So now that we’ve got that basic fundamental down, maybe we can work on ummm… playing football? What an absurd conversation. There is no debate. There is no argument. Look to every game for the past 2-seasons and if you support Joker you MUST be silent. We beat a rancid Tennessee team with a circus freak, sideshow of game plan. We can’t whip out the bizarre every game, we MUST become a real football team and that has proven that it can not happen under our current situation. If the bastards in Frankfort won’t get it done, then another way must be found. Mr. Barnhart, FIND IT.

  126. True Story
    12:08 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    124. Raining blood… slayer… okay, maybe we ARE the retarded fat kid of the SEC.

  127. Yabba Do
    12:22 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    It’s time for UK to go all in on football, or get out of the football business all together. The fans deserve the same committment be given to football as is given to basketball. That means money spent on the best coaches and best facilities. Just trying to get by can no longer be accepted.

  128. Tom Seaver
    12:31 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    In 2006, Loserville hung 59 on us. The loss put Rich Brooks’ record at 5-18 up to that point. From there, Brooks proceeded to go 29-22 and win three bowl games and people here would rip how soft our non-conference schedule was and how the bowls we went to were lousy bowls and complain how easy it was to get into a bowl game now and how we lost this game we should have won. Essentially, to those people, losing games should be replaced by winning games and winning games should be replaced by winning more games. All of this in the toughest football conference in the nation and all of this with a vocal portion of the fan base that is looking for a reason to look forward to basketball season. Eh. Whatever. I hope Joker gets extended just to drive these jerks crazier than they are.

  129. carnifex
    1:26 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    Ya’ gotta’ love the sunshine pumpers! Bless theit hearts. “It’s just 1 game!” “You have to wait for more time!” “It’s not fair!”

    Let’s look at these bromides.

    “It’s just 1 game!” No. It’s not just 1 game. It’s the losing to a Pitt team that didn’t have a coach. It’s punting on 4th and 4 at Tennessee. It’s watching Newton sack himself. It’s the whole miserable ball of goo that has been UK football for the past 3 years. So don’t give us “It’s just 1 game” crap.

    “You have to give Joker more time” Why? Are his last place rated recruiting classes going to magically get better? You do realize that every senior that graduated was known to be graduating, but no replacements were recruited. Or if they were, they left/flunked/disappeared/were kidnapped by aliens. We’ve got freaking walkons starting! This is a clue that your worlds greatest recruiter, ain’t!

    “It’s not fair!” I actually love this one. Not fair! Not fair! What’s not fair is Paris Hilton being richer than Crossu s.(look it up) What’s not fair is watching “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” What’s not fair is me not being in a love quadrangle with Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, and Kate Upton. With Sofia Vergara as my mistress. In otherwords life ain’t freakin’ fair. Big boys get over it. Joker is making 1.7 mil. a year to watch other people play a game. Is that fair?

    I hope that ends the sunshine pumper schooling for the day.

  130. Rich Madky
    5:44 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    128-You are obviously illiterate. Brooks inherited a probation strapped team…He had zero chance at the beginning because he had about 60 players. Phillips was hired for the stated reason of keeping the program continuity!. What’s he done? He’s taken us back to Bill Freakin’ Curry!

  131. putinrichie
    6:19 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    It’s funny reading through these responses, because Matt proved his point to a tee. People generally saw the outcome that they believed going into the game. The people who say the offense didn’t improve much and discredit the improvements here are just as bad as the people who still defend Joker and say he deserves more time. Both parties are just stubborn and wrong. Basically the Joker haters and pessimists refuse to look at anything as a positive and will try to spin even positives into a negative and the Joker apologists refuse to accept the downward spiral that is the UK football program.

  132. Big T
    6:48 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    I honestly think I could have written most of the KSR posts from this weekend back in June. Entirely predictable. Don’t tell me I’m not a real fan cause I’m pissed. Don’t tell me Joker has good young recruits. Don’t tell me offense looked improved. WE SCORED 14 GODDAMN POINTS AGAINTS UL! Joker is a train wreck and has been since day one. A turd in a 3/4 sleeve pullover is still a turd! Sugar coat it any way you like just stop calling me a bad fan.

    7:59 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    Matt Jones would make a good spokesman for the Taliban. He can sugar coat a pile of shit and hand feed it to the unwashed masses in trailer parks across the Commonwealth. Face it, Yew Kay sUcKs in football. ALWAYS has, ALWAYS will.
    Better to be a contender than a constant doormat!!

  134. Dutch
    8:28 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    If a ship sets out on a journey across the sea and is getting nowhere,do you throw the crew overboard or the captain? It’s time! We have many good players on this team. This situation is not their fault! A new direction is what this school needs. We are in the Southeaster Conference people! This school should make a major decision on wheather we stay in this conference or enter a mid major in football! We the people that purchase the tickets expect and deserve more. Mr. Barnhardt please let this man go now!

  135. Coyote Hunter
    8:52 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    Is Mitch showing Joker the door in the picture? Hope so….

  136. BPM
    8:59 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    Great question Steve. Is there any reasonable explanation for why Newton came in to run the wildcat? Didn’t we just spend the last 2 and 1/2 years establishing that Newton was not a running quarterback? Yet another baffling decision by this coaching staff.

  137. barn
    9:23 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    107–you say joker hasn’t had enough time to rebuild. do you know how long he has been a integral part of this football program?

  138. ukcat58
    10:18 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    It’s Joker time and bye bye birdie – We are favored by 7 against Kent – The MAC has beaten us before and can again, Saturday – Rewind the game film and remember the multiple missteps of Joker – UL lines up for a two point conversion and we look like a deer in the head lights – We try a fake punt, from where? deep in our own territory –
    The bleeding will continue through a very long season – Barnhart needs to pull the string by mid-season to give future recruits a sense of hope that a real football coach may be coming in 2013.

  139. jp123
    10:35 am September 4, 2012 Permalink

    I may be the last person to comment on this thread but Matt Jones you sir are an idiot. UK looked terrible. They were flat again. No real emotion. Yes the offense moved the ball but only scored 14 points. The only reason we moved the ball in the second half was bc Strong started rotating his second team into the mix. Strong is friends with Joker and he was trying to help him out. Joker needs to go. Stop sitting on the fence.

  140. tony
    12:47 pm September 4, 2012 Permalink

    To all you pepole that think the “JOKE” needs more time, shame on you for being so uninformed! JOKER is just that, A JOKE and he needs to go! The people that write about what Brookes did his first few years must have not followed UK football and knew what he came into.
    These BAD, BAD football players are all 100% recruited by the JOKE and coached by the JOKE.
    I feel certain that most of them have actually gone backward after leaving high school and being tought by the JOKE !!!

  141. tony
    12:51 pm September 4, 2012 Permalink

    What about the break we get on the incomplete pass call? Only to watch the JOKE try and kick a field goal instead of going for a 4th & 4. Recall how he was going to really open up the offence and take some shots down field….with his job on the line he tries to kick a field goal against a team that was running it down out throats at will.
    That field goal would have made all the diffence in the world, great call you ^%$#*(^ idiot !

  142. tony
    12:55 pm September 4, 2012 Permalink

    Remeber how all the UK basketball fans are always saying….Keep Ricky, please don’t fire NITino? Well what about Charlie Strong trying to make certain that the JOKE does not get fired? He was great calling the dogs off of his boy and not beating us by 50 and putting the real heat on the JOKE !!!

  143. Prognosis Negative
    2:07 pm September 4, 2012 Permalink

    “Well, Joker, looks like we’ll be climbing a mountain together next year because with the way you coach and my crappy AD ability we are going to have plenty of time on our hands.”