UK grad here. UK football has always been mediocre/terrible. UK football will always be mediocre/terrible. Get out of the SEC UK football, you have zero business in that conference.
Kentucky’s Joker Phillips has spent the week reminding folks in the Bluegrass State that his team features 72 freshmen and sophomores. Here at MrSEC, we got our first email from a UK fan about this on Sunday… after Phillips followed up his team’s 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky with the statement.
Well, since mentioning Phillips’ remark again yesterday, we’ve received several more emails as well as one “Don’t give me that crap” response in our comment box. Every single one of these responses — the emails and the comment — have shared one similarity. They all claim that Alabama has just as many young players as Kentucky. (Why, it’s as if someone’s posted that on a messageboard and the anti-Phillips crowd are sharing it. But we all know that would never happen.)
Interested, I grabbed a pen and paper, took a look at each squad’s two-deep roster for the upcoming weekend and found the following:
Alabama has 22 freshmen and sophomores in its two-deep. Kentucky has 24. Pretty similar.
Alabama has three sophomores starting on offense with no freshman starters. Kentucky has four sophomores starting on offense as well as three freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
On defense, both teams have three sophomore starters.
So in terms of starters, UK is starting 10 first- or second-year players while UA starts just six. At least according to my quickie, cocktail napkin math. I could be off by a player as I didn’t have time to take my shoes off and use my toes to help with my cipherin’.
Now, do I personally believe Phillips to be the man to fix what’s been ailing UK football for decades? No, I do not. But I do believe he deserves another year to see how his young players develop next season. Another year to prove me and many others wrong. I don’t believe he’ll get that year as we now live in a world where coaches are fired after two or three seasons, but I think he should get another year. Mainly because my gut could be wrong about him (the guy did end the Cats’ long losing streaks to Steve Spurrier and Tennessee). I’ve also written on this site for years that young teams tend to get their rumps kicked.
And Phillips — at least by my count — has more youngsters playing major roles on his team than Saban does on his. (As if an Alabama-to-Kentucky comparison is fair to in the first place. Might as well compare the Wildcats to the Pittsburgh Steelers.)