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Tuesday’s Football Practice Notes and Podcast

For the first time since AD Mitch Barnhart published a letter to Big Blue Nation about the impending dismissal of Joker Phillips, the current Kentucky football coach met with the media. It was, understandably, a very tough moment to be a part of. Phillips, even while acknowledging his fate at the end of the current season, still handled the media with professionalism and class. Phillips began by talking about his time growing up in Franklin, KY and later committing to playing football at UK, a place where’s he’s spent most of his adult life. He continued by stressing that he will always be a part of Big Blue Nation and understands that during his time as head coach, he “just didn’t get the job done.” It’s sad to see such a good guy let go from a position he’s so passionate about, but after the product that was put on the football field these last couple of months, a change had to be made.


-It’s tough to finish your collegiate career without a bowl game appearance, but it’s even tougher to know that you couldn’t do anything to save your coach’s job. C Matt Smith is one of those seniors that will exit with Phillips. Smith said it’s tough to see the guy that brought him to Kentucky, and “the first person he shook hands with” in the program, to exit in this manner. “I don’t think any of us expected [the firing] to come with two games left. It’s tough, I hate to see him go like this.”

-Smith described the Kentucky locker room as “silent” when Phillips and Barnhart broke the news to the players. He said there were even some players in tears. “When you’ve been a part of something like this, and you spend almost everyday with people, it’s tough to know they’ll be gone after this season is over.”

-You would think that with knowing a coach won’t be there more than two more games there would be a drop of in practice intensity by the players. Not so, said LB Avery Williamson. “Practice was actually good. It’s a different feeling, you know, coming into meetings and stuff. But, you have to try and ignore [the distractions] as much as you can. You now know there is a time limit with these coaches, and that’s the biggest difference.”

-Williamson, a junior, was asked if he had a preference of who would be Kentucky’s next head coach. “Nope,” he replied. “Just someone who cares about us as more than just players.”

DL Donte Rumph is happy that Phillips decided to finish out the season. “We are all very excited he’ll be with us these last two games. It shows how much he loves this team and this university.”

-Rumph said that the team will definitely miss Phillips next year. “He’s a great guy. We love him and he’s the reason a lot of us are here. We just have to finish strong for him, for our seniors, for coaching staff, and for each other.


Matt and the Gang talked about the UK/Transy game, UK Football coaching search, and much much more. Have a listen.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

29 Comments for Tuesday’s Football Practice Notes and Podcast

  1. Bob Sugar
    3:23 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I’m all for packing the stadium but not to support the players. Instead it’s to show a committment to the program and that our protest of Joker was the reason no one showed up to the games in the first place. His coaching was unacceptable. HE most certainly DID NOT beat UT or break the streak– the players did that, probably despite Joker. We aren’t finishing anything for Joker. Joker sucked and deserves no further recognition. Joker has been and will continue to be well paid for his failures and the sooner we realize that the better. IF JOKER IS SUCH A NICE GUY HE SHOULD GIVE BACK ALL THE MONEY HE GETS FROM THE REMAINDER OF HIS CONTRACT TOP THE FOOTBALL PROGRAM HE “LOVES” AND RAN INTO THE GROUND!!!!

    3:23 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I hate seeing people fail…….well, make that good people fail. When Billy Clyde didn’t work out the reasons were obvious and mostly of his own making. This one I can’t understand, or at least don’t have the info to understand.

  3. Bluecross
    3:27 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #1 is the Leader of the Fellowship of the Miserable. Please crawl back under the rock you came from.

  4. Pat Towles Dad
    3:29 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker Phillips is lazy and mailed it in.

  5. caring
    4:00 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    2) I’m totally with you. I really felt Joker was the right man for the hire in 2010. I have a hard time coming to grips with what has happened within the program. I have no doubt Joker can be successful in the future, but learning the ropes of head coach in the SEC would have to be tough. I truly wish him the best. He deserves it. He is a great person and passionate about his players and the UK programs.

    4:00 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker, for the most part, put is head coaching job in the hands of Morgan Newton, the five star player never could get it done. I think by far the weakest QB in the last 50 years at Kentucky. Just not a SEC player at QB. If he had been a true five star player we would not be here now.

