Joker will not Return

After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season. I do so with a heavy heart for a man who has served his alma mater for almost 22 years as a player and a coach. Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. I have enjoyed working alongside him and am thankful for his friendship for the last decade. His concern for the entire program, his work and teaching of young people, his humanitarian work, and the friendship we all enjoy with him will long surpass the scoreboard. I want to thank him for all of those things on behalf of Kentucky.

The search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be managed internally. I understand the challenge and significance of finding a new leader for our football program. It will be done with great concern for our student-athletes, students of the University of Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC.

 

 

Hopefully, Mitch Barnhart is serious about that last line and the Board of Trustees and the UKAA are on board as well.

UK has given much lip service to the idea of a real football program at UK.  They’ve never lived up to the talk, though.  If UK is to be serious about football, it must be committed to massive change.  A whole new approach is needed and perhaps a whole new Board of Trustees will be necessary.

The entire culture must change for UK to become a championship contender in the SEC and the BCS.

Mitch Barnhart; “Tis but a flesh wound!”

Mitch Barnhart on Kentucky Football”

“Football is not where we want it to be just yet and we’ve got to work on that. We made some progress and climbed up the hill a little bit and we’re doing some good things in a really tough league but we’ve found that we’ve stubbed our toes a little bit. We’ve got to figure that out and we’ll get that figured out.”

dey s'posed to be SEC!!!

dey s’posed to be SEC!!!

Mitch, you stupid bastard!   Jokers got no arms left!

What the hell is this guy smoking?

When You’ve Lost Larry Vaught…

When you’ve lost the support of Larry Vaught and your name is Joker Phillips, it’s time to pack your bags.

Larry has been one of the steadfast supporters of the Joke.  Now, even Larry has publicly stated that the Joke is a lost cause.

Kentucky has to face the obvious and that is a change has to be made based on performance

Instead, it’s time to face the obvious — something just has not clicked in Phillips’ three years as head coach and the Wildcat have to make a change, especially after the embarrassing 49-7 loss at Arkansas Saturday. The score would have been worse if the game had not been stopped midway of the third quarter when a second lightning storm hit after a one-hour delay in the first half and this week’s game with Georgia could be just as one-sided since the Bulldogs opened as a 27-point favorite even with the game in Lexington.

And this from Deadspin is, well, dead on…

Arkansas 49, Kentucky 7: It’s kind of amazing we’ve gone this long without talking about Kentucky, the team so bad Nature couldn’t stand to watch anymore. The Wildcats got early dismissal against the Razorbacks with a third of the game left. What had they done with the previous two-thirds?

– Allowed Arkansas to rack up 161 rushing yards and 533 total yards, both near season highs

– Forced zero turnovers against an offense that had given the ball away at least two times in all of its previous games

– Secured the longest Kentucky losing streak since 2004

All without even needing to play the last 20 minutes, because if you’re going to fail, at least fail efficiently.

From 2005 to 2010, the Wildcats have won at least two conference games a season, and they’ll need to split their last four games against Georgia, Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee to keep that mostly sad pattern of achievement alive. Fortunately, they’re armed with a defense ranked next to last in the nation in third-down conversions and passing-completion allowed. (It’s possible that I don’t know what the word “fortunately” means because I’m a product of Florida’s public school system.)

What about Joker made people think that he could do it at UK?

What made anyone think that he’d be successful at UK?

He’s not the guy for UK. He doesn’t have the imagination or the discipline to be successful at UK and he never did.

Any coach whom the players “like” will never win or win big at UK. That is one of Joker’s greatest liabilities at a program like UK.

Of course, this is simply my opinion.

First time that I heard a player say that they loved Joker (not that they respected Joker), I knew it was just a matter of time before the wheels fell off.

If you have great recruits, you can allow them to love you. If you have the recruits that Joker has brought in, those guys have to hate you because you work them so hard and drive them so hard that the very thought of you scares the heck out of them.

Joker doesn’t have that and never will.

He’d probably be successful at another program with higher talent. Just not at UK.

That’s one of the reasons that I knew this day would come sooner rather than later.

That is also exactly why a Bobby Petrino would be successful at UK. He’ll take that mediocre talent and turn it into something greater than it’s parts.

