Joker Phillips Challenges Fans To "Get Behind This Team"

07/13/2012 11:49 PM

In what was one of his most candid media engagements to date, UK football head coach Joker Phillips met with the Louisville Quarterback Club Friday at Wildwood Country Club and dished out opinions on a wide range of topics. The engagement was light-hearted, but passionate, and reached its climax when Phillips concluded by challenging Kentucky fans to support the players this season – even if they don’t support Phillips as the head coach.

“Get behind this football team. You don’t have to get behind me,” Joker told the audience, “But I’m selling you to recruits, not me. You don’t have to get behind me because when this thing is all over for me, I’m going to become one of you (fans).”

That last statement was met with an eruption of applause from the audience, which included several former UK footall players, including recent Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Dan Neal.

Joker’s plea to the fans capped off a speech in which he said Max Smith and Morgan Newton will split the first-team snaps and that the defensive line will be the strength of the team. He also said that he expects wide receivers to carry the team and provide leadership, making the reference to larger-than-life NFL wideouts that have swag (his words, not mine).

Here are a few of the other notable quotes from the engagement:

On the Twitter trash talk by UofL players leading up to the Governor’s Cup game…

“It’s off limits to our guys…it won’t be tolerated at our place.”

On supporting a stipend for student-athletes that makes sense…

“I’m not willing to supply more tattoos. I’m not willing to supply more dogs, more cell phones.”

On making changes to the coaching staff…

“People get frustrated with changes…about every two years I’d like a guy to leave…who doesn’t want other ideas?”

On recruiting players with talent and potential, regardless of their rating…

“Wesley Woodyard had two offers. Kentucky and Burger King.”

On the expectations for defensive lineman Donte Rumph…

“We signed him three times. He better be good. Everyone is calling him ‘Uncle Rumph’ because the guy is my age.”

On whether Bookie Cobbins, who had academic issues, will be ready to contribute…

“Does he get it now? I hope so. If not, you’ll see him elsewhere.”

Make sure you tune in to KSTV Monday for a full recap of Joker’s speech to the Louisville Quarterback Club and a one-on-one with KSTV’s Bradley McKee.


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