Tag:Joker Phillips
Posted on: April 7, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 4/7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Once a week, our Eye on College Football Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting. Enjoy:

  • The big news in recruiting this week was the release of most services' initial "top 100" lists for the class of 2012, and Tom Lemming and our colleagues at Maxpreps were no exception. The full Tom Lemming top 100 is now available, topped by Springfield (Mo.) receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Eye on Recruiting breaks down the main storylines within the top 100 here; Bryan Fischer discusses the top 100 in a must-listen podcast here; and the recruitment of the list's top 10 prospects (Green-Beckham included) is updated here. There's no better time to get informed on where the 2012 recruiting cycle stands.
  • None of those lists are as full of names as the SEC's, though, with no league save the Big 12 having embraced early commitments the way the SEC powers have; Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Florida all have five pledges or more and only Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have yet to add their first name of the cycle.
  • This is not old news: Malcom Brown has committed to Texas. But this time it's not five-star running back Malcolm Brown (who famously joined the Longhorns this past Signing Day,) it's a highly-regarded defensive tackle out of Brenham (Texas), one who Longhorn sports information workers are no doubt very glad spells his first name without a second "L." 
  • Recruiting in the Bluegrass State is heating up. Charlie Strong has flexed his muscle over the past year at Louisville, but last week it was Joker Phillips who fought off the Cardinals as well as Cincinnati and others) for in-state quarterback Patrick Towles. 
  • It took a little longer than expected, perhaps, given the Ducks' tremendous 2010 season. But Oregon is on the board all the same after receiving a pledge from Newport (Ore.) athlete Oshay Dunsmore. Staying in the Pac-12, Stanford has continued Jim Harbaugh's nationwide recruiting push under David Shaw, netting a commitment this week from Virginia defensive back Alex Carter. 
  • Bryan Fischer was on hand to watch Atwater (Calif.) defensive tackle Aziz Shittu dominate the Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp; here's his full report on Shittu's performance and all the goings-on at the camp.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did. 
Posted on: March 30, 2011 6:56 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Kentucky

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice  . So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Kentucky, which started spring practice last week.

Spring Practice Question: Can the 'Cats find a passing game?

When all was said and done, the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats were about what the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats were supposed to be: good enough to scrape to a low-level bowl game (the Birmingham-based BBVA Compass Bowl) , good enough for one major upset (against South Carolina) and a couple of scares, but not good enough to make any real noise even in a watered-down SEC East (2-6 conference record), and not nearly good enough to regain the momentum and top-25 attention from the Andre Woodson glory years. Around .500 was where the Wildcats were expected to finish, and around .500 -- 6-7 following the bowl loss to Pitt, specifically -- was where they wound up.

But that doesn't mean there wasn't something of a major surprise in how the Wildcats got to "around .500" in the first year of the Joker Phillips era. The first couple of seasons following Woodson's departure, Kentucky relied heavily on their ground game as an experienced offensive line, talented rushers like Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke, and iffy quarterbacking made that the 'Cats best option. Thanks to Cobb's dynamism and versatility, the Wildcat frequently became the offense's most effective form of attack.

With Cobb and Locke still around and the inefficient Mike Hartline still under center, not many expected that plan to change coming into 2010. But a strong fall camp from Hartline -- which he needed simply to keep the job away from sophomore Morgan Newton -- led to a stunningly good season; the senior increased his yards per-attempt by nearly two full yards and improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 6-to-7 to an impressive 23-to-9. The end result? The second-leading passing offense in the SEC at 269 yards a game and the 31st-best team quarterbacking rating in the country.

Of course, Hartline didn't manage it alone. There was Cobb, for starters, who made multiple All-American teams as an all-purpose player but spent most of his time at wideout and wound up with 1,017 receiving yards. He was followed closely by 6'5" Chris Matthews, who blossomed after a ho-hum junior season with 925 yards of his own. Even Locke chipped in with 318 yards out of the backfield.

So the good news for Kentucky is that after years of relying on one aspect or the other, their offense finally gained some semblance of balance. The bad news is that all the key players who made that balance possible are gone: Hartline, Matthews, and Locke have all graduated, and Cobb elected to turn pro a year early.

