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Normally, I would agree with MrSEC in that Joker Phillips should be given the rest of this season and next to turn this program around. "Normally" refers to a head coach that had to start from scratch with a program that was losing more games than it was winning and obviously having difficulty competing with its schedule. These do not apply to Joker. He was on Brooks' staff for at least 5 years before he was promoted to head coach. His jobs were recruiting coordinator, offensive coordinator, and associate head coach (or, if you prefer, "head-coach-in waiting"). The players that Joker inherited were all signed by him. A competent staff was already in place (which he almost completely replaced in the first 2 years). The program had been to 4 consecutive bowl games (admittedly, not very glamorous bowls, but bowls nonetheless) - unprecedented in UK football history. Joker's primary mission was to maintain continuity and raise the program to the next level - and actually compete in the brutal SEC East. In this, he has failed miserably.
Yes, Rich Brooks deserves an asterisk for his first 3 years because he took over a program (when very few qualified candidates wanted it) that had been crushed by one of the most severe set of sanctions ever levied by the NCAA against any Div. I-A (FBS) football program. Not so for Joker. The short-handed recruiting classes have all passed through the system.
Joker says he has a young team - the data tend to confirm it. I've heard this excuse for years, UK seems to always have a young team. Why? Could it be that the players already on the roster cannot compete with the schedule, and the staff hopes that the new guys can do better? Admittedly, recruiting rankings are highly subjective and debatable - but there exists a positive correlation between recruiting rankings and performance on the field. When you are nearly always in the bottom 25% of the recruiting rankings (like UK), your record will reflect that.
Lastly, I wish to refute the racism accusation. Little known fact: UK was the first SEC school to integrate its football program. UK was the second SEC school to hire an African-American head coach (after Sylvester Croom at Miss. St.). These are facts, feel free to check them.
2 years, 4 months ago on A Youthful Comparison: Tide Vs Cats (And Why This Writer Thinks Phillips Deserves Another Year)