When discussing the usual SEC yawners (Gene Chizik and Dan Mullen) earlier today, I left someone of the list. Joker Phillips. In itself, that should tell you just how entertaining Kentucky’s coach usually is at these events.
Well, he’s up next to talk about his Wildcats. Here’s hoping for a Mullenesque improvement over last year’s session. (Not that media Q&As have a thing to do with winning football games, of course, but if we’ve got to listen to them… they might as well be interesting.)
* Phillips says he’s excited for 2012 after finishing the 2011 season with two wins and two losses. A lot of young guys made plays for UK in those last four games.
* He said UK’s win over Tennessee allowed his team to achieve one goal on the season — win its last game.
* Oops. I already nodded off. Phillips seems like a nice guy and who knows what he’s like one-on-one in a living room, but he’s just brutal. He wanted to talk about his two new assistants and for a second it seemed he forgot their names.
* Phillips says he’s got some good young talent on his team.
* Listening to Phillips, I wonder if he’s brought in as a motivational speaker in Hell. Again, he might be great in every other aspect of the job, but yikes this is brutal.
* The coach says “the best league just got better” with Missouri and Texas A&M coming into the SEC. Asked about further expansion, Phillips said that’s up to the SEC’s “unbelievable commissioner.”
* Phillips said the way UK beat Tennessee last year was more important than beating Tennessee. That low-scoring win showed his team that they don’t have to win by putting up 500 yards and 35 points.
* He said the success of Kentucky basketball has helped sell his football programs. “We want to hitch our wagon to our basketball program?”
* Phillips said that John Calipari has been helpful to him. He said Calipari actually called him on speaker phone recently to talk to the coach and a two-sport athlete Phillips had on campus.
* Asked about his hot seat status, Phillips said, “Well, I’m not sitting down right now, so ain’t nothing hot.” Drew a few laughs. Good line. “I don’t have time to listen to that stuff.”
* Phillips says to take care of his program at Kentucky, he’d be against a nine-game schedule. (Why are people asking this of coaches? Of course they’re against it. The SEC’s coaches were against a seven-game schedule at one time. Then against an eight-game schedule. And against an SEC Championship Game. Nick Saban may be the one guy who’ll say he’s open to playing nine.)
Our overall grad for Phillips’ “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 2 on a scale of 1-5. He just doesn’t seem comfortable in these types of settings. He comes across as a nice guy who you really want to do well, but overall he’s right down there with Chizik in terms of stiffness.