What's left is, on paper, less-than-inspiring. Newton will take over at quarterback after completing just 58 percent of his 43 passes in 2010 without a touchdown; he threw 135 times in 2009 but completed just 55 percent of those for a meager 5.2 yards per-attempt. But Kentucky won't have many other options, with Phillips citing grayshirted true freshman Max Smith as Newton's only competition at the moment. (Smith and Newton are, in fact, the 'Cats only scholarship quarterbacks.)

Spring Practice Primers
At receiver, junior La'Rod King returns after snaring 36 balls for 478 yards a year ago. But the next most prolific returning wideout is senior Matt Roark, who caught just 12 receptions without a touchdown, and no other wideout caught more than three. Tight end Jordan Aumiller and whoever emerges at running back -- likely sophomore Raymond Sanders -- will no doubt contribute as well, but it's nonetheless hard to see Newton getting that much help out of his receiving corps.

That doesn't mean there's not hope, though. Phillips is the same coach who coaxed the massive year-to-year improvement out of Hartline; who's to say he can't do the same with the athletic Newton? And if Newton won't get that big of a boost from his receivers, he ought to get plenty of one from his running game, one led by an offensive line with four retunring starters including all-conference junior guard Larry Warford. Then there's Phillips himself, who's guided the Kentucky offense for years and has consistently produced quality results.

But this is likely his biggest challenge yet. Without a functional passing game, even this line likely wouldn't be able to generate a game-winning rushing attack all on its own, and certainly not without the likes of Cobb or Locke. The Wildcat defense should improve, but if Phillips can't use this spring to rebuild some measure of last year's aerial success, Kentucky's school-record bowl streak may not make it to 2012.


Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Kentucky DT arrested on traffic charges

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Another weekend, another college football player getting in trouble with the law.

On Sunday evening, Kentucky defensive tackle Mark Crawford was arrested in Lexington for driving on a suspended license. Crawford was pulled over after he nearly hit another vehicle on Euclid Avenue, when police discovered his license had been suspended and then Crawford couldn't provide the police with proof of insurance.
The junior was arrested and charged with careless driving, failure to maintain required insurance and driving on a suspended or revoked license.
He was taken to Fayette County jail and was released after posting $350 bond.
UK football media relations director Tony Neely said head coach Joker Phillips is aware of the situation and Phillips will address disciplinary action with Crawford internally.
Normally I wouldn't think a player would get in too much trouble for this kind of run-in with the law, but Crawford may find himself in a bit more trouble given his past. Crawford already had to miss the final two games of Kentucky's season in 2010 after being suspended for violating team rules.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 1:32 pm
 

Kentucky suspends Hartline for Compass Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well, something tells me this isn't how Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline saw his collegiate career coming to an end, but he made his bed, and now he'll be lying in it instead of playing in a bowl game.  Hartline was arrested early Friday morning for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and failure to notify the department of transportation on an address change.  Now, a day later, his head coach announced that he'll be suspending Hartline -- a fifth year senior -- for Kentucky's appearance against Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

"Mike Hartline has had a good record here, conduct-wise, and I regret this," Joker Phillips told the media after practice on Saturday. "I regret that this happened, but it did. I really hate that it happened because of what he's done for us this year in leading this program to our fifth-straight bowl. He's done a great job at that, but we have clear expectations our players, how we want them to act, how we want them to behave."

Phillips also said that Hartline will be allowed to be with the team in Birmingham for the bowl game if he wants to go.

As for who will replace Hartline, who has started all 12 Kentucky games at quarterback this season, it looks like the job will go to sophomore Morgan Newton.  
Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:00 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 12:01 pm
 

Kentucky QB arrested for array of charges

Posted by Chip Patterson

You know those days where just nothing is going right?  When you try and do fix something it just makes it worse?  Kentucky starting quarterback Mike Hartline might have had one of those nights last night.  Multiple reports out of Lexington confirm that Hartline was arrested early Friday morning for disorderly conduct, among other charges.

Hartline, 22, is charged with second-degree disorderly conduct, alcohol intoxication in a public place and failure to notify the department of transportation of an address change, according to police reports.  

Another UK student, Ashley Kathleen Carnes, 20, was arrested early Friday at the same location, according to police records. Police charged Carnes with alcohol intoxication in a public place, second-degree disorderly conduct and being 18 to 20 years old and using or attempting to use false identification to obtain alcohol. Carnes is a cheerleader for the university, according to the UK athletics Web site.