I can’t imagine that there is anything left to say after Fayetteville.  Joker should be fired now.  Right now.  Name anyone interim coach.  Start talking to Bobby Petrino.

Just do it.

Joker Phillips ~ Fire Him Now!

It was obvious from the beginning that Joker would not work out.  He didn’t have it.  Whatever it is that successful coaches like Nick Saban and Charlie Strong have.  Joker can’t even hold Willie Taggert’s jock.  He might be a great guy but he’s not a great coach.  I knew it back when he was promoted to Head Coach.  Two year have passed and, finally, the rest of the Big Blue Nation has caught on.

With the loss to the Hilltoppers, Joker Phillips ended the discussion on his suitability for the HC position.  Mitch Barnhart will terminate Joker’s employment as Kentucky’s Football Coach at the end of the season.  Barnhart would be justified in releasing Joker immediately.

No self-respecting SEC Football Program should ever lose to a Sun Belt team.  There simply is no excuse for it.

FIRE JOKER NOW!

If Mitch Barnhart is smart, he immediately calls and locks up Bobby Petrino.  Place a morality clause in the contract if necessary.  That should satisfy the moralists and busybodies who think that a Football Coach should be a Saint and walk on water with Jesus and John the Baptist.

Whatever happens, Kentucky Football needs a John Calipari type hire to get Kentucky Football on track to winning.   Barnhart needs to find a rockstar coach.  Nothing less will do.

The Death of UK Football

Mitch Barnhart has come out today with the statement that Joker Phillips will be “given the time to turn the program around.”

He’s being given next year to turn things around.  By the time The Joke is done, UK Football will be decimated.

Mr. Barnhart should have brought the Grim Reaper with him to the Press Conference.  This announcements is tantamount to a death sentence on the program.  The retention of Joker Phillips crushes the hopes of  a program that is on it’s death bed.

UK Football dies next year.  2012 will be uglier than the worst of the Curry years.  Sure, The Joke will defeat 3 cupcakes.  Charlie Strong and his Cards, however, will run through Joker like a hot knife through butter.  Vanderbilt will continue to improve under a Coach who actually knows his job.  The only team that UK defeated in the SEC fired their coach and will hire someone better than The Joke.

No more bowl games for UK.  It’s back to 40 and 50 point shellackings by UT, UF, LSU, Bama and whoever is fortunate enough to be scheduled on the SECs built in Cupcakes schedule.

It’s up to the fans now.  If they attend the games and “support the team,” there will be no incentive for change.  However, if they steadfastly refuse to spend their hard earned money to see Kentucky Football fail under The Joke, Barnhart and the Board of Trustees will have no choice but to get rid of The Joke.

I have no faith in the UK Football Fan Base, though.  They have shown that they will buy into the program no matter how pathetic a team is fielded.  It’s almost a badge of honor to be able to state that “I was there for the worst of the Curry years.”  Now they’ll be able to say that they were there through the worst Coach in UK History as well.  That’s a hell of a feat for the The Joke.  UK has had some terrible coaching.

But this is par for the course for UK Football.  Two steps forward, five steps back.  This time, UK may not recover.  At best, it will take a decade to undo the damage wrought by the Head Coach in Waiting.

If Joker really loved the program as so many say that he does, he’d resign.  Unless he’s a moron, he’s a millionaire by now.  He’ll never get a better offer as a head coach as he’s failed miserably at UK.  He sits out a year or two.  Someone will eventually call him up to be an Offensive Coordinator.

Joker Phillips set to Resign

There may be smoke to the rumors.  It’s all over the net that Joker Phillips will announce that he is leaving UK Football after the Tennessee game this weekend.

The reasons range from his alleged off the field behavior to his incompetence on the field.   Personally, I believe that if he is resigning, it’s because he’s being forced out because some of these rumors are true.

Personally, I never thought that he’d work out.  I was never impressed with the run of cupcake beatings and wins against down teams such as UL, Vandy and the Mississippi twins to get to a minor Bowl Game.  The Infamous Cupcake Strategy of Rich Brooks.  I was underwhelmed by it all.  Rich Brooks had two decent teams —  2006 and 2007.  Both seasons had wins against quality opponents and ended with victories in the Music City Bowl.  Every other year was mediocre at best.  Those years were the lone “good years” of the Rich Brooks tenure.