  7. Hawk
    4:01 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I think it was the correct decision to let Joker go. That doesn’t change the fact that he was all class. All the time.

  8. bbmike
    4:08 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #1 must have loved bill curry. seriously, you could cheer for other teams if you don’t want to support the kids/program. Me-I’ll be at the game showing support…and some class.

  9. BravoBigBlue
    4:08 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    A lot of UK fans wanted Joker to succeed as head coach. Most wish him well. But to be brutally honest, he was in no way, shape, or form cut out to be an SEC head football coach. And this was obvious almost from the beginning, not just based on “the product on the field these last couple of months”. The program started its nose dive as soon as Joker took over. And it reached the depths of misery that it had not seen since the Curry days. I say no more hiring guys cause they’re nice, loyal, or whatever other reason that does not make them a quslity head football coach. Find the best one you can get and hire him. Thanks and good luck Joker. Do your job, Barnhart, like your job depends on it. It should!

  10. Bob snorts sugar
    4:15 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    oh give me a freakin’ break. Saying Joker ran UK football into the ground is ridiculous. #1 I am no Joker apologist. Time for him to go. But to act like UK has EVER had sustained success is a joke. THERE WAS REALLY NOT MUCH TO RUN INTO THE GROUND! We didn’t go from 11-1 every year to falling off the cliff. We were barely, BARELY reaching .500 records anyway. The dirty little secret is that Rich Brooks saw what was coming up when he left — he knew that the program had peaked under him and saw the subpar roster coming into the next year, so he was smart to call it quits when he did. So when UK wins vs. UT it’s the players that deserve the credit (when a receiver in one week is prepped to play QB), but when Vandy crushes us its all the coaches fault and players deserve no blame? Do us all a favor sugar, just go ahead and stay home for the last home game anyway.

  11. BigBlueAces
    4:23 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    10….Spot on…..

  12. Old Pogue Bourbon
    4:23 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Mike Leach article worth reading

    I’m starting a one man campaign…I really think he is the right man for the job.

  13. getting old
    4:26 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #6 Spot on

  14. Smith Bay Point
    4:28 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Man, it is a little more bearable seeing Joker’s picture when you know he is the EX-coach.

    Got tough seeing his pic and not wnating to punch my monitor (or phone).

    Still wanna punch Mitch though.

  15. lip set
    5:00 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    2.5 million dollars to leave!! can u people be real? u want us to show up in order to show our appreciation? give me 2.5 mill to quit something! i think thats more than enough appreciation! i think he should have to stay and clean bleachers in order to keep his salary

  16. SevenT
    5:01 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink


    You Suck Joker gave everything he has to Kentucky Football. It just didn’t work out for him as the Head Coach. You got what you wanted so STFU loser.

  17. split lip
    5:30 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #15 Let’s assume you are a college football coach. When a school looks to hire a coach, it extends a contract to you and you sign if you want the job (Billy Gillispie notwithstanding). In ALL of these contracts, in order to attract the coach to the job, and simply because the other 130 BCS schools (or whatever the # is), include it, there is a buyout clause. If a coach is let go, he is due the remainder of his contract, IF that is included in the contract. NOW HOW MANY COACHES DO YOU KNOW THAT WALK AWAY FROM THAT WHEN IT IS INCLUDED IN THE CONTRACT? And the bigger question is, again assuming you are one of those coaches, WOULD YOU? that’s what I thought. Joker, like EVERY SINGLE UK coach before him dating to Bear Bryant, is leaving with a losing record. So what? So will the next guy.

  18. Cats in the NBA
    5:47 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Under Joker the UK team had some of the most ill-prepared, unmotivated and downright embarrassing losses in the entire history of the school. The bowl game vs. Pittsburgh? The loss to WKU? The 40-0 ‘throw up the white flag’ vs. Vanderbilt? The frickin MERCY RULE game vs. Arkansas?

    Even with the exact same record as he has now, Joker could still be here if not for the ENORMITY of the failure. He would still be here.

  19. Trinx
    6:04 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    suggest Joker for head of football operations. He would be ideal and we need one!

