John Clay brings to our attention the fact that Kentucky head football coach Joker Phillips held a teleconference today to talk with the media about the 2011 season and beyond. You can find the full audio here, but below are the main points made:
- In answer to a question about how recruiting is going in response to Kentucky's "strong finish," Phillips said they have been getting a "great response."
- Dale Trimble is no longer with the team, but other than that, no roster changes.
- Regarding staff changes, Phillips said none are planned, but may have to try to hang on to a few. No coaches are being moved to other positions. The job vacated by Steve Brown apparently will be filled, but there is no timetable for that.
- Phillips said UK is in the market for some JUCO players, needs to get "older" at linebacker and safety as well as wide receiver and offensive tackle.
- Phillips was asked about Mitch Barnhart's statement of support, and if he feels any pressure. Phillips said that he, and all coaches, put pressure on themselves, and that doesn't change because he didn't have the type of season they expected to have. Neither he nor Barnhart were happy with how the season went, but both want to "move forward."
- When asked about Morgan Newton's future, Phillips said Newton will not be ready for spring practice, will be May or June before he is able to compete for "a position." He has to earn his position, according to Phillips, just like everyone else.
- Ridge Wilson will be in a non-contact status for the spring, but will stay out of the winter program. Everyone else other than the aforementioned Newton should be ready for the spring.
Maxwell Smith will be 100% healthy by the spring. He will have an opportunity to earn a spot in practice like everyone else. It's always a competition, Phillips said. Bookie Cobbins and Jacob Russell will also be in the mix. Note: He did not mention Patrick Towles, but the reason for that is that Towles has not signed an LOI yet.
- Not making a bowl enabled Phillips to get more face time recruiting as the head coach. He was not able to do that when UK went to bowls the last few years. Phillips was also able to get into more of our commitment's houses.
- Phillips plans to move some guys over to corner back -- Maybe Marcus Caffey, Jerry Williams (walkon), Daylen Hall, and Martavius Neloms, and Eric Dixon.
- A reporter asked what was Phillips reasons for optimism next year given this year? Phillips said the youth on offense and the special teams vs. the impact the seniors guys made last year was the main reason. He said that when guys like Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy were freshmen, they didn't make the kind of impact some of this year's freshmen did. He thinks the coaching staff are doing a good job developing players and all the offensive skill players are back intact except for Matt Roark. He said the 'Cats are young on the offensive line, but they are excited about how the players are developing.
- Guy played the last 2 games with a torn labrum (shoulder). Editor's note: Amazing!
- Josh Clemons will be ready for spring.
That's it. Keep your fingers crossed, Wildcats fans. I don't want to be too optimistic, but there are reasons to be slightly so. One of them is unmentioned, but we all know his name.