John, although Petrino could be considered a coup for UK to pull off as a hire, you (and the rest of the media) need to do a little homework before throwing his name out there. There is a better chance that Hal Mumme is rehired as UK's coach than Bobby Petrino. Mich Barnhart and Petrino hate each other, and he continuously burned bridges throughout the state among high school coaches while at UL. While I think he would win for UK, it's sad to say there is no chance he will ever be here.
According to a Kentucky fan website — KentuckySportsRadio.com — “the University of Kentucky football field and locker room have been the site of a number of heated conversations between Coach Joker Phillips and Defensive Coordinator Rick Minter over the past 10 days.” On Monday, the site wrote the following:
“According to multiple source, Phillips and Minter had a verbal confrontation on the sideline during the (Louisville) game about the defensive philosophy and alignments utilized during the game. According to the sources, Phillips became agitated in the second half and screamed audibly to Minter, ‘we have to do something different. You have to change it up…
The sources tell KSR that the disagreement spilled into practice and pre-game meetings in the week leading up to the Kent State game. According to one source, ‘Joker was very upset that no changes were made after he made it clear that he wanted to see a different philosophy. He confronted him (Minter) about it and there was a disagreement.’”
Phillips hired Minter before last season. UK’s current head coach had once worked on the staff at Cincinnati when Minter was the head coach of the Bearcats.
Through two games this year, the Wildcats have allowed 401 yards rushing and 474 yards passing to Louisville and Kent State combined. Performance like that and the pressure of sitting on a hot seat could certainly lead to bouts of in-fighting on a coaching staff. But yesterday, when asked about the KentuckySportsRadio.com report, Minter flat denied the story:
“I’m not going to talk about that. It didn’t happen. Now what’s next?”
What’s next is there had better be some improvement on the defensive side of the ball or Minter, Phillips and the rest of the UK coaching staff could be looking for work at year’s end.
Mitch Barnhart stood by Rich Brooks during some tough times and it eventually paid off for both men. Kentucky’s AD also has plenty of clout thanks to his hire of John Calipari, Prince of the Bluegrass State. But if the Commonwealth Stadium stands are empty and the Wildcat team doesn’t improve as the season goes along, Barnhart might decide it’s time to make another high-risk/high-reward type of hire as he did with Calipari.
Bobby Petrino, anyone?
Bickering or not — and that kind of thing happens to some degree anytime a team loses — Minter’s defense needs to get better quick. After Western Kentucky on Saturday, the Cats face Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Vanderbilt before their open date.