  20. greg
    6:13 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    U can’t build a football team from nothing to something in two yrs. We started with smith as qb and were off to a decent start, then the dam broke and the haters hated. So now joker, a player for UK before becoming a coach, gave what he had. So why don’t idiots keeps their dirty stinking laundry at their own house and let someone be let go with dignity. Ur making the school look like a place that is so backward and hatefilled that no players would wanna come. Just like tubby and for sale signs……so much hate and hard hearted people. He did well under rich brooks and u want him to earn his pay, keep him on staff and bring in a more polished coach. Nevermind, u just proved how immature and backwards our fans and alumni can be. Well, goodluck, joker and players.

  21. obi-wan
    6:23 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    You guys are like battered spouses refusing to press charges. The program you all claim to love so much has been driven into the ground with one of the worst teams ever fielded at Kentucky – and that’s saying something. Show a little of this dignity you are imbuing on Joker for crying out loud and forget the touchy-feely lovefest, it’s embarrassing.

  22. Beavis
    6:26 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    What is wrong with some of the fan base,,,,anyone that does not agree with the Joker lovers are called haters,,,low lives,,,hillbillies,,,,and much worse. You Joker lovers are entitled to your opinions and the people that “hate” what he has done to the program and future recruiting efforts are entitled to theirs. The man can not coach.

  23. gridiron_cat
    6:27 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #10 – spot on, I follow recruiting closely and the cupboard was bare when Brooks left except for Cobb and Trevathan. M Newton never panned out, his entire QB recruiting class was a bust nationwide.

    Haven’t been on here for a long time because of insane posters like #1 or #15. I was hoping they would be a little more positive now that their evil nemesis Joker was gone. Seriously, some people will never be happy. I’m guessing that #1 might have been the guy that called in last year during the basketball season because they didn’t think Brian Long appreciated his opportunity. LOL.

    Simply put – Joker tried and failed at a job where so many have tried and failed before him. I hoped it would work out simply for the potential long term success which could come from it. It definitely did not. I still think he is one of the best recruiters and individual position coaches in the country (neither of which you actually do as a HC which was the problem for him I guess). Good luck to one of our own, I wish him the best, and he deserves every bit of his buy-out IMO simply for having dealt with the level of crap he’s taken the last 2 years from the Fellowship of the Miserable fanbase like Mr. Sugar above. Coaching changes = player transfers but we do have some studs on this team in the Fr and So classes that will be great if they stick around for a new coaching staff. Hope springs eternal for UK football.

  24. gridiron_cat
    6:38 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #21, 22 – Seriously, hate intelligently is all I ask. Don’t blame Joker Phillips for UK football being terrible for 60 years. I hardly think that’s his fault and let’s not act like we were AWESOME when Brooks left – 7-5 as I recall. That record gets you fired at most SEC schools. I love what Brooks did for the program but the old man saw we had little to nothing left in the undergraduate classes and left while the getting was good. Everybody good on this team now is a Fr or So – pretty much backs that up.

  25. Beavis
    6:44 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    # 24 Agree somewhat. But what was troubling about Joker ,,,,the kids did not look coached and they got worse every year. Would get anyone fired.

  26. Tim Dearinger
    6:47 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with BravoBigBlue’s comments about how the hire was a bad one. However, Joker Phillips has been a great asset to UK football. First as a player and as an assistant coach and recruiter. His UK legacy is now tainted. He will be missed, especially in the recruiting arena.

  27. Tej
    8:10 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #23 makes good points.
    Personal attacks against Joker and Mitch Barnhart serve no purpose except to show how small-minded some people can be. Joker Phillips tried hard to win at UK but he failed. Anyone who knows Joker is aware that he is a good person, loyal to UK and loyal to his players. The buyout is a contractual matter that every coach at Div 1 level includes in his negotiations as someone said. I read somewhere that Derek Dooley and his staff are entitled to $9.3 million. Hopefully, fans show up next Sat to honor seniors, to show underclassmen we care about them, and to thank Joker for his loyalty. Also, let’s be glad #1and #15 will stay home.

  28. Joker Sucks
    8:59 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I mean seriously, can you homers not see Joker was the worst coach in the history of UK football. This fake love makes me want to vomit.

  29. BagOverHead
    11:01 am November 7, 2012 Permalink

    NO WAY I am spending another nickle to see this bunch of losers get punched in the mouth by SAMFORD!!