Joker bought into the Cupcake Strategy.  That said enough about him for me.  It was winning by sleight of hand.  Joker was made Head Coach in Waiting and went on to be a dismal failure.  He could beat the cupcakes.  He hasn’t proven that he can beat the lower level SEC schools and UL took him out this year.   If he stays, there will be no improvement.  Retaining Joker will only delay the inevitable and set UK Football back further.   UK Football can not afford to be set back any further.

Hopefully the rumors are true about him resigning.  Joker will resign or be forced out and UK can move on.  If it does happen, UKAA will need to hit a home run in their hire.  Leach.  Gruden.  Someone who can energize the program.  Someone who can build something real rather than attempt to fool UK fans with smoke and mirrors.

If nothing is done this year, look for Commonwealth Stadium to be a cemetery next year.  Only the diehard fans who want to support the players will show up for the games.  Average attendance will be less than 50,000.

The consensus seems to be that Joker will not resign.  It’s either force him out of let him play out his contract.  If he’s back next year, it’s going to be ugly.

Kentucky Football: Signs of things to come?

Is this a sign of terrible things to come for UK football?  Is it the coaches working the kinks out of inexperience?  Was it just a momentary stroke of good fortune on the part of MTSU and UK overcame their mistakes to win a ball game.

I’ve been following UK football for a while now.  I’ve been talking to UK football fans who have followed the program for years.  One recurring theme when it comes to UK football is that every time UK starts to do well, the program self-destructs.  Usually probation over recruiting violations.  Most often, UK is caught at something comparatively laughable.  But instead of fighting the NCAA like UT and Bama and USC, UK cooperates and is burned for their efforts.

USC gets a Reggie Bush and his agents.  No problem.  Ohio State gets caught paying it’s players thousand.  No problem.  A teacher comes out and verifies that UT is cheating academically, hell, the teacher gets fired and UT is cleared of any and all cheating.

UK gives a couple of jackets away and is caught writing a grand worth of checks.  Probation time.

UK has enjoyed two successful seasons.  8-5 Bowl years.  Sounds great.  I love it.  But I’m still waiting for the other shoe to fall.  In some fashion or another.

I hope to god it doesn’t happen.  I want the program to be successful.  I’d love to Rich Brooks to retire with a BCS Bowl added to his resume.

Coach Brooks and company are making great gains in recruiting.  This is hopeful.  Signs of a program on the rise.  They have beat UL two years in a row.  This year they embarrassed the Cards in their own stadium.  The Card fans ran out on their team before the 3rd quarter was over.  Last year, Brooks had this team roaring.  Defeating the #1 LSU in a huge upset.  Ranked #8 in the country at one point.  Then came 3 losses in a row.  The Cats just didn’t have the depth to compete.  Not even with Mississippi State.  That’s not Brooks fault.  That’s Kentucky Football.

Brooks seem to be doing everything right.  He’s adding depth and talent.  UK finally has a respectable Defense.  A first in my memory.

I hope the end of the game is a symbol of persistance and not a sign of things starting to unravel.  Kentucky plays in the SEC.  If they don’t tighten up, there will be plenty of losses.  UF.  UGa.  UT.  Bama.  All on the schedule.  USC and Spurrier are on the schedule.  the Gamecocks might be down.  With Spurrier, they are never out.

UK must get at least 3 wins in the SEC.  Arkansas, USC, VAndy and Miss.  Those are 4 winnable games.  UK has to take care of business here.  That would be an 8 wins season and a good bowl game.

UT looks beatable this season.  But Phat Phil isn’t going to take that last game of the season off.  He’ll be ready for UK.  That is for certain.  In a down year like this one seems to be heading, a loss to UK would be unforgiveable.  The Vols might chase him out of Knoxville.  Hell, they might put him on the Big Blue Bus and tell him not to come back.  So a UT win is going to be a challenge.  But not impossible.

Upset one of UF, UGa or Bama.

Well, that’s a lot to hope for…but, if it happened.  Oh, if it happened.