The written charge against Hartline says that several people rode home from The Tin Roof bar, 303 South Limestone, when an argument started inside the cab. The argument continued when the group arrived at 1103 Crescent Avenue. Hartline was "screaming and cursing at the witness," the report says. Hartline started walking on Crescent Avenue toward University Avenue about 3 a.m. after he saw a police cruiser, according to the police report. The report says Hartline was "unsteady on his feet," his speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol.

The report goes on to detail that Carnes' boyfriend was stopped by the police officer also walking down Crescent Avenue.  So basically, it seems like a fight broke out in the cab, and then Hartline tried to walk away.  It just doesn't work out very well for you when you walk right past a police cruiser Weekend At Bernie's style.  Then, on top of that, Hartline got stuck with an extra D.O.T. charge.  Now that makes for one crappy night for the starting quarterback of a bowl eligible team.  First-year coach Joker Phillips has not commented on the situation yet, but there is reason to be concerned for Hartline's status in the Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh.
Posted on: October 19, 2010 3:44 pm
 

Randall Cobb is sorry, everybody

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Following an upset win over South Carolina on Saturday, Kentucky wideout Randall Cobb went to his Twitter account and went off on Kentucky fans for what he deemed a lack of support.   Cobb said that he enjoyed hearing the crowd tell the Wildcats they sucked and that they couldn't even fill the stands with a top-ten team in town, before letting them know that basketball season was just around the corner.

Except he said it with worse grammar.

Well, now that he's had a few days to think about it -- also known as getting yelled at by his coach and talked to by the school's pr department -- Randall has seen the error of his ways and issued an apology on Tuesday afternoon.

“First off," Cobb told reporters . "I just want to start off by saying I made a mistake. I did. I messed up. I take blame for everything I said. I know I was wrong. I was wrong for the fact that I took a small percentage of our fan base and lumped them all as one and made it all whole. That’s not how our fans are. 99 percent of our fans are great fans. And they know that. They’ve been there supporting us throughout the years. I took a small chunk and made it something big, and I can’t do that. I made a mistake, I’m a man, I admit my mistake and I just want to let everybody know that I’m sorry and I hope they can forgive me.”

While saying he's sorry is a great first step, I think if Cobb really wants to win the fans back he should take them out to Red Lobster for some cheesy biscuits.

As for whether or not Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips plans on instituting a no-Twitter policy, the coach said he has no plans to do so.  According to Phillips, it's fine if the players tweet, but that they have to "be smart about it."
Hat tip: CFT
Posted on: October 13, 2010 4:31 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 4:34 pm
 

Derrick Locke doubtful against South Carolina

Posted by Chip Patterson

Kentucky came painfully close to stunning the No. 8 Auburn Tigers at home last Saturday, only to have their hearts ripped out by a last minute field goal.  The Wildcats fought till the end, but at the end of the night found themselves still winless in conference play.  Unfortunately for first-year head coach Joker Phillips, that elusive first conference win will be even more difficult to obtain with leading rusher Derrick Locke doubtful for Saturday's matchup with No. 10 South Carolina.  

The senior running back has been the cornerstone of the Wildcats offense, rushing for 574 yards and scoring seven times through the first six games of the season.  The SEC's third-leading rusher suffered a shoulder stinger in the 37-34 loss to Auburn last week, limiting the use of his left arm.  Locke has not been ruled out against the Gamecocks, but Phillips does not sound optimistic.

“If he can’t protect himself, we’re not going to put him out on the field,” Phillips said Wednesday morning.  “He’ll be in the hotel on Friday night...we’ll take him to the hotel and he’ll be part of the 70 that travels. We’ll see how he feels on Saturday morning because (feeling) could come back at any moment, any day, anytime. It could be this afternoon, a week and a half, two weeks, who knows. But we’ve got to put him on the bus.”

If Locke is out, the rushing duties will likely fall in the hands of sophomore Donald Russell and junior wide receiver Randall Cobb.  Cobb was a threat all over the field against the Tigers, rushing for two touchdowns, catching a touchdown pass, and throwing for another.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com